Art is Art. What you think art is, or what I think it is is not so important. The point is, we can both agree it exists. That said, when we encounter art in the gallery space, museum or on the street, in a very real way it doesn't matter who made it. The encounter need not be mediated by personal knowledge of the artist, or by what anyone else thinks. We meet the being, the stranger, the presence in the frame or on the stage. And we respond. Not to the history. Not to the back story. (at least not immediately)
We respond to materality. To presence and that aesthetic response connects us strongly to the imaginal realm, the place where dreams are cast and cracked from molds white hot. The place where difficulties become for the moment transparent. Heaviness floats. Time pauses. At it's best, the encounter is visceral, it takes our breath, changes the very internal rhythms by which we walk and talk. It breaks us open, it reveals the hidden, even as it bandages the wound. Yes. Art does that.
Persons who live with mental illness live with two sets of constraints. Those placed upon them by society, and symptomology, and those they place upon themselves. The answer to fear is control, and many people find, by diminishing their lives, taking fewer risks, allowing less unknowns, symptoms fade. But this is not a strategy for recovery or vigor.
Art, when it's real, is not small. It will not be made small. It won't be polite, restrained, contained. It's a trouble maker, a random stranger, an unpredictable outcome, a look into the void, into the chaos of unfolding possibility. And so, it is the perfect antedote, for a life of constraint, self-imposed, or not...
|David Webb- Dinnertime at the Oaks -Acrylic on Canvas|
I feel better. How about you?
Recovering the Artist opens Friday November 4th at The Martha Pace Swift Gallery. For information/ or directions, visit the website.