What we inherit- Ann Willey


What we Inherit
Acrylic on wood panel
18" x 24"

In the Artist's words:
"As I worked with the imagery that the theme “Our Inheritance” conjured up for me, I
found myself exploring an expansive interpretation of all we inherit as dwellers of this
fine earth.
I imagined a kind of landscape where a figure is receiving and transmitting the energies that she has been blessed with. The upper part of the painting reflects for me the great mystery of what we are made of, how our bodies are woven with star dust, parts of the shimmering constellations, the elemental substances transmuted into earth. The water represents this energy that infuses us, and everything around us. And this, the “water of life”, is given freely, for a while to be contained and carried, and
eventually to be poured out and returned to the cosmic river. Not one drop is lost.

In the painting I have also imagined a natural area, a garden that represents my own
ancestral heritage. This is where all these aspects of our makeup gather, in this middle ground. Here we share our heritage and all the histories written in all of our bodies. The threads of inheritance from our close relatives: the eye color, hair, foggy brain, and artistic inclinations. But besides close family, ancient ancestors look on. They carry a lineage that stretches back generations and represent a kind of collective consciousness to which we all belong. And perhaps from them we can also access some ancient wisdom, beyond our time and culture, that will inform us and guide us.

In the garden I have also touched upon the inheritance of my parents. I have portrayed just a fraction of what they have left me. Gifts I can’t hold on to, only carry in my heart.
Here is a glimpse of my mother’s very wild and eccentric garden, that became a
monarch butterfly way station in her last years.
And my father’s love of African animals, recalling family pilgrimages to see the rhinos in Chicago every summer when I was a child.
And the gift of the big lake we grew up by, captured in the central figure’s tilted bowl.
All these memories go into the moving waters, to inform and gift the future. The painting is for me a meditation on our nature. The containers the figures carry
are a metaphor for our bodies, and the water for our spirit. The spirit, like water, flows
on and through, comes from the source and is returned to the source. Are we the
container or are we that which it contains, if only for a while? I think we are both."