As artists, as people, as one in a global community we measure ourselves and judge others from a perspective of being able to attain perfection. When things go wrong, as they will, we agonize over our own insecurities as well as how we think the world will judge us. Making a painting, putting together an installation or whatever it is we are attempting to do will always have challenges that are unforeseen and part of the process.
Resisting the expectation of glitches and measuring any effort from perfection undermines our cosmic gift of growth and learning. The why of things seems unanswerable but knowing the intent and motivation of any effort transcends and transforms any unforeseen difficulty we are presented with. There are so many holy scripts that reinforce this idea of compassion for the other and the acceptance of ourselves for exactly who we are.
‘In the world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer I have overcome the world.’ Rejoice in your weaknesses [imperfections] for in them we are made strong.’ Every religion and spiritual practice highlights understanding, compassion and gratitude for what to us looks like a flaw, a mistake, a glitch.
The courage to explore and experiment contains within it the element of imperfection. Edison tried 5000 combinations of things to find 1 that worked. 4,999 failures according to most. He saw it as 4,999 steps to success. Whatever we have a passion to do accepting it all, the good, the bad, the struggle opens us up to a greater guidance that is undeniable and sacred. Every world changing discovery or accomplishment was strewn with challenge and defeat and glitches. But if those brave people hadn’t at least tried then how much less would we all be. But because of their courage on the road to their vision amazing gifts come to others.
Those that we remember and that change history are the very ones who risked, looked like failures, grappled with their own insecurities but pressed on towards the mark despite it all; being driven by something that is indescribable but ultimately divine. In the life of an artist, a scientist or whomever this drive to share something with another is enough and it will find it’s way to those to whom it matters.
Image: Nicola Tassie’s ceramics
ORTV Link for Segment on the Kardash Onnig installation at Wisdom House. It starts at 15 minutes into the show so begin there.Feel free to comment on the piece and share the link.
Being an image maker or thought presenter wields great power as history has shown. Generations have been defined by the images and ‘sayings’ that each has produced. Who doesn’t remember ‘where’s the beef?’ or ‘make love not war’. Think of the peace sign and people like Milton Glaser, Andy Warhol, Peter Max, Ferlinghetti, Robert Indiana and a host of others in all mediums who were masters of this skill. The arts have always reflected the society in which they have lived and have simultaneously responded to and led generations.
Contained within an artist’s repertoire are tools of seduction as well as meaning. We can very easily tickle the eye with color, shine, glitz, novelty of all sorts and give the impression of art while in fact it might contain very little of that. There is the appearance of art and then there is art. The modern day world contains both and is sometimes hard to distinguish. The art fair has taken on the modalities used by malls and retail philosophies for the ultimate goal of the sale. Of necessity the best galleries have mastered this form of influence.
But a little beyond that there is an enclave of something else that might be a bit more challenging in both its craft and intended meaning. To me this is the arena of the beauty of soul. It tends not to fit into the accepted showrooms of art but breaths its own life in its own way. While it may challenge and test the limits of our own understanding of meaning and beauty it contains traits and emotional content that is undeniable. I have seen from the gallery side, with my experience with the viewer or collector, that most aficionados of art are looking for something specific to fill a need within themselves. ‘This disturbs me, I could never live with that!’ is one familiar comment. ‘I have blue drapes and this would just fit so well in my room’ is another. ‘I really don’t want anything sad around me so these pieces definitely don’t work for me’ is another. So every exhibit or work of art has filters applied to it. YET when we go to the theater or read a book or listen to music the challenging elements and the fullness of the contrast enhances our experience.
So artists tend to adapt to the market seeking approval, which is a human need, and then develop mechanisms to feed that craving. The beauty of soul disregards the tendency of approval and imposes its own will on the world. Take it or leave it. In this ‘letting go’ is where I have seen the most moving work and in actuality the best people. It takes some effort to find but it is there alongside all of the other stuff we have come to call art. In a politically correct world where authentic ideas can be crushed for not following party lines I find originality and courage of high value. It takes courage these days to be true to yourself knowing that if someone is offended by your work all hell can break loose. But this might be the new price we have to pay for the Beauty of Soul.
image: in my ongoing quest to include notable work as the blog image I have focused on Mexican artist Javier Marin this week. I find his work amazingly compelling both from the making point of view as well as emotional content.
Next Saturday, June 3rd, 3PM at Wisdom House Chapel, Litchfield, CT we will host an artist’s walkaround through the Transfourming Sorrow installation. Kardash Onnig will discuss the inspiration for this multi-sensory installation as well as take questions from attendees. A lively discussion will be guaranteed and the public is invited to attend.
The Wisdom House link is below with all of the details of the event.
Also tomorrow morning at 10:30 there will be a television segment on the installation and the link for live streaming is also below.
Today we open the Wisdom House installation with artist Kardash Onnig.The image above is where we began and I hope everyone can come during it’s 2 month duration to see where we ended. An ongoing interest that I have had as an artist and gallery owner is moving away from the idea of art as object and conceiving and creating art as experience; Liberating art from the gallery environment to something that is potentially more dynamic. It is not that far removed from a theater or concert experience. This event is an expression of place infused with an ensemble of sensory and tactile elements. It is an experiment. Creating a greater work of art with art fascinates me.
It is a new model in my path and future things like this are being planned. There will be a publication available and we are in the process of assembling a video documenting this event as well. Fingers crossed but sure is fun finding the edge and trying not to fall off .
I am doing a one day workshop on June 10, Saturday 10-1. Bring your work and we will spend the day discussing everyone’s work. All mediums welcome. Space is limited so register early.
Register at AOTL Link
Because my primary world has been art, I often wonder about all of the unknown artists and true original thinkers that I/we will never know about because they have never sought the limelight and have been ignored by those who determine how to feed the public appetite. It is very apparent that the New Society consists of spoon feeding all of us the headlines of choice, the people of choice, while bombarding us with their point of view in the hopes we will sympathize with and accept this means of informing and influencing.
I see this happening in all fields and more intensely than ever. The availability of information, on one hand, gives us the feeling that we are missing nothing. We can easily find a media source to line up with what we think is our view. Is it possible to be groomed to think a certain way? Has the sophistication and science of ‘information presentation’ reduced our individual ability to know what we really think and feel? This, if true, has obvious societal implications which if done well would be almost invisible to us. This machine of dissemination would have and does control who and what we are aware of.
The other side of this feeling of ‘all knowing’ is the power of complete invisibility; keeping from our view ideas and people who are true original thinkers. This applies to all fields including art. We contend with what we see and are aware of. We never consider what has been kept from our awareness. It is there but we don’t see it so we remain just where we fit in, typically serving someone else’s point of view unconsciously. Significance in the arts and in society appears to be a few steps removed from the main flow of information and sympathetic resonance that it seeks from the individual.
Discovering the unknown matters more to me than ever. I dream of assembling these unknowns into one place, allowing points of views that I agree and don’t agree with, yet anyway. True art speaks loud and clear. It disrupts the accepted. Freedom of expression is just that; the freedom to speak, write or make without fear of retribution and for us in the arts Robert Mapplethorpe is a prime example. I find the rhetoric on the right and left on social media quite scary as the information controllers sway our emotions, seduce us into easy participation and rob us of our independence. The arts and philosophy and literature hold the best of who we are individually and as a society. Committing to that gives me hope. Making art changes the world.
Above in Image:
Dennis Oppenheim, Performance Piece 2000 – Interesting work and I have put the link to the site to see more.Interesting artist in my view.