IMAGINE FINDING THIS PORTRAIT AT YOUR LOCAL ART OPENING
Activity: Friday Night. Art Opening with a good friend at Linus Gallery in Pasadena. Contents: a variety of art by numerous american artists from around the country. Small number of pieces from each artist. Placed in a small gallery off the beaten track in South Pasadena. Attendees. Artists who are in town and friends. I am not aware of any press at the opening. Content: Artists in various stages of mastery over their media. Some political and topical art. Other art, eclectic.
Opinion: Some good, some bad. It is difficult to judge art in such a small environment when each piece is so close to the next and there is little in the accompanying written explanation to actually explain the art. I think that even in a small collective art exhibit such as this, a curator could have added a dimension that is lost in this opening. There is no narrative for the show nor any explanation as to the choices of art on the wall. Imagine finding Van Gogh’s portrait in this setting. How would you react? Would it shine, and glow and numb you with intensity as it does in the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. (On view until March 4, 2013)
The lack of a decisive clarity about the exhibition makes it difficult to look at such eclectic outpourings. Leaves the viewer wondering what it is all about. This is such an easy fix for a small collective or independent art gallery. Have a piece of writing in the exhibit creating coherence and meaning to the exhibit. Museums do it, why don’t galleries? It gives writers an opportunity to showcase their writing. I gives the artists another vehicle in which to have their work elucidated.
Part of what I do as a writer is to simply pay attention. It is part of the challenge of writing: about anything. It is so easy to listen to the inner drivel, but challenging and the occasion to grow to listen to your observations and your participation in an event, or set of circumstance. As a writer I want to listen to the painter. To listen to the story that lies in the color, form and its expression before me on a wall, or installation, sculpture. To let it resonate within me and to let me form a response to that. It is hard for me to grasp the idea that all art is not narrative. Somewhere inside me I believe that all art is a language with a story to tell. Each color, each line, each shape arising from a kind of narrative.
I have to be delicate with my words and as yet they are still forming. I have not written for a bit about what I see. I am impelled to write by my own personal well of experience. What I see will come from who I am and no other. In a sense, that is my destiny and there is nothing I can do to replicate, even my most favorite authors. I can never be them, be inside them, be who they are, I can only be myself and thus I have to be true to the story that I perceive, sense, feel. There is a critical honesty within writing that is not for the fragile.
While my heart may be torn and rough around the edge, if I see a brilliant light before I must illuminate it, let it shine and give it glory for the day. My writing is not narcissistic. That is too easy.
But you will find color in it and beneath its surface you may sense who is there in the words. That will be my humanity, my vulnerability and my strength.