Once We Were Whole

Once We Where Whole

Exhibition of new work at Langham Gallery, Kaslo, BC


The exhibition Once We Were Whole is an example of a new direction in my practice – cut out and collage work. This new work departs from my use of hand cut paper stencils in Pan-dulum: a Call to Unreason.

This body of work has many influences and inspirationsit is on one hand, inspired by memories of the earliest of human drawings from a visits to Altamira Cave in Spain and the Pictographs and Petroglyphs of Southern Utah. It is influenced by my experience of divisiness and a desire for the shedding of identity towards a common ancestry and humanity. It is a call to be naked, to feel part of nature. To a primal state of being whole. In creating this series of work which continues in my studio at this time, I am musing on the writing of Luce Iriagary, French feminist philosopher as she decodes the Platonic Allegory of the Cave myth into a more inclusive paradigm. And of the writing of poet, Clayton Eshelman’s wondering and wandering in the imagination of paleolithic culture in his book, Juniper Fuse.

Early in the work, I invited Nelson-based poet, Eimear Laffan to visit my studio and respond in words to the work. Her incredible poem, You Can Only Be Touched If You Have Not Perished was included in the exhibition and monograph.  She graciously agreed to read her poem at the opening and it will be included in an up coming video on the project by the Langham and funded by the BCAC. The poem is included here below the images. Thank you Eimear! We plan to continue with some sort of word-image correspondence in the future.


You can only be touched if you have not perished
(after Once We Were Whole by Deborah Thompson)

How well the cave initiates.
Even allegory has a genealogy.

Answer though you were not called.
Each breach dictates a subterfuge.

Humble then your hands into the dirt.
There is more than one way to pray.

Punctuate clay with raw desire.
Its hard press will find you in time.

Unearth lunacy from the cavern floor.
What can be held can be altered.

String the nadis with fairylight.
The body has a history of absorption.

Borrow paper from a birch bark.
Remember how to start a fire.

Animal the wolf moon with a howl.
Every after carries a resound.

Eimear Laffan