Not dark alleys, mind you, but the dark places we go to lick wounds, to really explore emotion, to examine events of the past until we experience little deaths and rebirths through that examination. I think of the dark as the positive experience of the womb. It's a nurturing environment. And that's often what I am seeking to depict in my art. What is being nurtured in the dark, moist place we came from? At one time, at the beginning of our being, it was the physical self being nurtured there, but now, at this time of my life, it is the spiritual self that is gestating. And that is where my painting "Still Point: Descending" came from.
Some refer to the dark metaphorically as a place of fear and depression, but for me, it is a comforting place to face my fears. The light can be blinding, can obscure details, as when a person is standing, facing you, but is back-lit so that you cannot discern their facial features, read their demeanor. It hurts, on some level, to look at that person for any amount of time. So don't we really need a balance of the light and of the dark to see what is real and true?
In my paintings, I often surround the forms I am working on with dark. Since I work with textures, I have to make the decision of whether the dark is on top of the texture and the light at the back, or the other way around. And usually, there is a point in the painting where I reverse the main motif because I think of light as swirling around, in and out, and through the environment. But recently, I have been exploring that place where the dark and the light meet. I think of it as a "push/pull" of light and dark. It's been challenging and fun. But the bottom line is that I love the dark, and I'm not giving it up. I'm living to balance it with the light.