“We know that behind every image revealed there is another image more faithful to reality, and in the back of that image there is another, and yet another behind the last one and so on up to the true image of that absolute, mysterious reality that no one will ever see.”


     This quote from the narrator in a film by Michelangelo Antonioni resonates with much of what I seek in my own work as both a visual artist and a poet.  Physically being in the studio or sitting at my desk, and following my own intuitive leanings as I work, is an active way of entering that tunnel where image leads to image, over and over, “up to the true image of that absolute, mysterious reality that no one will ever see”.   

     I start with a very skeletal notion of a subject—a ladder, a cage, some aspect of a face or a stance that I’ve seen in a photograph, a dimly recalled memory or dream image—the image must have some deeper connection for me, even if I can’t articulate what that connection might be.  I then proceed to work with that image, changing it and sometimes even losing it altogether, before I arrive at a point where the piece feels, for the moment, finished.  And then I move on to the next image. 

     The monotype especially lends itself to this way of working.  A one-of-a-kind impression results from an image inked (or painted) directly onto a flat surface which is then run through an etching press.  The plate’s “ghost” image becomes the starting point for the next print.  Antonioni’s idea of the sequence of images, one behind the other, almost literally applies here. 

     It is what happens in the process of creating that is most important to me in my work as an artist and poet.  As in prayer, a leap of faith is required, the faith that through an open attentiveness to the work at hand, one is moving toward an engagement with a subject larger than one’s own self.  Mystery.  The Other.   God.  Perhaps.




Marie Pavlicek-Wehrli, painter, printmaker, and poet, is a graduate of Seton Hill University (B.A., Studio Art) and Warren Wilson College (MFA, Creative Writing).  She has been a Fellow at both the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Ragdale Foundation, as well as a resident artist at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.  Her paintings and prints have been exhibited in various local and regional venues and her poems have appeared in various journals and anthologies, including Beloit Poetry Journal, Poet Lore, Ekphrasis, and Hungry As We Are: An Anthology of Washington Area Poets.  She is a recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Grant in Poetry and lives and works in Silver Spring, MD.