Location: Madison, WI
Describe your featured work:
I made this image in the house where I stayed during the summer of 2017. I was in Lima, Peru, traveling often for work and puzzling over Jesus’ words ‘Foxes have dens, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’ Lima was my home base; between trips, I would return to this house, where I never felt accepted – not by the two sisters, who rarely if ever included me, not by the absent minded father, and least by the mother, who I suspected only housed me for the stipend she received. What does it mean to wander, and return to a place where you are an outsider? What does it mean to have a place to stay that is not your home? Jesus knew what it meant – and I came to believe during that summer that he wishes for us to know what that means, too. To follow Christ is to give up home, acceptance, shelter, safety. He may return those things to us tenfold; he may not. It is not ours to know or to expect. In the next life, we will be with him. What lack on earth is not worth that?
In my work I seek to embody the in-between spaces that our spoken language can’t express. I grew up an anomaly – a biracial (Chinese/White) woman in a primarily white, evangelical landscape, surrounded by rhetoric that spoke in absolutes. In Christian conversations, men were spiritually different beings from women, right was starkly divided from wrong. In political conversations, people spoke of only whole racial experiences – The Black American Experience vs. The White American Experience vs. The Asian American Experience. These conversations assume so much about where lines of identity are drawn, and that those lines are immovable, impermeable. But – if we limit ourselves to the language of wholes, we cut ourselves off from universes. All of my images are questions of identity, but more than that they demand to know: are the wholes you speak of as indivisible as you believe? What are you missing?
What are you making now?
I am making a series called The Book of Grief and Hope. The work documents a heartbreak in the midst of loneliness. I usually fly to friends and family to handle deep sorrow, yet curling up next to a couple of good friends on a couch or traveling home to see family has hefty ethical baggage these days. To process my grief on my own, I’m documenting it through essays, soundbytes, a Spotify playlist, and many, many photographs. I call it the book of Grief and Hope because the project was born in desperation, but the work is grounded in hope. With COVID dragging on, it’s easy to believe that nothing will improve, and that I will always feel this pain. But I hold fast to the promise that I am healing – so grief, as I wear away at the jagged edges of my rage, gives way to hope.
I belong to CIVA because…
I belong to CIVA because my good friend Kate Austin encouraged me to submit work for 2019’s Are We There Yet conference, and as I was submitting I purchased a membership. I attended the conference and was encouraged and inspired by the artists who spoke so candidly of their practice of art and faith. I remain with CIVA because of the community and the opportunities to meet and learn from other artists.
Lindsey Rothrock is a Madison based fine art photographer, living in an in-between space. I studied math and photography in undergrad, and work for a healthcare tech company called Epic. I am currently looking at MFA Photography programs for the fall of 2021 or 2022. If you have wisdom to share about transitioning into the fine art world, or applying to school, please reach out! I would love to learn from you.