‘Notes from Font de Gaume’, Monotype Prints by Glen Rogers, 7″ x 5″, 1995
Like so many, I was entranced by the cave drawings from Lascaux, France – exquisite renderings that seem to come alive on the walls of this ancient cave dating back tens of thousands of years. The pigments – red, sienna, ochre, black and white – made from fresh earth, were still vivid and alive, and the exaggerated graphic quality and simplicity of line rivaled the drawing skills of any modern-day master.
Although Lascaux was no longer open to the public, I knew that artists were sometimes given permission to enter and I requested such. When I received no answer, I began researching the Valley of the Caves in the Dordogne region of France. Rather than visit the replica of Lascaux, I wanted to feel the magic of place and actually walk in the footsteps of our ancient ancestors.
So instead, I visited Font-de-Gaume, a small cave outside the town of Les Eyzies. We followed the guide through this dark winding cavern as he used his flashlight to illuminate the drawings.
‘Lascaux VI’, Monotype Print by Glen Rogers, 7″ x 5″, 1995
Caves were held sacred by the tribes and were used by shamans on their visionary journeys, as places of magic and ritual deep within the womb of Mother Earth. I was thrilled to see, first-hand, the images of the sacred feminine, vulva shapes in the form of simple triangles, or more organic renditions scratched into the walls. Caves are symbols of birth and death, the passages between worlds. Walking this space was a deeply moving experience that I cherish to this day.
Since it was impossible to get photographs of the cave imagery, I carried these images in my memory. Back in the studio, I created a series of small 5″ x 6″ monoprints with textural lines scratched into the copper plate. These intimate works, created with colors of the earth, seemed to hold secrets from an ancient time and evoked the magic I’d felt in the caves. This was years ago – 1995 – one of the first pilgrimages I took with the intention of visiting ancient goddess sites. This experience and these prints still hold meaning for me today.