Within the Way

Within the Way: Linear Studies of a Sacred Path 

As early as the 6th century BC, people have traveled across northern Spain, from the mountains of the great Pyrenees to the coastline of Finesterra, to pay pilgrimage to the sacred. Simultaneously aligned with the telluric energy currents of the earth and the stars of the milky way in the sky above, the path of the present day Camino has remained one of our planets most sacred trails for people of diverse faiths, cultures, and eras.

In 2015, I began my 900 kilometer journey across the Camino, starting in November and ending on the winter solstice, December 21. Joining the steps of so many millions before me, I climbed mountains, crossed valleys, visited cities, witnessed miracles, and ended in the cleansing waves of the ocean. It was a journey of such depth and variety - cloaked in mystery, grounded in history. They say that you are called to the Camino when it is your time, and that when this calling occurs, most cannot explain exactly why they are there.

For some, the Camino is a chance to see another country - a chance to be a tourist on foot. But for others, it is a time when answers are found and when transformations begin. The Camino gives you exactly what you need - no more, and no less. You confront challenges that allow you to resolve patterns of your past. You meet people who guide you and push you in the ways that you need most. Your inner truth boils over through the gruelling ups and downs of the physical, mental, and spiritual path of the Camino.

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Within the Way - Linear Studies of a Sacred Path is an exploration of Jessica Anderson's 46 day journey along the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain. It combines visual evidence of the Camino with meditational line drawings, land mapping, and studies of the night sky to unify the physical, mental, and spiritual components of the ancient trail. Believing that the drawn line is the most honest mark a body can make, Anderson merges meditative gestures with the physical marks of the footpath to invite viewers into personal contemplation. While the inner experience of each Camino pilgrim is uniquely intimate and immeasurable, Anderson uses the abstracted narration of line on paper to open her personal journey to the public. How much can be read in a single line? What relationships emerge between the lines of the self, the lines of the earth, and the lines of the stars? As the Camino is a transformation, the works in this exhibition seek to communicate that transformation through juxtaposed simplicity, gestural specificity, and personal testimony.