Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The blessing in ambiguity

I had a great deal of fun creating this image, but when it was done I was frustrated with it; felt it needed something more identifiable, more recognizable to give it definition. I tried overlaying various statues -- Christ, a Buddha, Kwan Yin -- but then it felt more like finger-pointing, a lecture. So in the end I let it stand.

I think I was dealing with a natural human compulsion to quantify, identify, contain, simplify... Flannery O'Connor once remarked that she had an aunt who thought a story had little to offer unless somebody got married or shot at the end of it -- another variation of this all-too-human temptation. But, as Eugene Peterson says, life seldom provides such definitive endings. Life is ambiguous; there are loose ends -- and it takes maturity to live with the ambiguity and the chaos, the absurdity and the untidiness. But if we refuse to live with it, we exclude something, and what we exclude may very well be absolutely essential to our growth and understanding.

This image doesn't make any pronouncements, offers no clear, identifiable subject. But perhaps what value it has lies in the invitation to you, the viewer, to make your own discoveries...

1 comment:

Maureen said...

The point you make is a good one. It's one reason I almost never read wall text when looking at art the first time.