Tuesday, January 09, 2018

In Memoriam: Deirdre McCullough Grunwald

Deirdre McCullough Grunwald had vision. She looked deeper and saw more. She studied Celtic pattern and sacred geometry and made it new. In her illustrator bio for the 1985 book of poetry by Robert Lima, The Olde Ground, she wrote, “She is particularly interested in contemporizing the system of Celtic design while maintaining the integrity and correctness of this ancient form.”

And that was DD—grounded in old time, connected to ancient wisdom, and totally engaged in the present—in each moment spent with family and friends and fellow artists, weathering the events of the day and giving us all hope and ballast.

Like the Celtic spirals she created, Deirdre was always venturing out and circling back, integrating pattern and still life, giving attention to onions and daffodils and exploring the territory of the mind with works named Renewal and Sun Mandala. She dealt with pain and the complexity of life by creating a place of safety and nurture for herself and for all who experience her work. 

DD leaves a legacy of art and inspiration. Her prodigious work ethic brought into being a beautiful body of work which speaks to us all: Be brave. Be bold. Work from your heart. Share what you know. The truer we can be to our own visions, the more we honor hers. 

I first met DD when she came with a group of artists from the Maynard area to join Art Alive! The Greater Lowell Art Co-op in the early 1980s. At the time I was president of the freewheeling art organization that had space donated by the Lowell National Park at 200 Merrimack Street (now a parking lot). We connected over exhibits and crazy member meetings (we had a board but all the decisions were made by the entire membership), a mutual interest in Celtic custom and design, an appreciation of Lowell's own Jack Kerouac and literature in general (we were both English Lit majors), and mutual admiration for each other's work. We were both part of the group of Lowell connected artists who exhibited at the Galerie Quatre Saisons in Quebec City and attended the Rencontre International de Jack Kerouac in the fall of 1987. We last saw each other last summer when we talked about a possible exhibition of new work we would create individually but collaboratively.

Image: It's A Window, Christmas card, 1995

I'll be posting images from The Olde Ground and a John Berger quote I wrote out in her memory in the next few days. You can see more of Deirdre's work here

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