I first saw Tabby’s paintings on Facebook, as part of a gallery exhibit in Missoula, Montana. The gallery, Radius Gallery, shared a cycle of images as part of an exhibit promotion. I watched this cycle repeatedly, but I found myself hesitating at the same paintings, sometimes hitting pause when I did. The paintings were those of Tabby Ivy. At the time, I knew nothing about Tabby Ivy. It was even difficult for me to find her name. Nevertheless, I did find her name, and I wrote to her. I needed to tell this Tabby Ivy person, whomever she was, that I valued her work. Her places looked like places where I had stopped. The distance and space in many of her paintings stayed with me.
I sent Tabby an email, thanking her for her work. Subsequently, Tabby was kind in her response. Other emails followed, and we began to find our way into conversations about painting, about writing, about what sustains us and our work. Below is an early exchange:
I will venture to guess that when you look at a landscape, you are looking for a sort of transient way into that space, which is to say apprehending how the transient might touch you, though of course this is only speculation on my part and what I gather from looking at your paintings.
I paint very intuitively, choosing a scene that depicts a feeling or mood that touches me. I gravitate to quiet, pensive rather than bold and bright…. Transiency is something I have not thought about, but it certainly plays a part in the whole mix…thanks for giving me something to contemplate.
We were not many days into these email exchanges when Tabby mentioned that she had been awarded a solo exhibition of her work. The exhibit was called Reflections & Tone. For whatever reasons, I realized that I had been complementing Tabby on her work but actually doing very little. Complements, like “Likes” on Facebook, are easy. So, I did what I could, and I wrote a short essay for Tabby, expressing how and why her work moved me. The essay is called “The Work of Silence.” I sent the essay to Tabby, and in turn, Tabby had the essay printed and included it as part of her exhibit. This was something I neither expected nor anticipated. Yet I recognize that moment now as a beginning for what has become Between Artists.