Aline Fourier Studio

Copyright ©1999-2016 Aline Fourier

Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, 1996

Letter from Leon Heredia, Journalist, Sun City Center, May 28, 1996

Dear Aline,
Finally back home I enjoyed at leisure your lovely gift-Salt Marsh Reflections. I was taken right back into the beguiling environment I'd just left by the unusual realism of the photographs. Inherent in every one of the scenes is a mystic quality that subtly melds each element into the next, provoking a strong sense of reality in the beholder's eye. Rocks nudge gently into neighboring trees, bushes, grasses, and friendly siblings. No jagged threatening stone outcroppings here. All of nature's creations, living and inanimate, exist in serene peace with one another. Water, sun, air--and endless time--are shown at work. There is movement everywhere, even in the background of the dominant and beautiful florals. And, all throughout, the cadence of your prose provides a moving and thoughtful complement for each scene. I am no art critic, but I am aware of the sensory differences in viewing real life and its imitations. I took long walks while there and wonder how you captured the living essence and beauty of your surroundings through all the hazards of the reproduction process. You and your son have produced a rare and shining example of how art and technical skill can join to create something that transcends the outer reaches of their individual disciplines. Its tenderly tasseled binding, choice of paper for cover and leaf, and typography offer mute testimony to the loving care with which it was conceived. Your gift has found a place among my most cherished memorabilia of people and places. Many, many, thanks.

A Gift Of Poetry: One Of Many Creations Boothbay Register
Volume 120, Issue 14
Boothbay Harbor, Maine 04538
April 4, 1996
by Barbara Freeman

Salt Marsh Reflections is not the usual "slim volume of poetry." It may be slim, but it has more energy and style than most of that genre. The collection of 14 poems and 15 photographs, now available at Sherman's Book Store, is a collaboration between Aline Fourier and her 17 year-old son, Zachary Daniel Burack.

The inspiration for the book was a small, brackish pond beyond Fourier's Newagen home. The physical description of the salt marsh does not do it justice, for it is an extension of the ocean beyond and is bounded by undulating grasses, evergreens, and dramatic ledge.

In the book's introduction , Fourier writes that, "Zachary visited and began to explore the salt marsh through the lens of my Nikon camera. Delighted by the results of his 'seeing,' I was inspired to create Salt Marsh Reflections as a gift for Zachary on his seventeenth birthday." Each color reproduction is accompanied by a poem written by Fourier in response to the image in the photograph.

The illustrations range from close-ups of flowers to expansive shots of the marsh with the sea and sky beyond. A common theme which runs through the free-form poetry is change: tidal, seasonal, and personal. Atmospheric and natural images pervade the verse, giving it an organic quality.

"I've always written poetry," Fourier says. "It's a reflection of what's going on inside." She finds that speaking the poems while writing them improves the rhythm.

The book's cover is a clue to the creativity within. Fourier binds each copy herself, using Indian rag-and-algae paper bound by a twig from the marsh and lengths of nubby yarn. She scanned the photos herself and produced the entire book on her computer. On the back cover is her company name, Creative Response, Inc.

A Wellspring of Creativity

Fourier's supply of creative energy seems boundless. At any given moment, she has a number of works in progress. She credits living in close proximity to the ever-changing salt marsh for a good bit of her inspiration. "The marsh came first," she explains.

Many of Fourier's creative efforts spring, too, from twelve years as a psychological counselor in Massachusetts, as well as related studies. She was trained in the psychosynthesis counseling technique, studied Eastern psychology ans shamanism, and has been strongly influenced by the teachings of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung. While working with a well-known Jungian therapist and priest, Dr. Robert Johnson, she studied mandalas, and Jungian psychology symbols representing reunification of the self.

"I combined all that into an eclectic practice," Fourier says. Working with cancer and catastrophic illness patients, she taught self-exploration, visualization, and imagery to speed recovery. She feels that troubling diagnoses do not have to be self-fulfilling prophesies, that "we're only limited by our beliefs."

In 1985, she produced The Pain Reliever, a guided tape which was introduced for use in hospices.

As an extension of her counseling experiences, and the death of her mother, Fourier is working on a new book, Another Room. She describes it as a collection of "creative expressions in art, music, poetry, photgraphy, and prose" about death and dying. "In our culture we learn that death is an end," but she has a more spiritual view, however, and adds, "death is merely a doorway into Another Room."

Continually Exploring

In her Cape Pond Studio, which adjoins the house she shares with her husband, Jonathan Rutenberg, Fourier is working on several canvases at once. Her paintings, like the new book, are an extension of her self-exploration and counseling work. She also extracts images from dreams and her unconscious. The result is a combination of the abstract and the realistic.

When she began, Fourier concentrated on pastels, "translating her emotions through movement, color, and shape." Now she has moved onto other media, including pen and ink and watercolor. She has exhibited at the Boothbay Region Art Foundation and Maine Art Gallery and will have works displayed on Bailey Island this coming summer.

Some of Fourier's drawings start out with a word written in script, which she then translates into an abstract design. Others include poetry. A set of three ink and watercolor images, "the red hand series," was begun as a way to deal with grief over her mother's death. She did not realize that the red handprints she incorporated into her paintings are a Navajo symbol that means "we are safe here."

Other symbols she intentionally uses are ivy, which is symbolic of an immortal place, and "root woman," based on a huge upturned root in her yard, but symbolic of her own growth. In creating her art works, she feels her hand is being led. "I'm weaving from the substance of my being." She says, "I'm continually exploring."

Another of her creative efforts is the ongoing renovation she and her husband began when they moved to Newagen several years ago. The house, near the southern tip of Southport Island, has a wall of glass overlooking the salt marsh. Fourier says, "Moving here has put flesh on my thinking. The marsh has helped me to bring it all alive."

There is a continuity to Fourier's creative efforts. She has her own personal mission statement: "Believing in myself to share what is borne inside." Her current efforts will no doubt lead her to still other projects. Even she does not know quite what direction her work will take. "That's what creativity is all about," she says, "trusting yourself--what you feel intuitively inside."