ALYSIA MACAULAY

Ocala

Ocala refers to a time, a place, and a departure in my life and art.

February of 2021 was a time when the “where” in all of our lives became untethered. Work and school remained at the core of our day to day lives however, due to the pandemic, the where of it all was suddenly up for grabs.

For my family, our where became Ocala, Florida, the “Horse Capital of the World.” A mid-state gem, Ocala is saturated with horse farms, fields and forests. In winter, thousands of competitors in the equestrian community converge on Ocala to compete at a high level. School and work continued virtually, and I was afforded the opportunity to live a very different life than I had up to that point.

Now living in a small house, attached to a horse barn, on the most glorious park-like setting in the heart of Ocala, I began to immerse myself in all that surrounded me. Seven horses, mares mostly, roamed about the expansive property twenty-four/seven. It was a freedom I had never seen before on a horse farm.

My routine developed quickly. Each day started with a visit to see the horses. I found these unflappable, magnificent animals easy to engage and connect with. Whether at the barn where we were staying or the stable where my daughter was riding, the flora and fauna of Ocala captivated me. And the light - the pure, warm, southern light - coated everything in a soft, mellow, 1970s-like glow.

The work I have made is a departure, in both subject and medium. Working with paint for the first time enabled me to further explore the impact of color, as well as to play with layers and texture. What remains consistent is my ongoing exploration of perspective, shape, light and color, while employing new mediums and methods.
In this body of work I captured, subtracted, and reimagined.

Following my month of deep immersion in photographing all that surrounded me, I returned home with a desire to whittle down the images to highlight the subject within. Through the process of cutting away all extraneous and peripheral elements from the image, the subject was returned to its pure form. I treated color as an equal to perspective, light and shape.

The end result is reflective of my experience. A life simplified down to its basic elements, where what mattered most emerged with clarity, strength and beauty.