Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sniffing out the possibilities

Last night we attended another event as part of the Art of Collecting Art series put on by our local gallery. On this visit we were introduced to two collections -- the wife's collection of artist books, and the husband's collection of theatrical memorabilia -- while enjoying a third: the art they collect together as a couple.

It was all quite inspiring -- particularly the artist books (see links here and here), which are SO amazingly inventive -- and it made me feel that there is another potential dimension to my work that has so far remained largely unexplored; some other way to combine words and images that involves literal layers; things cut and stacked to create a depth of meaning that somehow further enhances the already rich intersection of language and art; a further paring down of words that will reduce them to their essence, so that they become a kind of spice for this ongoing feast of images.

But then, of course, another voice kicks in and sneers at me for thinking about embarking on something new when I haven't yet finished my current project, and reminds me that I haven't the patience or knowledge to embark on something so incredibly elaborate. "Who ARE you?" I want to yell back at that voice, "and why are you such a party pooper?"

We are, like these fabulous works of art, wonderfully layered and complex beings, full of ideas and restraints, fears and longings, steps forward and steps back -- and somehow it's that mix that makes it both so difficult and so satisfying to stay on the spiritual path. The more we listen -- and come to understand -- the promptings of self, and hope, of fear, and Spirit, the more each step on the path begins to carry an awareness of the possibility of wonder: what worlds might open up if I move THIS way? What depths of exploration might emerge if I peer down THERE? And what might I lose forever if I agree that those things could be true?

There are gates and possibilities everywhere, and sometimes dogs on the other side. Will they be friendly? Will I be able to back out without losing my shirt if they are not? Sometimes it's okay just to notice, and to wait; to be aware without leaping in; to take time to sniff around at the possibilities without running off to the art store and investing in a plethora of new materials. In art, and in spiritual matters -- as in war -- discretion is often the better part of valor.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, you too? I adore handmade books. I have books and books about handmade books. But, like poetry, I'm an observer not a participant in this art form. But you, YOU should just do it! (Ha! Easy for me to say, eh?)