Nancy Abens Artworks | Seeking Solace
This group of work came about as a way to work through grief after my dad died. His death and the changes that brought to my mom's life was my first introduction to deep grief. I found that poetry, particularly the poems of Mary Oliver, were very comforting to me. One poem, "Bone", really felt personal. I decided to illustrate it. The collections of photographs are various iterations of that. The single images are some of the ones in those. These are all works in progress. I see them as a large wall installation right now. I also see them made into an intimate book.

Bone by Mary Oliver
1.
Understand, I am always trying to figure out
what the soul is,
and where hidden,
and what shape
and so, last week,
when I found on the beach
the ear bone
of a pilot whale that may have died
hundreds of years ago, I thought
maybe I was close
to discovering something
for the ear bone

2.
is the portion that lasts longest
in any of us, man or whale; shaped
like a squat spoon
with a pink scoop where
once, in the lively swimmer's head,
it joined its two sisters
in the house of hearing,
it was only
two inches long
and thought: the soul
might be like this
so hard, so necessary
3.
yet almost nothing.
Beside me
the gray sea
was opening and shutting its wave-doors,
unfolding over and over
its time-ridiculing roar;
I looked but I couldn't see anything
through its dark-knit glare;
yet don't we all know, the golden sand
is there at the bottom,
though our eyes have never seen it,
nor can our hands ever catch it
4.
lest we would sift it down
into fractions, and facts
certainties
and what the soul is, also
I believe I will never quite know.
Though I play at the edges of knowing,
truly I know
our part is not knowing,
but looking, and touching, and loving,
which is the way I walked on,
Softly,
through the pale-pink morning light

The Diminishing

The Diminishing

Where the Soul Resides

Where the Soul Resides

Where the Soul Resides #2

Where the Soul Resides #2

Where the Soul Resides #3

Where the Soul Resides #3

What is Left Behind

What is Left Behind