RUBICON: point of no return

Overture for Today • 22″ x 22″ • cloth, dye • ©2012 Jennifer Libby Fay
I have tried, a few times, to describe the process I usually go through when I choose a theme for a body of work—I don’t really know where the seed thought for a concept comes from. It feels like a nudge, from the universe, from God, from my unconscious, or even the collective unconscious? I don’t know. What I do know is that if I listen for the clues they will guide me. What I haven’t talked too much about is all the subsequent “coincidences” (do we believe in coincidences?) that happen over the course of creating the work. Books, about the subject are brought to my attention, I’ll come to a phase where I don’t know how to solve a problem and a person, sometimes a stranger, often a friend, will say, oh, I know how to do that, you just…Sometimes I’ll be listening to a random radio station or watching TV when the person being interviewed starts talking about something that gives me the answer. It’s weird, I know.

For my exhibition at the Arts Center of the Ozarks this month, I was asked to chose the name of the exhibition more than a year ago. I really struggled with this, and wondered if, when it was time to make the work, I would still feel connected to the theme. I chose Rubicon for a very odd reason. On the day I was to submit my exhibition name I found out that a television show called Rubicon that I rather liked was being cancelled. I didn’t even know what the word meant but what I was thinking about that day was how how much I would miss the uniqueness, excellence and character of the show. It was a true work of art.

Bohemian Grove • 21″ x 13″ • cloth, dye • ©2012 Jennifer Libby Fay

So I took a leap of faith and called my show Rubicon. It wasn’t until a few months later when I started to research the word Rubicon that I realized how serendipitous that leap really was.

Back in Julius Caesars’ day, the Rubicon was a shallow river that divided the separately governed entities of Northern and Southern Italy. Cesar, with his army crossed the Rubicon in 49 BC and this rebellious act started a Civil War. I like to imagine him pacing the bank of the river knowing that with the simple act of crossing, many lives, including his own, would be changed forever. I doubt he could have fathomed that thousands of years later the idiom crossing the Rubicon would still mean passing the point of no return.

there is a way • 16.5″ x 16.5″ • cloth, dye • ©2012 Jennifer Libby Fay

We all have our own personal Rubicon, a challenge, a rough patch, maybe a difficult relationship we need to leave behind. Sometimes it is a part of ourselves we must release, letting go of whatever is no longer useful or holds us back. This body of work is about the rewards and beauty of the other side. Each piece is a celebration of the journey past the point of no return, where we emerge as a new person, one that is more compassionate for having made the crossing.

Rubicon is showing at the Arts Center of the Ozarks until June 1. If you can’t make it to the show please have a look at the images on my website here: RUBICON.

Rubicon: point of no return
May 2 – June 1
Arts Center of the Ozarks
214 South Main Street at the corner of Grove Avenue
Springdale AR 72765
Gallery hours: Monday Friday 9am – 5pm
Saturday 9 am – 3pm