“An artist once said that paint picks up what life does to us. My practice has always been informed by my experience in the world. The act of painting is a bodily response and a gestural event where energy passes from the heart to the brush, absent of self-conscious thought. This leads to a place of authenticity, possibilities and clarity. These paintings were an attempt to escape the sabotage of the conscious mind and allow the paint to maintain its physicality and rawness, mirroring the intensity of the subject.” — Wendy Cretella Hodge, introducing the paintings featured in her “Ukraine: Heart and Brush” series.
Since war broke out in Ukraine in February, I’ve had trouble focusing on the stories and images coming out of there each day because of the horrific, irreversible damage being inflicted on the country physically, emotionally and psychologically. Having spent more than three decades following the work of photographer Lynsey Addario, who has been in Ukraine on assignment for the New York Times, in the middle of the bombing and the homes of those trying to survive and alongside them as they tried to escape to safety, and photojournalist Peter Turnley, in
Western Ukraine and the Poland border, documenting the flight of refugees, I had a taste of what my family must have felt, escaping from their Latvian homeland a few steps ahead of the Russians during World War II before eventually arriving here in the United States.
I’ve always been horrified by images of war and violence; for some reason, what is happening in Ukraine feels more real, more personal.