Featured Artist: L. I. Henley
L. I. Henley
L. I. Henley was born and raised in the Mojave Desert town of Joshua Tree, California. A collage artist, doll maker, and writer, she is the author of six books including Starshine Road, which won the 2017 Perugia Press Prize, and the novella-in-verse, Whole Night Through. A childhood spent in the desert attracted her to the risk, disappointment, and surprise of mixed media. Henley’s art, poetry, and prose have appeared in many journals, most recently Adroit, Brevity, The Indianapolis Review, Waxwing, Diode, Thrush, Ninth Letter, and Arts & Letters. Her essay, “Drive! You’re Lost Little Girl, You’re Lost,” was chosen as the winner of the Arts & Letters/Susan Atefat Prize for Creative Nonfiction in 2020. Visit her at www.lihenley.com and follow her on Instagram @lihenleyart.
In her most recent body of work, “We Met in a Shared Dream,” writer and visual artist L. I. Henley’s collage shares much with her poetic voice—the sense of someone stepping carefully through an interior underworld, gathering imagery to carry back out into the daylight. Many of the pieces utilize clippings of found texts including vintage field guides, etiquette manifestos, illustrated encyclopedias, and old letters to create an eerie nostalgia. One has the uncanny sense of the images and text being familiar and yet somehow new, vintage and present-day, like something remembered in a dream. Inspired by Henley’s personal journey with multiple autoimmune diseases, the work also reflects on the ways in which illness and pain can create both real and imagined distances and how our empathy can bridge that divide. Henley’s hopes that “We Met in a Shared Dream” gives viewers the feeling of wandering through a museum of dreamy, lyrical, mixed-media curiosities.