Carol's landscape and seascape images in oil-stick reveal
a great sensitivity to her environment. Her vision is clear and focused
in images that resonate with light and energy. Nothing is static in her
way of seeing and recording. Moments melt together to form a lasting impression
that is, in itself, ever changing.
In her own words:
I have come to realize that "path following" is a compelling
and provocative process for me. The passage of time, the filtering of light
and shadows, the meditations that percolate through my mind when I walk
have all become parts of my personal documentation.
I walk often, in all kinds of weather and in all kinds of places.
I have built an extended series of works, including three 25', scrolls
with oil sticks on paper, tracking my perambulations. I want my work to
convey the joys and insights that I internalize when I walk, my paths and
experiences to be anybody's roads.
I paint with oil on canvas and I work with oil sticks on panel
or on 140 lb watercolor paper. I work from photographs and from life.
Since 1985, artist Carol Sloane has been walking daily on "The Loop',
a circular path that takes in her land and several local gravel roads near
her home in the town of Washington, Maine. Walking and seeing and
thinking, she began to record this ritual on paper, on canvas and even
in a long horizontal moving scroll. Her study of Time, Light and
Pathways has evolved over the years through changing landscapes of Maine
woods and islands to New Mexico's Rio Grande canyons and hills.
It's not surprising that these investigations led to the labyrinth.
As an ancient meditation tool, the labyrinth has been around for at least
4000 years . Labyrinths define a sacred pathway to the center and
back out again.
In New Mexico last spring, Carol began a series of pathway and maze
paintings, exploring their abstract patterns in colors, as if mapped from
This summer, she took a different set of tools to work: handsaw, clippers
and a push mower. In the middle of a 12 acre hayfield near her studio,
Carol chose the site for her Labyrinth: a wooded knoll of pines and alder
saplings. And with characteristic energy and determination, she continued,
over the next 2 ½ months to create interweaving circular paths.
Defining the center by measuring two intersecting diameters of the area,
she then made concentric paths by clearing brush and some saplings and
banking the paths' sides with branches and small logs. Then, in an
intricate process, she broke and joined the circles at regular points.
As the artist described her work on the labyrinth, It put in mind the weaver's
work where a line of thread is stopped, joined, repeated ; and Carol's
artistic history has included work with fabrics.
At four regular points, the labyrinth extends into the meadow itself
and then returns into the woods. In places along the paths, little saplings
line the way or appear in the middle of a section. No part of the
paths is the same, as the viewpoint through the tall pine verticals to
the sunlit meadow beyond constantly shifts.
There are many kinds of labyrinths, some of stone or banked earth, some
of planted hedges, some within buildings such as cathedrals, where paving
mosaics define the path for prayer and meditation. Carol Sloane's
Washington Labyrinth combines an ancient tradition with a very contemporary
trend of environmental and installation art. It offers a puzzlement,
a beautiful walk, an outing for fun, or a space for meditation.
In fact, this is the second labyrinth to appear in the town of Washington.
Liberty Graphics designer Bob Richardson and his wife Susan made one in
their hayfield earlier in the year.
Sloane's Washington labyrinth is located on Old Union Road about ¾
mile beyond Washington Village. There is a sign on the right indicating
a parking area, and two large banners mark the entrance to the labyrinth,
where you'll find a box with maps. In hunting season, be aware that
the Labyrinth is open only on Sundays. When the snows come, Carol
intends to create snowshoe trails. She invites all to come and experience
a walk through the Labyrinth. And don't forget to write in the Guest
Book; it's at the beginning (and end) of the trail.
This variation of the medieval Christian labyrinth design is a plan
of the maze known as Robin Hood's Race at Sneinton, near Nottingham, England,
which was plowed up in 1797. Several ancient turf labyrinths were named
after the popular hero Robin Hood, alluding perhaps to his reputation for
rushing into Sherwood Forrest and thus evading capture by the Sheriff of
Nottingham. Sadly, none of the turf mazes bearing his name have survived.
There are no junctions or choices to be made, yet you will find that
the twists and turns of the single path are remarkably compelling to follow,
whether walking, running or on paper. The plan of this maze also bears
similarities to that in Chartres Cathedral, France, though with the addition
of bastions. It is thought that at some time it was miscut, creating
this irregular pattern.