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Giving Back the Apple

Giving Back the Apple


The show, Giving Back the Apple, is about positive and negative space. In painting, the subject is considered positive and the irregular area around the subject is negative; imagine someone with their hand on their hip, the triangular shape formed by the arm and the side of the body is the negative space. 

        If, in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were denied knowledge of good & evil and banished from the garden when they ate from the tree of knowledge, was the garden a positive place as we were led to believe or were they actually better off after they left? 

        In 1997 my (then) husband, Denny, and I were in Florida. After a visit to the home of his stepsister, whose backyard felt very much like the Garden of Eden, I had a dream that led to the Giving Back the Apple show. I dreamed of drawings of body parts where, instead of a line defining the edge of the positive space, there were occasionally two positive spaces defined by the same line. For example, a line describing the curve of a shoulder could do double duty by also describing the curve of a piece of fruit or, in the case of Eve’s Soul the same curve can describe the sole of Eve’s foot. I also enhanced the negative space by making it heavily textured giving it presence and making it as important to the painting as the positive (subject). 

        The painting of Eve ‘giving back the apple’ is quite large. I had it setting outside my studio door. One day, while leaving my studio, I looked at it and the words to this poem came to me almost as fast as I could write them down. They expressed my frustration at having been blamed for things that I hadn’t done.  


 I’m giving back the apple.

I don’t expect to return 

to the Garden of Eden;

it needs weeding 

and I’ve been on my knees too long.


I’m giving Back the apple.

 It was a set up anyway.

I didn’t know, I wasn’t told.

Adam was told in verse 17

but I wasn’t even created until verse 22.

Adam never tells me anything.

I'm giving back the apple

and while I’m at it 

Adam can have his rib back too.

I want no part of him

or his dust.


I’m giving back the apple.

I’m sorry that I took a bite out of it

…and chewed…and swallowed…

I should be able to give that part back too

…in time.


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