Archive for June 4th, 2012

Well, I delivered my work  to the Principle Gallery on Saturday for the show, A Place to Stand, which opens this coming Friday evening.  There is always a feeling of great relief after a show is delivered, a momentary sense of elation in knowing that I’ve done all that I could and the fate of the show is out of my hands.  The elation, of course, turns to anxiety for those same reasons– I’ve done all that I could and the fate of the show is out of my hands.  There is a certain level of autonomy, of control,  in the studio that is lost once the work goes out the studio door.

 For those of you who have followed this blog for any time at all, this anxiety of which I speak is familiar ground.  I have come to terms with this over the years after around 30 solo shows of feeling this awful knot of tension build as I hand over control of my work to others.  I  know that things inevitably work out with time, especially if I have truly done my best in the studio.  But that knowledge doesn’t completely erase the tension I feel at this point. 

I may not be able to completely explain this feeling.  My situation is my own and I place certain levels of importance to things that may not mean much to many others so that if might be difficult to completely understand.  Like many situations in life, we all travel a singular journey that only we can fully understand and appreciate.

That term, A Singular Journey, is one that I chose for the painting shown above, a large 20″ by 60″ canvas that is one of the centerpieces of the Principle Gallery show.  I had finished this painting and had been studying it in the studio for a few days, trying to ascertain a title.  At the same time, I had been following the progress of a friend who is coping with the devastating illness suffered by his wife of many years.  Offered many words of encouragement and advice from a multitude of friends, he had written online that he truly appreciated what his friends were trying to do but had come to the realization that ultimately his wife and he were alone in this situation.  And that, at that moment, felt almost unbearable.

But he’s right.  We all ultimately walk our path alone, through the hard times as well as the good.  No one can fully appreciate our private journeys  because they can never truly know all of the dynamics that influence our perspectives.  We would like to think that everyone will react in certain situations in much the same manner as ourself but that is seldom the case.  We all handle tragedy, and happiness,  in our own individual way. 

Now that seems like a daunting prospect, this seemingly lonely journey of one.  But in this piece I choose to try to look at it from the perspective that while there is a starkness in being alone in our journey, there is also a certain grace, a beauty that only the person on that journey can appreciate.  Everything that we experience on this path is ours alone to savor and  to partake of the lessons it has to offer.  Even the tragedy of my friend may offer a sort of grace that in the long run may he may see as a gift.  He certainly may not see it now nor would I ask him to look for it.  I couldn’t.  It’s his journey and his grace, his treaure,  to discover.

It’s a funny thing how a painting can have layers of meaning beneath a seemingly bright and cheerful surface.  There are hints of these layers in this painting.  It has deep and dramatic textures and there is a certain roughness and darkness  in the linework that belies its optimistic surface.  As though that Red Tree had seen darker times before it felt the warmth of this moment.  But that is something we may never know…

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