Archive for July 1st, 2012

We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked throughout the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken away from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

–Viktor Frankl


I ran this quote from Viktor Frankl a couple of years back in a post about how a painting reminded me of Frankl’s work, as outlined in his classic book Man’s Search for Meaning.  In it, he wrote of his survival in  a Nazi concentration camp during World War II and how he noted that those who endured were those who found a purpose to live outside of themselves.  It could be as simple as needing to live to see their spouse once more.  It was a goal, a purpose that they could see in the future beyond the horror that engulfed them in the present.

Those who saw no purpose, no future, seldom survived.

That is as condensed a version of what I gleaned from Frankl’s work as I can give.  I know that it transformed my own view of life at a time in my own life when I seemed to exist without purpose, a time that now seems eons ago, thankfully.  Frankl’s work has continued to spring up in my thoughts over the decades, always inspiring me to look for purpose in my existence.

So when I recently  finished this 24″ by 30″ painting on canvas, I wasn’t surprised that his work again came to mind.  There is a sense of direction and purpose in this piece that fits with how I think of his work.  The Red Tree has a certain dignity and spirit, like an unquenchable fire, and the winding path goes past it into an unseen future.  The path is the purpose on which we move forward.  Yes, there are hardships and uncertainties that must be endured but there is a future if we follow this purpose.

I have titled this painting Viktor.  It both represents Frankl and his work as well as well as the work victor.  It is part of my upcoming show at the West End Gallery, In Rhythm, which opens July 20.

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