The exhibition Jack Stark Dudzik & Sarah Stark Mother-Son Reading and Exhibition features artworks by Stark Dudzik alongside excerpts from Sarah Stark’s new unpublished novel Finding Michael Finnegan. The show opens at El Zaguán, 545 Canyon Road, Suite 2, on Friday, February 9, 2018 from 5-7pm and continues through March 2, 2018. Sarah Stark reading from her novel at the opening night at 6:15pm.
The February show at Historic Santa Fe Foundation’s El Zaguàn features the work of two El Zaguàn resident artists, novelist, Sarah Stark, and her 7 ½ year-old-son, Jack Stark Dudzik. Paired with excerpts from Sarah’s latest work on the novel, Finding Michael Finnegan, Jack’s pencil sketches, black pen drawings and watercolor paintings evoke important American symbols: trees, tree houses, boats at sea, flags, and bridges across the Potomac.
Jack Stark Dudzik is a soccer player, painter, designer and writer. He likes to write letters to his grandparents, sisters and cousins. He also enjoys writing non-fiction about topics such as plants and animals. Jack likes to draw anywhere outside and inside, but mostly while sitting in the garden of El Zaguán and from inside his light-filled living room in Apt #7.
Sarah Stark is a mother, teacher and writer curious about the ways human beings learn and re-learn how to love and care for one another throughout dark times. She has a background in political science and foreign affairs, and worked in the early years of her career as a defense analyst in Washington, DC on issues concerning nuclear nonproliferation and peacekeeping. She currently teaches English at Santa Fe Preparatory School, and taught creative writing previously at the Institute of American Indian Arts for many years. Her novel, Out There (Leaf Storm Press, 2014) was selected as a Top Book by Publishers Weekly for 2014 and received a starred review. Out There was also selected as the winner of the INDIEFAB Editor’s Choice Award for Fiction Book of the Year, 2014. Sarah lives with her son, Jack, as a writer-in-residence at Historic Santa Fe Foundation’s El Zaguàn.
Sarah Stark’s new novel, Finding Michael Finnegan presupposes the breakdown of an American family, the Finnegans, in the almost two decades following the bombing of Baghdad and the outbreak of the Iraq war. It begins with the oldest daughter, Sallie, attempting to reconnect with her aging father, Michael, who has left the U.S. in disgust to live on the western shore of Ireland. Other members of the family have similarly exiled themselves from one another in the decade following the war. There has been divorce and suspected dementia and, in one case, the smoking of a lot of pot. All five also remember the particularly sour family Christmas celebration in 2002, and use it as an excuse never to gather as a family again.
However, as politics and the general state of affairs in the country appear to be getting worse rather than better in 2016, the mother (Joan), the younger sister (Anne) and the younger brother (David) find that they are drawn back to one another through their old home in Arlington, Virginia, and by their nostalgic, complicated memories of family and what it means to love again.