Artist Equine Statement
It wasnt until the ripe age of 46, that a love came into my life that was so captivating that every experience with this being became pure joy. Little did I know that this passionate affair would utterly change the direction of my life. Unbridled love arrived with my first horse, Baskos Khostar, a beautiful, bay, Arabian mare. Grateful for the generous amount of intimate relationships I have always had in my life, both human and animal, it was this horse that touched and opened that eternal wellspring of the souls gold we call unconditional love. Then, one shocking morning, I received a call that Khostar was lying dead in the field. The news carried a sharp visceral pain to the center of my chest as if my heart had literally broken. It took time and much grieving, before I discovered that the deep connection I experienced with Khostar did not die, but instead, opened the space for a whole different kind of relationship.
My horse became a conduit for the mystical. Khostar, the individual, has become all Horse, and as Horse, is my Muse. Commonly defined as a love object that flames the fiery passions of the heart, the muse ignites inspiration and creativity. As Muse, she calls me into the studio where I stand close to her beautiful expressive head that I now see merged with the models head, as I work with charcoal, pigment and brush. I touch her skin the way I did hundreds of times. Her silent eye eases my thinking mind and all the anxiety associated with it, as she carries me into a light hearted, energized, existential state of being.
Myths of horses and the Divine human/horse personifications such as The White Mare, Epona, Demeter, and Pegasus are as old as storytelling itself. Goddesses throughout ancient mythology were often called The Horse Goddess, or The White Mare, or The Night Mare. They were not only identified with the horse, but as the horse in its Divinity. Epona, The White Mare, is one of the aspects of the Mother God, the great earth goddess of the ancient Celts. She was long worshipped throughout all of Europe. In my visits to Italy am always delighted to discover the abundance of Eponas images and altars.
Epona was sought as THE GOOD MOTHER for birthing and nurturing new forms into existence, for wise counsel, courageous leadership, and protection. My current series entitled, The Good Mother, is inspired by her, and by my childhood memories of my own Mother.
Divinity in the form of the horse was seen as a heavenly messenger bringing knowledge and inspiration. The word Night Mare came from the destroyer aspect of Demeter; the black horse goddess of the night that would awaken the demons much like the dreams that bring forth our darkest fears. The white horse and the black horse in my work are evocative archetypal symbols carrying messages of wisdom and instruction as important for the development of our culture today as it was thousands of years ago.
Is there anyone that does not love, fear, or dream of horses? I grew up mesmerized by stories of horses such as Black Beauty, Flicka, the great winged Pegasus, and the exotic Black Stallion. Who has not heard of the legendary race horses Sea Biscuit, Man of War, Secretariat, and the national thrill over American Pharoahs win of the Triple Crown? I remember the day a shockwave hit the public psyche over the tragic loss of the Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, the wonder horse destined to greatness, but shattered by the inappropriate and irresponsible practices of the racing industry running young horses before their bones are mature enough to support the demand being placed upon them. Something deep within the human psyche was stirred by this horse and so many others...something that puts one in touch with oneself
our choices, and our lives in a way that few other animals are able to do.
Presently, horses are being widely used in equine assisted therapy because of the mystifying healing that takes place in relationship between the human and the horse. And at the same time, due to a little known shift in political policies, the very existence of the herds of wild mustangs in the open western ranges in the United States are being threatened. WHY??? The wild mustang is a symbol of the Great American Spirit and the historic wild west. When will we as a culture, as a nation, begin to honor the wild...the wild in our lands and the wild in our own souls? When will our drive to conquer and domesticate the world become balanced with values that support our natural rhythms, and innate god given senses? Is FORCE and DOMINATION the way to resolve our need for advancing civilization, and our need to birth and nurture healthy, happy lives? How do we know true peace, true happiness?
In my work, the spotted horse, the epitome of the wild American horse of the west, carries my desire for the end of dualistic thinking and problem solving. It calls for the advent of cooperative collaboration of both sides moving toward balance. It sends the message of AND rather than Either / Or: black and white, dark and light, wild and domestic, classical thinking and creative thinking, female and male, yin and yang, the principles of lightness and darkness in balance.
The horse in all its beauty and grace reminds us to remember and reconnect with values long forgotten. When the deification of reason devalued and destroyed the wisdom of the body, the genius of intuition, and the power of somatic knowing were lost. Our intimate daily connection with our own human nature and nature as a whole was lost, and with it a conscious, responsible, inter-dependent relationship with the earth was forgotten. Over the centuries, the horse, was central to life and mobility and kept us connected to nature. Now, the horse, no longer central to our life style or economy, asks us to remember and reclaim what we have lost.
I want the viewer to be able to hear the silent language of the horse, to touch their soulful sensibility, to receive their wisdom, to even learn to speak horse. The look of the eye, the twitch of an ear, the tightening or relaxing muscle, the arching or lowering of the neck, the flaring nostrils, the tense powerful chest, or the velvet soft muzzle...all communicate. I want the viewer to be able to climb inside of the horse, feel what she feels, see from behind his eyes, think with her brain, perhaps receive a spontaneous perspective that warns or inspires, feel the information of all of your senses, relax in the enjoyment of doing nothing, delight in the companionship of the herd. I believe that as the viewer connects to an sensory experience of the horse, they connect with a timeless state where a window opens to a new perspective that may touch our souls, better our lives, and has the potential to balance a very imbalanced world. In this way, the ancient myths of the horse as heavenly messenger, carrying us on its back into a new land, comes to life in an unfolding reality where we are actually in harmony with our authentic selves. My ongoing relationship with horses has proven to be a coming home to what is most precious and enlivening within myself...and the journey has just begun!
Lynda Evans was born in Knoxville, Tennessee and received an undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee with a triple major in fine art, art education, and human services, also earning a Master of Theology from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts. The figure became prominent in her work in the mid-1990s, at which time she spent a decade in independent study and mentoring with internationally renowned painters Hugh ODonnell and Robert Sherer, while also working with Jean Houston, mythologist, acclaimed author, and global speaker for unity in the midst of diversity.
Evans figurative paintings, drawings, and photography stand as a testimony to her lifetime exploration delving into the creative dynamic that energizes human potential, development, and transformation. Today, she continues to explore the intangible mysteries of the intuitive, psycho-sensual, and mystical realms believing that they offer humanity a very different perspective and intelligence from that which is gained through linear, rational, scientific thought. Her use of the figure (both human and animal), as an evocative subject, and as a conduit for psychological and spiritual language, transports the beautifully crafted figure into the realm of symbol. The symbol summons the viewer to enter the interior world through the gateway of the archetypal form into the realm of the feeling, spirit, memory or soul essence being expressed there. Thereby, the image acts as a contemporary talisman of sorts, opening a pathway for information to come to consciousness.
Evans, currently residing in Asheville, North Carolina, is exhibited and collected locally and nationally for her chiaroscuro paintings and drawings of mysterious, iconographic horses, and figures, radiant against their dark environment. Her work is grounded in mythological stories of various world cultures.