Deep within the darkest forest sprout the roots of the greatest aliveness. Trees are our great, great, great grandparents. Forests are our living ancient families. I know because in the forest I feel most deeply at home, held, loved and loving, and in awe of presence itself.

Michaela Ortner

Michaela Ortner-Moosbrugger’s work speaks to this place in all of us. The forests she creates in a dance between her spirit and Chinese ink and paper invite us to enter this presence. Trees grow tall and strong. The forest animals peep through the foliage, light filters down and plants reach skyward and we find ourselves, truly and unmistakably in the presence of the trees. We walk among the forest creatures. We partake in the life and death of the woods. We hear its heartbeat and our hearts, in cities and towns, in places far from forest are gifted with the pulse of life from this ancient place of belonging.

This is Michaela’s magic, her artistic gift. The scenes she creates are generated from ink and paper. Yet they are not just ink and paper. They are an experience of light and dark, of life and death, of trees and forest beings that live and die in harmony. Michaela invites us to participate with the forest, with the trees, with the aliveness that imbues her work. For in viewing her art, we are, once more, deep in the woods, touched by simplicity and walking, as our ancestors did, along forest pathways.

We come to know once more the deep quiet of the woods, the cycles of life and death made apparent through Michaela’s virtuosity. Through this experience, we become again part of the whole.

Michaela’s medium of black ink on white paper is complex and simple all at once. The ink is black and the paper, white but between these two seeming polarities, Michaela allows a multitude of tones. Light and dark play both with each other and against each other, giving depth and focus to her work. The eye is drawn in but everything is not immediately visible. Therefore, give this experience time. Stay there. Immerse yourself and the nuance of her work emerges. The secrets of Michaela’s forest need time with you. Then they will gift you with an expansion of heart and touch you with the mystery she illuminates.

E.S. Gallegos, PhD
Mary C. Diggin, PhD