Visiting Centerfest in Durham this year was an awakening. Stopping through briefly for a work break from NC TGIF planning of the gluten-free fair was a great idea. First, it was huge! It was bigger than I have ever remembered, and the quality of art was magnificent. According to the Centerfest website, more than 130 artists came from across the country, and it was a visual feast.
Other cool pieces were Darius Quarles’ acrylic soul and cultural scenes, Sally Anger’s bold individualist paintings, Jenn Hales’ wistful romantic work, and Brian Miller’s photorealistic landscapes and pieces that were just unbelievable.
Also I got by the Miro exhibit at Nasher Museum briefly. I won’t pretend to be a lover of abstract painting. But I was surprised at how understandable it was by the time I left. A blue dot for sky, a red dot for land, stars, birds and figures; and mostly reclaimed object sculpture, which is a commentary of itself. He appreciated women, certainly. And tears. There were tears in almost every painting and sculpture. Sometimes it was about sadness, but mostly it seemed to be a commentary on humanity, the human, or even feminine condition. Wombs were either a tear superimposed over patinated bronze, or barren and hollowed out completely in the shape of a tear. One wonders just how deeply the regime affected the population, as extreme stress and deprivation would undoubtedly affect normal childbirth and fertility in both sexes. Well-being would be an afterthought to mere survival. He was influenced by Picasso, but the tears and some compositions reminded me more of Dali. The repression of a dictatorial regime and its demoralizing work on a stalwart society was one theme spanning his work. The ‘monstrous’ figures and paintings symbolizing the rapacious political machine of the day were not imbued with tears. They were barbaric animalized caricatures only partially in human form, apparently showing their divorce from all human perception, emotion, and sense of fellowman’s necessity…. It was all very interesting.”Phantasmagoric”.
He looked to produce ‘soundless music’, or what music would look like. He searched for an immobile object, which would symbolize (the possibility of?) infinite movement. The curators did an excellent job of presenting with comments. For a more traditional art lover, this was quite educational. My favorite, however was the whimsical sculpture outside the exhibit, which simply made me smile. http://nasher.duke.edu/miro/
After so much visual inspiration, it makes one ready to try some new things. It is amazing how just being in a different environment can stimulate a completely different perspective on matters, ‘…having new eyes’, a la Marcel Proust . Read a few years ago in Iconoclast: A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently, about how both minor and major diversions from our normal habits can permanently alter our lives for the better, and I firmly believe in this. Like Chihuly, who became world-famous for his glass work art after 2 major accidents…one left him blind in one eye, and the other damaged his shoulder. After not being able to blow glass, he hired others to do it, and ‘once he stepped back, he liked the view’. Anyone else may have given up, thinking they could no longer work as a visual artist. But no. Life’s happenings are meant to give us a different perspective. Would he have ever stepped back had those things not happened? Who knows? http://museumofglass.org/outdoor-art/chihuly-bridge-of-glass