Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Reframing the Past

This summer I was one of 13 artists participating in a group show entitled Faces and Figures at the Artisan Enterprise Center in Covington, Kentucky. This was the first exhibit I had been a part of in over twenty years, so I was pretty excited. But I have also not really produced any significant painting or drawing since the late 80's, so it was a selection of those pieces created in the midst of my healing crisis that were taken out of storage, put behind glass and given a public viewing.

The process of dragging these old remnants of my inner struggles into the light understandably offered me the opportunity to revisit those experiences from the present perspective. This allowed me a brief period of glowing appreciation of how far I've come and how much happier, healthier and more whole I am than I was as the clinically depressed art student, who dressed in black and smoked too much. Deeper introspection revealed that most of the shadows I had carefully stored away had left some residue behind. Those remains no longer run my life, but it was good to have them brought to my attention. It took a few weeks of work to clear away what I could.

Choosing frames for the art was easy - cheap and black. The process of doing so led me to thinking of how I was reframing those old outpourings of my soul, and then putting them on display. This is not such a bad thing to do. A little self-disclosure is a good means of reminding us who we are and where we come from.

The framed pieces are back in my basement again, awaiting their next outing – or perhaps a collector of expressionist art? They have served to remind me of how my past inhabits my present and to inspire me to create some new works of art that I can look back on in the future to remind me of my journey.

1 comment:

Cliff Q said...

The glory and the problem with creating pictures is that, unlike performance-centered art, they don't go away. Pictures can be like emotional bugs caught in amber. But remember, memory is flawed, and the story we tell about them now is colored by all those years between the doing of them, and the rediscovery. Best solution: make some new art right away, and then store it away as raw material for future epiphanies.