Pools of Reflection


Healing Powers of Water and Memory

“Dreaming by the the river, I dedicated my imagination to water, to clear, green water, the water that makes the meadows green….”
— Gaston Bachelard, 20th c. French philosopher

Lois Bender’s Paintings and Prints offers fresh mixes of abstraction, design, digital and brush. Her themes of nature continue to reflect the beauty of the Earth. Water reflections have always inspired Bender. The surfaces reflect beautiful gestural marks, exciting patterns, rich pools of color, complex layers of fantastical graphics and cascading colors in abstractions and distortions that mirror the tumultuous plant life above and below. To this chaos, add surface ripples, waves, textures and translucencies fracturing into fluid-y liquid fragments which enlarge and magically transform the surface in an ebb and flow of pulsating energies. There’s a beautiful fusion, a visual soup of sweeping lines, changing scales, jostling shapes, glistening light and textured intricacies which collide playfully in an “aquatic theater” of vivid imagery and media.

The Poetic Nature of Water as a metaphor for Memory is a theme Bender sees in the analogous flows of water in nature and in human thought in our psyche. Memory fuels the creative process of Sight in mind + eye which produces Impressions flowing into Reflections flowing into Memories flowing into Reflections and then into Expression. Bender’s water tableaux personify and express that back and forth flux.

These “pools of reflection” of flowing waters and visual abstractions perfectly express the interplay of thought, imagination and memory in these word images: floods of memory, streams of consciousness, deluges, torrents of flowing, swirling memories in whirlpools and waves of thought, submerged in depths of thought and brainstorms. Memory — a “history or streaming thoughts” in its complex infinite fluidities — is essential to the development of human culture and civilization. It is the fountain and wellspring of ideation, cognition, imagination and creativity, as a flow of ideas from past, present to the future. Memory dives into the depths of one’s thoughts, facilitating recall, reason and forecasting dreams of the future. Water’s surface or just a thought you have in the present triggers a memory, piercing the reflective surface, plunging down into the depths of memory and back in time.

Bender’s art celebrates the healing powers of water and memory as they counter forgetfulness, loss and oblivion by focusing on the restorative meaning of the beauty of Water. According to classical Greek mythology, Goddess Mnemosyne, the personification of memory and mother of the famed nine Muses who originate culture, presides in the “Underworld of Hades” (an oceanic symbol of our Jungian collective unconscious) over the River Mnemosyne of Memory’s pools of water where the dead souls drank to attain afterlife, heal their souls, and avoid an eternal punishment of forgetfulness. Memory heals and provides a rebirth in the healing waters to renew life. Bender’s vibrant artwork vividly reveals her vision of nature and humanity reflected in each other in complementary spirituality and wholeness in our appreciation of the grand cosmic beauty of life.

Bender’s art practice has explored nature themes in gardens and flowers at residencies in France and in The Hamptons, NY. She teaches art and watercolor techniques in the Metro NY area. She is an Art Professor at Essex County College in Newark, NJ. www.LoisBender.com