“Painting is another way of keeping a diary. “ Picasso
“White Room: Complexities of Choice” had marked the end of this series. It was a fitting end. Often I don’t know when a series ends or even begins. It can only be felt.
A constant always was the light illuminating the emptiness, the nothingness. The light penetrated the barren room through the windows. Never were there any doors. Now there are and they are open. A choice must be made: which door to choose. Do I even have the courage to leave that room, which has long held me, and move freely into a blinding light?
These Innerscapes are part of my autobiography and were created from an inner need; I painted my prisons. Now the series has reached its conclusion.
My Innerscape series began as autobiographical but is completely relatable (I feel) to anyone if they possess the sensitivity; if they have introspection. They are an expression, a manifestation of an inner world. I’m not simply painting what I’m feeling. I'm painting what I'm living. What had begun as an autobiographical series developed into a more singular focus: light. More specifically how light penetrates, invades the open space; how light exists in relation to dark, its effect on the psyche and the spirit. Light is life. Light is hope. But light is also violence. It is that light paradox I strive to recreate.
What separates art from therapy? Such was the question a friend and I discussed recently. She posited that art that serves as a catharsis is not art but therapy, and the two can never merge. I disagree. But she’s a woman who thinks brilliantly at lightening speed while my brain plods along. So while I’m still fumbling for the right words she’s off on another smart topic. Lucky for me I have this blog!
Humans have emotions and feelings that cannot always be expressed. An artist (painter, sculptor, musician, writer, actor, etc.) more often than not creates with a bend to the emotions, which is why Plato despised art and thought it should be censored. The artist not only conveys their thoughts and feelings and experiences to the viewer, they bring the viewer in as participant to share in the surfeit of emotion. But the viewer/participant comes from a unique background with her own set of unique experiences. What she sees and feels might be different yet still relatable. Or, she might tremble at a work because it expresses feelings in a way she was unable to. In short, I believe art is therapeutic because it provides a catharsis. But that in no way devalues art, in fact it enhances it! Because it has now moved beyond the realm of mere decoration into something of meaning and power!
One only needs to visit many of the art movements of the 20th century specifically to see that art was a way of seeing, explaining, and feeling, a chaotic existence; it was a way to try to make sense of a senseless world. And that is art as problem solver, art as savior, art as hope, art as reflection, art as a mirror, art redefining. That is therapy.
Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts & insights & arguments, in the comment section below. I welcome all points of view. Let’s keep our discourse lively yet respectful.
“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
~ Edgar Degas
Artists are required to do and to see things differently and present them as such. Art requires independence of thought and a semi-consciousness of our creative decisions and the creative process. We must present something to the world that is new and different; a fresh perspective that is unique to our own worldview and experience. As artists we bare our soul. And each piece of work -- no matter how seemingly small and insignificant – contains fragments of us. Doing this requires openness, honesty, and courage.
Artists make and create first for ourselves. Yet always with the eye that our work will be seen and even judged, by outsiders and non-artists. This takes guts! Exposing one’s self is not for the faint. Maybe this is why artists don’t suffer criticism very well. It is not just a critique of our talent but of our innermost.
Art requires vision – the vision to present to the world something that might ordinarily be missed. How often do we become so focused on some sort of minutia that we cannot see anything else? We become oblivious to the much larger picture that extends far beyond our field of vision. Often we stand too close to the picture to see its entirety. We see in part but rarely whole. It is my aim to magnify that part to the point it becomes inescapable.