Art is one of the biggest passions in my life. My dad was an artist, his dad was an artist. Artist is in my genes. Of course, the passion is often overridden by the fact that I am constantly on the hunt for new experiences which prevents me from really honing my craft, but I still get great pleasure from creating and enjoying the creations of others.
Fine art (visual art at least) is, in my opinion, a visual expression of thoughts and feelings that just can’t be expressed in words. You look at a painting or a drawing and instantly have a reaction to it. Whether it is a visceral and emotional response or just “huh, I don’t get it, but okay” it gets you thinking. Your brain tries to relate to it in some way, and sometimes starts connecting to it in unexpected ways. While that aspect is amazing, I am sometimes even more amazed and hearing or reading the artist’s intent or emotional connection to their own work.
I added this as a resolution because I don’t go look at art nearly enough. It’s one of those things that’s easily pushed to the wayside because I really should be grocery shopping or cleaning the bathroom. Why couldn’t I just go to an art gallery? Why an opening? Sorry to disappoint, but there wasn’t a specific reason for that other than that I HAVE been to art galleries…just, never on purpose, really. It was for school, or because it was free museum day and I had some time to kill. Oh and there was one in Rotterdam when I went with my cousins, also just stumbled upon. A nice surprise none-the-less. An opening was something more experiential. Something deliberate and special. Something I got to dress up for!
Again, another example of things just falling into place, my co-worker and friend Patty just happen to mention this gallery opening during work one day because a friend of hers was being featured in it. Ta-da! Don’t you love how things work out? So I put on my shiny shoes and trekked down to city hall for:
The People’s Gallery 2012. Three stories, 150+ artists, all local. Austin’s such a great city.
We grabbed some refreshments in the lobby (and by refreshments I mean cookies and cheese) and headed into the first hallway. I think the first words out of my mouth were, “My god, these people are going to make me feel like a failure at life.” Austin is so FULL of talented people.
Since it’s such a visual experience I don’t know that there’s much to say about the act of actually looking at the art. We ooh’d and ahh’d, and all that. Most of the artists were there milling around their spot on the wall and I got to listen to them speak proudly of their method and inspiration. My favorite part, however, and a little surprisingly to me, was getting to read the artists’ statements next to each piece.
I would see a piece and fall in love with it, or hypothesize about it’s meaning, and then I would read a quote next to something like this,
that read “My concern is with the ambiguity of visual experience; the disparity between what we see and what we think we see.”
My god! Germaine, you’re speaking my entire life’s philosophy, and weaving it together with copper and brass wire in a frame. I don’t know that I would have responded so strongly to this piece were it not for reading her thoughts. It is unique and beautiful, but knowing the meaning made it one of my favorites.
Thus, began a the meticulous reading of almost every artist statement from floor to floor.
Here are some of my favorites; both visually, and for the statements.
Statement: “Fragility, tension, innocence, age”
Statement: “I thought it might be a sign. It wasn’t.”
Statement: “With my paintings, I try to illustrate our fragile earth. I find beauty in its decay and in its glory, and clues to the hubris and hope of humankind.”
“The more I painted my piece, the more images and feelings began to emerge from the scene. Antlers, sexuality, embrace, comfort, enjoyment, touch, bodies, anthropomorphism…”
“The title of this piece has a self-explanatory aspect, as we all are beings in this world, all searching for something, whether it be the reason for our being here, our truth, or our place in life.”
I can not for the life of me figure out why I did not record the statement for this brilliance. Maybe because its very presence is strange, intriguing, and somewhat disturbing on its own? It’s certainly one of my favorites. By the way, the objects in the box were “offerings” to Squirrley.
Now this piece was the one that I left thinking about. Look carefully, at the top left of the photo. This piece, and I still can’t tell you with certainty that it was part of this particular exhibit but I imagine it was, was completely out of reach from anyone. No tag, no credit, no statement. If you can’t see it is a sculpture of vultures picking apart a film canister and camera. A statement about the media perhaps?
Whatever the purpose, the whole thing including the placement stuck with me. This is definitely what art is about. If anyone knows who’s responsible please let me know.
There are so many other pieces I wish I could put in but I had to limit it somehow. If anyone lives in the Austin area, I definitely recommend coming by and giving it a look. It’s also called the “People’s Gallery” because you can cast ballots for your favorite pieces and they will reveal the people’s choice sometime early next year. I didn’t know this until after the fact so I did not vote, but I might just have to go back and do so.