L. Purington was born in Davenport, Iowa in 1947. She grew up in
Davenport and Princeton, Iowa, near the Mississippi River. She is
the oldest of three children.
earned a B.F.A. in painting/printmaking from the Kansas City Art
Institute, a K-12 Art Education Certificate from Park College, and
her M.F.A. from the University of Iowa, Iowa City. She has taught
in a variety of school and college settings, and has been an art
consultant for both public and private entities. She is currently
the executive director of Arts Iowa City.
has two sons and lives in Iowa City with her husband.
FROM MY JOURNAL to Jane Robinette
Sent: Friday, October 05, 2001 8:45 AM
Subject: RE: Iowa Artists response to terrorism?
I have not been compelled to work in the studio at all since the
WTC events. Maybe other artists feel this way. I witnessed the 'high
art of devastation', performed in real time, as I sat with my morning
coffee watching the news. Now, I am immersed in the study of the
culture who produced these acts. I think that I have just been able
to get my mind around the concept of terrorism, which is a subject
that I had not deeply understood before now. I am engaged in this
research with all of my senses, my mind, body and spirit.
experience has been a collective process. The media is working together
globally. I witness reports from Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkistan
and Iran. As a former professor of textile arts at the UI, I researched
and presented the histories and processes of textile arts and design
from this region of the earth. My heart is heavy to think that this
was a place where humankind recently produced some of the world's
most profoundly beautiful expressions of the human soul. I see the
remnants of this artform wrapped around the tiny bodies of a few
children who are captured in the spotlight of our investigation.
I am left to wonder whether of not this culture will ever celebrate
beauty again. And it hurts my feelings to think that our hearts
won't be able to respond to that frequency of pattern and color
once dyed and woven into an expression distilled from the essence
of their daily life and spirit.
that this same region of the world can produce a terrifying form
of art wherever they focus their aim. It is murder and suicide.
everyone else, I am sending and receiving more e-mails and connecting
more deeply with the friends that I have loved throughout my lifetime.
In that way, I am making an effort to fortify my sense of community
. And I think that I can paint, too. I just need time to process
this shift. I need mourning time. I need to bring about my own transformation
in consciousness though the private process of mourning.
to Merrie Snell
January 8, 2002
From my journal, concerning painting titled:
NOVEMBER 10, 2001
Today I realized that this work in progress is finished. I am calling
it NOVEMBER 10, 2001. This is the day when I know that the direction
of this series, SUMMER INTERLUDE, has been profoundly altered by
acts of devastation in our world. It captures my state of shock,
which is a result from the attack on NYC.
past summer, I spent a week in New York City studying late 15th
c., Flemish, illuminated manuscripts at the Morgan Library. While
I was in NYC, I contacted a downtown gallery, and was invited to
create this series to show there in the late fall of 2001. I may
still send them, but it has been more important to me to hold onto
these works and to use them for reflection. The series, which began
in a state of timelessness, is now captured in real time. The content
is much different from the original intention. This series contains
an expanded dimension of realism.