Montana and North Carolina are very different places. The people, geography, animals and weather are at times, worlds apart, and often I'm glad for it. It's what makes my new home such an adventure laden place. There is a remoteness and wild that characterizes the West, which one can't describe. You have to live it. I've been forced to adjust how I think I exist in a place. I suppose this happens to some degree any time we change location. I wasn't aware of how place affected me when I moved from Nashville to Western NC in 1996. But as I grew I became more attentive to my surroundings and place in the larger ecology, so that the move from NC to MT molds me in a magnified way.
I drove out of town on New Year's Eve to attempt viewing the Northern Lights, which I did see, though only faintly. The wind was strong out of town and the snow drifts deep. Even with my 4x4 truck, down mittens and waterproof winter coat, I was keenly aware of my fragility and impermanence. Here, in the winter, a drive out of town can cost you your life should one get stuck or break down. North Carolina never presented me with such extreme risk and remoteness, not in this way. This dire reminder imposed by nature, was something I appreciated. Being out on the cold plains shakes you from complacency and will show you your deep commitments.
Looking out my back door also rouses me from the trap of modern, mundane existence. Visible from my house, I see wild creatures (mostly deer) roaming freely, jumping barb-wire fences with ease. In the skies above, hundreds of geese migrate daily this time of year. I'm more aware of the animal rhythms here, maybe because I'm less distracted and content with the familiar.
Lately my paintings are an embrace of my new locale, a way for me to invest in this new chapter of life, and reshape what is for me ordinary.
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J0hn Hunter Speier
Recent work, and explorations of techniques, aesthetics and poetics.