Some just see a road. Mary Jabens imagines its rich history. And sometimes, she paints it.
Lead Image: “Hidden Away,” by Mary Jabens, 2015, oil, 10 x 8 in.
“Growing up in Montana, our family was always exploring,” says Jabens. “I can remember conversations of my parents in which they wondered how a road ended up being created, and I listened to their thoughts. What caused people to travel these roads, and why — secret fishing spot, ranch land, old homestead land? As an artist I am still drawn to roads with no destination indicated — just some traffic patterns that indicate someone is still going down this road for a reason. The choices in painting these roads are endless. I love to paint a stormy setting for a desolate road — I try to paint the feelings it evokes in me either with the statement of the storm, warmth of the sun, the coolness of shadows obscuring the destination. I like for viewers to be able to take the journey of possibilities without me giving it an ending most of the time. Textures can be used to finish the story, either with overgrown shrubbery for a less traveled road or deep tracks from usage during all seasons, an abandoned building or an unknown object. Each decision of what element to use creates my story of the roads-to-nowhere paintings.”