Enter Into Joy

Friday, October 29, 2010

Strings Attached

Art & Commerce. Since the introduction of money, the uneasy alliance between the moneyed in search of glory and the artist in search of sponsorship in order to complete their vision has existed. What to sponsor, the immaculate and divine Sistine Chapel roof or the outlandish statuary on the Pont Alexandre 3 bridge in Paris. To the patron, which will bring me the most prestige and glory? To the artist, how am I going to pay the rent in this hovel I am living in? Although to be fair neither Michelangelo or Joseph Cassien-Bernard and Gaston Cousin (the designers of the bridge) were living in hovels at the time. But nevertheless, the search for patrons has been an ongoing necessity, and sometimes setbacks in this search, along with others, can be a spur to greater creativity.  

As Beethoven’s encroaching deafness closed in, his compositions became more grandiose and magnificent. Steve Fossett kept pushing his adventurous expeditions until he disappeared on a flight and was never found. Chuck Close’s seizure and paralysis spurred him on to do major and larger works. There are a myriad examples of how adversity has spurred artists on to accelerate and expand their works and efforts. Nothing worthwhile comes easily and unlike legendary ad man George Lois, who believed there is nothing to be learned from setbacks, there is more to be learned from them than from untrammeled success.
– John Katz

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Make My Hands Respect the Things That You Have Made

I was walking . . . trying to figure out life . . . when I became aware of the acorns littering the path below my feet. It occurred to me that I had never actually seen one falling from the massive oaks that line the street.  Obviously, they do fall. There are dozens of them cracking under my feet. I had just never seen them in flight.   I suppose, then, that the dive to earth below was ordered to be surreptitious. 

Wait until the humans aren’t watching. They will think they somehow made it happen. They will think they know exactly when it is time to let go and start the free fall. But it is ours to know when to begin the clandestine journey, and each of us will take it, turning loose and searing through the sky just under the tree, cutting the path like a knife, throwing back our heads in uproarious laughter while the air parts like the sea to let us fly by.

It’s not that we don’t want them to enjoy such a ride, but the fact is they did not make us, and so they don’t quite understand us. Maybe they could try to imagine.

– Charme Robarts
Make My Hands Respect the Things That You Have Made is from Let me walk in beauty, by Chief Yellow Lark. This passage is one of the passages from God Makes the Rivers to Flow

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Art and Scale

History is full of evidence that big might not always be beautiful, but it is BIG, and therefore usually impressive to most people. Niagara Falls attracts more people than the stream at the bottom of your garden. People go on special trips to catch a glimpse of a whale, not so for Freddie your goldfish at home. The Great Wall of China can be seen from space, while your paltry Malibu mansion cannot. To a lesser extent the same holds true for art. Art does not have to be huge to be hugely magnificent, just take a look at Michelangelo’s David. But even in art the size rule does have an effect. Examples are the Sistine Chapel, St Peter's Basilica, Picasso's Guernica. Size in art makes the art unavoidable, impossible to ignore, and forces itself upon the viewer. You can easily walk by a perfect 24 inch high 4000 year old Egyptian wooden figure in the Menil Collection, but you cannot easily do the same at some of the huge Titian paintings at the Tate in London. This ability of large artworks to make it difficult for the viewer sidestep or gloss over its existence makes size an important element in meaningful communication between the artist and the audience.
– John Katz
The Great Wall of China

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why 29 Pieces?

Question: Why 29 Pieces of art (not 28, not 30)?

Answer: The 29 Pieces start with a phrase from St. Augustine (“If the very world should stop”) and end with a phrase from St. Therese of Lisieux (“Dying of love is what I hope for”). From the beginning to the end, there were 29 Pieces, and then it was finished. 

This is a question that I am asked frequently - why are there 29 Pieces? What is the significance of the number 29?

29 Pieces reflects the experience as it came to me – fully formed in a transporting combination of the words of historic figures, and my own visual and verbal responses. I read the texts, and they opened a portal to a sacred, artistic journey. In Piece #1, with the St. Augustine quote, I was asking myself, "If the very world should stop, is my spirit where I want it to be?" My answer to myself at that time, was that it was not. After the completion of Piece #29, inspired by the quote from St. Therese of Lisieux, "Dying of Love is what I hope for", I had my answer, it was complete, and I knew the destination that I would be heading for. I started two other models, but never finished them, as they soon felt superfluous.  

But there is an interesting preface to the appearance of the number 29 in my work. This was pointed out to me recently by my friend Will Richey, of Journeyman Ink. Will is a gifted writer, spoken word poet, performer, and teacher. Will noticed that in a newspaper story that I wrote and illustrated for the Dallas Morning News, the number 29 came up several times. 

The newspaper piece is titled One Bullet. It was published in August of 2003, and it chronicles the after-effects of a murder that occurred in our front yard on August 19, 2000. A young man was senselessly murdered during a robbery and attempted carjacking. The perpetrators were on video tape, 29 minutes after the killing, using the victim's credit cards to buy gas and junk food. There were 229 murders in Dallas that year. The young man who came to our door on the night of the murder, shouting that his best friend had been shot and was dying was 29 when the story came out in the Dallas Morning News.

I don't know if there is a connection. I do know that the senseless murder of a young man in my front yard changed everything for me. In doing the story, I made the conscious decision to allow myself to fully connect with every person I interviewed . . . the twin brother of the victim, the mother of the victim, the shooter, the shooter's mother, the friends who were with the victim that night, the fiancee of the victim, the father of the victim, and the homicide detective. When it was all said and done, I had heard and absorbed the infinite pain and chaotic cost of the loss of one life. I came out with a visceral understanding of the connectedness of all life, and the cost to all of us when one life is senselessly cut short.

— Karen Blessen

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Let it Shine

In deep meditation aspirants may see forms like snow or smoke. They may feel a strong wind blowing or a wave of heat. They may see within them more and more light, fireflies, lightning, sun, or moon 
 - Lord of Life; from the Shvetashvatara Upanishad.

The practice of passage meditation inspired the art of 29 Pieces. There are lots of ways to meditate – no one and only path. Passage meditation involves the slow and silent repetition, in the mind, of memorized inspirational passages from the world’s great religions, practiced for a half-hour every morning. It was developed by Eknath Easwarn, a prolific author and scholar who taught the first for-credit college course in meditation in the U.S. It’s fully explained on the website www.easwaran.org. For Easwaran, the purpose of meditation is to train the mind, to teach our thoughts to go where we tell them, by regularly and systematically training attention to focus inwardly. It’s not the same as visualization, drifting in reverie, or letting the mind wander in either a guided or unguided manner.

I've been practicing passage meditation for about five years. The benefits were almost immediately apparent - a noticeable decrease in anger, fear and greed, leading to more patience, sounder sleep, and improved relationships with others.

Piece #27 from 29 Pieces: Fireflies, lightning,
SUN, or moon
There is nothing mystical about meditation. More than thirty years ago, my father’s doctor prescribed meditation for lowering blood pressure. He used a biofeedback machine hooked to a pair of headsets to slow down his mind and body. An atheist can meditate and benefit from the effects. Spiritually-minded meditators can deepen their own faith. 

Piece #26 from 29 Pieces: Fireflies,
lightning, SUN, or moon (Less than a firefly,
aspiring to the moon)
The ultimate goal of most meditation practices is enlightenment - first seen perhaps as fireflies?  It's good there are secondary paybacks to meditation, because illumination takes decades of meditation and selfless behavior, maybe more than a lifetime. The true gift of the illumined mystics is that many of them wrote down, or told others, what they learned and saw. One of the goals of 29 Pieces is to artistically represent these visions in a dramatic way to those who may be open to them. 
– Kelly Nash

Monday, October 18, 2010

What Beethoven and Bill Gates Have In Common

This is a great video courtesy of You+Dallas, interviewing the Dean Jose Antonio Bowen of the SMU Meadows School of the Arts.

It is interesting because artists (and aren't we all?) do have an enormous desire to innovate.

We hear this narrative told a thousand different ways - "I was the kid who used every crayon in the box".

Right now there are so many tools to help artists innovate, and one of the most powerful tools is a simple website called Kickstarter.

At kickstarter anyone can post a project they want to do, and see if they can get it funded. People pledge various levels of money to support the project, and the project is either 100% funded or everyone gets their money back.

What a wonderful way to measure whether people care enough about your ideas to see that they happen. It is honest, transparent, and simple.

What would Beethoven be doing if he lived now?

Probably something like this:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

On Think TV: Karen Blessen

Pulitizer Prize winner Karen Blessen recently appeared on KERA's Art&Seek to discuss her nonprofit Today Marks The Beginning and its MasterPEACE program. Karen is the founder of 29 Pieces.

Friday, October 15, 2010

New Perspectives on Art

Detail from the underwater installation by artist Jason de Caires Taylor

Most excitingly, there will be an increasingly rich dialogue between the artist and the audience. Art is going to reach so many more people and will not be perceived as something “exotic” or marginalized – but rather as a normal mode of existence along with other pursuits. . . Ultimately, entirely new types of artists will emerge from all of this. Artists are, at heart, opportunity-seekers who transform the world around us. They give me tremendous enthusiasm.”
   Richard Koshalek, director of the Smithsonian Institutions’s Hirshorn Museum, from Smithsonian Magazine

That is one person's opinion about where art might be headed, albeit a person with some authority.

The other day I came across an article about a British sculptor who has constructed many life size human figures out of concrete and submerged them off the coast of Mexico. His ultimate goal was that they would - over time - form the basis of a new coral reef. So here we have a person who, with vivid imagination, has created a new art form with multi purpose intentions, in the most unlikely of environments. It’s this kind of imagination that some artists can bring to light which it seems to me is entirely lacking in political leaders around the world. If they employed some of this imagination and replaced their greed and megalomania some of the seemingly intractable human dilemmas would disappear.

– John Katz

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lock stock and barrel

Originally written on October 10+11, 2010

There are some days when you just keep doing the work, work in faith, and keep taking steps forward.

Monday morning. A list of tasks ahead — none are my favorite things . . . Excel spreadsheets, a database, calls to the email service, calls to PayPal, computer conflicts to resolve. But this is all part of building something – the transcendant idea doesn’t manifest without the small tasks required to build something that works.

It isn’t just the art, it's the lists of supporters, the thank you letters, the printed materials, the meetings, the daily computer problems, the disagreements, the disappointments, the moments when you fall into blaming someone else, and the resolve to bear with it all. This is all part of the process. Dig into it all. Lock, stock and barrel.

“I beseech thee to grant me the grace to continue in thy presence.”

Yes, keep me in line, please – because I do – from time to time – still feel that urge to step away from you . . .
— Karen Blessen

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Please don't torture the poetry

Poet Billy Collins, former US Poet Laureate

American poet Billy Collins wants us to “waterski across the surface of a poem.” He complains that what we do instead is “tie the poem to a chair with a rope and torture a confession out of it. They begin beating it with a hose to find out what it really means.” *
His point, I think, is to free us to follow the poem down the many paths it might open, rather than getting mucked up in an attempt to find a singular meaning. The experience of poetry, or music or the sacred texts that inspired the art of the 29 Pieces project holds the possibility for exploding the notions that intellect and art, science and religion, imagination and reality are in opposition to each other. What if these things are aspects of each other?
– Charme Robarts
* Billy Collins, Introduction to Poetry

Monday, October 11, 2010

Do Schools Kill Creativity?

No matter what your political, religious, or socio-economic status is - if you aren't concerned about our country and our world - you need to peak your head out of whatever bubble you have been living in.

It is safe to say that we have profound and complicated problems to deal with, both as individuals and as a society, for the short and long term.

*insert your most important/pressing/scary problem here* and think about why it is a problem.

Now think about how you are going to solve it.

Keep thinking.

I'm still waiting.

Let me guess - no answer huh?

That is okay.

We don't have to have all the answers.

And most of the world's problems won't have quick,easy, and elegant solutions.

However, all of them will require a great deal of creativity - more creativity and daring then we have ever mustered in the past.

Therefore, the most valuable thing we can teach our children and practice for ourselves is how to be creative.

People confuse being creative with knowing how to draw or play an instrument. Creativity is learning how to look at the world in an unexpected way. It is knowing not just what an object or issue is, but also everything that got that object to be there and everything that the object might be.

Most importantly creativity is the ability to solve problems.

Clearly we have problems.

The question is will be able to muster the creativity to solve them.'

(P.S. if you do have a creative solution to an important problem please leave a comment and tell us!)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Radiant is the world soul

Israel/Tel Aviv sunset
Radiant Is The World Soul

Full of splendor and beauty,
Full of life,
Of souls hidden,
Of treasures of the holy spirit,
Of fountains of strength,
Of greatness and beauty.
Proudly I ascend
Toward the heights of the world soul
That gives life to the universe.
How majestic the vision – Come, enjoy,
Come, find peace,
Embrace delight,
Taste and see that God is good.
Why spend your substance on what does not nourish
And your labor on what cannot satisfy?
Listen to me, and you will enjoy what is good,
And find delight in what is truly precious.

Rabbi Kook (1865–1935) is considered the foremost of modern Jewish mystics and a man of God who dealt with the practical problems of his people in a turbulent time while striving constantly to infuse their struggle with spiritual purpose. The translation is by Ben Zion Bokser, Abraham Isaac Kook (New York: Paulist Press, 1978).

From God Makes The Rivers To Flow, Sacred literature of the world selected by Eknath Easwaran, founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation; third edition 2008, reprinted by permission of Nilgiri Press, P. O. Box 256, Tomales, Ca  94971, www.easwaran.org.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Social Network

The movie,  Social Network is a brilliant telling of the founding of Facebook, with some editorializing to be sure. But this does not take away from what director David Fincher has achieved here in this film.  It is a great insight into what the current minds of internet invention might be like, and the world they inhabit. Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg is terrific as the obsessed nerd who will do anything to ensure the survival of his baby. Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker, the flawed genius and founder of Napster, is also impressive. Andrew Garfield as the thwarted cofounder of Facebook is great as well. I feel there are parallels between this story and 29 pieces.  Zuckerberg had an obsessive concern in the founding of Facebook. His desire was to make the site cool and desirable to his audience without regard to money or notoriety.  In any enterprise, it is the passion of the founder, the person with the vision which drives the project. And it is that person's main job to assemble people around them, to inspire those people with that same passion, to be resolute in their selection and to make sure that they are the right people to help in the success of the project. 29 pieces could be a social network, not in the same sense as Facebook but in a more profound and meaningful way. It is our job to help Karen Blessen achieve that goal.
– John Katz


Thursday, October 7, 2010

I weave a silence


I weave a silence onto my lips.
I weave a silence into my mind.
I weave a silence within my heart.
I close my ears to distractions.
I close my eyes to attractions.
I close my heart to temptations.

Calm me, O Lord, as you stilled the storm.
Still me, O Lord, keep me from harm.
Let all tumult within me cease.
Enfold me, Lord, in your peace.

Today, I've had a rare afternoon of uninterrupted quiet time in the studio. It reminds me that it isn't always necessary to travel great lengths to take a much needed retreat. The rich sounds of silence are available to us - if we just stop and give attention.

This past June, my friend Vicki Millican and I did pack our bags and trek across Texas to Lebh Shomea (Listening Heart in Hebrew), a silent retreat center near Sarita. It took most of a day to drive there from Dallas. But it was well worth it. It is the closest thing to Eden that I’ve ever experienced. I intended to spend the time there strategizing about 29 Pieces . . . but then I took the place’s name to heart . . . and listened. And what I heard were the inspiring voices of four artists – Mark Twain, Cy Twombly, Joan Miro and Georgia O’Keefe. Here is a journal entry from one of the days at Lebh Shomea:

June 17, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010 in Lebh Shomea. Two people live here as hermits - and they co-author books: Kelly Nemeck and Marie Theresa Coombs.

I don't know that I've done the best here - I just let things flow organically - a novel, short walks, eucharist at the chapel, reading about Mark Twain, Cy Twombly, Joan Miro, Georgia O'Keefe, then writing "Reminders" - on things that this hot, sticky, quiet time reminded me of. Of where my mind wandered when there was quiet. It wandered back to Columbus. Isn't that strange? Where I've just been. It wandered to afternoons reading in the heat, in the bedroom upstairs, and coming down to the air conditioning and to be with Mom, to green jello salads and Cool Whip. To awkward silence over meals . . . to cold cuts and American cheese, and meals at Noon and 6 P.M. on the dot. Just like here. It wandered back to fear of the dark, to flitting fantasies about monsters under the bed or right outside the window.

This rarefied place . . .  turkey vultures, deer with budding antlers, lizards roam as quiet and freely as I do. What a rude awakening they are in for if they wander out of these borderlines.

I'm rarely alone . . . really alone . . . for several days at a time. No pets, no phone calls + long conversations, no squabbles.

I discovered I'm a bit of a stranger to myself. It's humbling. More insignificant, more frightened, more anonymous than I admit.

Reminder #1 at Lebh Shomea
What it feels like to have a day uninterrupted by emails and phone calls

Reminder #2 at Lebh Shomea
What it feels like to be uneasy around wild nature

Reminder #3 at Lebh Shomea
What it’s like to have bright blue or green jello fruit salad with cool whip for dessert

Reminder #4 at Lebh Shomea
What it’s like to be so immersed in a novel that I didn’t want to do anything else. And not a spiritual book, to boot . . . but The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Reminder #5 at Lebh Shomea
The rich feeling of immersing myself in a book about another artist’s work: Mark Twain, Cy Twombly, Joan Miro.

Reminder #6 at Lebh Shomea
When you take a delicious nap in the afternoon, you can stay up till midnight

Reminder #7 at Lebh Shomea
Ice in water on a very hot day is the best thing in the world

Reminder #8 at Lebh Shomea
Like in Big Bend . . . something about a summer afternoon, the hum of an air conditioner, slow time with a book, and it puts me in the company of Mom. I see her sitting in the living room, watching the afternoon shows, and I miss her. Sometimes, I almost forget what it was like to be with her, and I miss her and Dad so much.

Reminder #9 at Lebh Shomea
Walking into old libraries gives me an upset stomach.

Reminder #10 at Lebh Shomea
I can be frightfully slow . . . happy to sit . . . read . . . look around . . . have a lemonade . . . listen to music . . .
 – Karen Blessen

* The Ortha Nan Gaidheal is a nineteenth century collection of Scottish spoken word literature. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Remove the veil of ignorance?

I am a caseworker for the poor and the homeless. I know things now I once did not know. Oh of course I knew that people sleep under bridges and in camps just off the beaten paths of our town. Of course I knew that people struggle, that the economy is bad, and yes that people squander the resources they’ve received. But now I know what they look like and what their names are, and how long it has been since they weren’t worried that someone would steal their shoes while they sleep. Now I know that our agency really doesn’t have enough funds to help pay every electric bill that is over due, and somehow I know that even if we did, it wouldn’t be enough.
It’s too easy and too cheap to say there is always enough for the new stadium and the new shoes in my closet. It’s too preachy to say all this, and so I start thinking: it’s just too hard to look at things without the veil and I wish someone would tell me where they put the veil and I wonder who pulled it from it’s proper place and now I’ve found it and it’s still attached to something but it’s okay because I can grasp it in my hands hold it close to my face and if I just spin around and around and around and around it will encase me and I will be safe. Safe inside the cocoon, don’t bother me. 
– Charme Robarts

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Every particle of the world is a mirror.

29 Pieces, No. 9. Cleave the heart of a raindrop, a hundred pure oceans will pour forth.
A beautiful passage by 14th century Sufi poet Mahmud Shabestari, reminds me of amazing connections that reverberate through time, and the futility of analyzing art. The passage, from The Secret Rose Garden, as translated by Jonathan Star, goes like this:

“Every particle of the world is a mirror.
In every atom lies the blazing light of a thousand suns.
Look closely at a grain of sand, the seed of a thousand beings can be seen.
The foot of an ant is larger than an elephant;
in essence, a drop of water is no different than the Nile.
In the heart of a barley-corn lies the fruit of a hundred harvests;
within the pulp of a millet seed an entire universe can be found.
Though the inner chamber of the heart is small,
the Lord of both worlds gladly makes his home there.”

The passage is so visual, and it inspired three of the sculptures in 29 Pieces  (No. 9, 13 & 23). It's used in Passage Meditation, and I memorized it some time ago. A group of us discussed the passage and found surprising connections to things like particle physics and evolutionary biology. But we couldn’t decide what “the foot of an ant is larger than an elephant” meant.  Some time later, I learned more about Sufis, and realized that the passage is only an attempt to describe the experience of union with the Divine: “I am lost to myself and unconscious, and my attributes are annihilated. Today I am lost to all things, and all that remains is a forced expression.” It's the experience of the dervish. 

Susan Sontag said: “interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art.” Thinking about the meaning of art is bound to limit the experience of it. As John Katz put it in this blog, not long ago: “art IS sprituality manifest”. And going beyond understanding is one way I evolve. 
- Kelly Nash   

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The lesson in LSU 16 TENN 14

I was watching the end of the LSU-Tennessee football game and was reminded yet again of how thin the line is between success and defeat.

If you didn't catch the game it was one of the zaniest endings in recent college football memory.

LSU was trailing Tennessee by 4 at home. They had a 4th and long and converted. Then they achieved another quick first down. Now LSU had the ball 1st and goal on their two yard line. The Tennessee defense makes two great plays and keeps LSU out of the end zone. The clock is running down and you can tell LSU is confused and have no idea what the play is. You can feel the excitement rising on the Tennessee side, the coach is waving his hands, the players are standing up starting to cheer.

Finally, LSU snaps the ball with two seconds left, the quarterback misses the snap, the ball goes sailing ten yards, and Tennessee recovers the ball.


The Tennessee coach and the LSU coach shake hands at midfield.

State troopers trot onto the field to protect the Tennessee side.

Unruly LSU fans start booing loudly at their team and throwing things.

It was the upset of the year.

Until, in the midst of all of this commotion, a referee whistle sounds.

They are reviewing the play.

I remember thinking, what could someone upstairs had seen that we all had missed?

Clearly both teams, both coaches, the crowd, and the announcers had all thought the game was over. There were no flags on the play - what is going on?

The head official trots out back onto the field.

"Illegal participation, on the defense, 12 men on the field, half the distance to goal, replay 3rd down."

Tennessee had 13 men on the field instead of 11. Their team had to rush back onto the field to redo the play.

And of course, this time, LSU makes the touchdown and wins the game by 2 points - no time left on the clock.

The look of amazement on the LSU side and utter pain on the Tennessee side were case studies in life.

The truth of the matter is that even after LSU touchdown, it felt like they should have lost. It felt like Tennessee deserved to win. As a fan you were left looking for an explanation; left with a vague feeling that the better team had somehow been cheated.

However, the thing I love about sports is, as the great Rasheed Wallace once said, "Ball Don't Lie".

Tennessee violated the penalty, even if no one noticed and it didn't really have any influence on what should have been the final play. LSU did run it in for the touchdown. Game over. Winner. Loser. Ball don't lie.

How many moments in our lives are like the ending of this great football game?

How many times have we converted on a 4th and long, just to see it all slip away at the goal line? How many times have we thought we had the game won, just to make an extremely stupid mistake that makes us start all over?

And how many times have we felt we have lost, but then by some act of grace that has nothing to do with ourselves, do we get one more chance and are finally able to achieve our goal?

One of Karen's pieces is inspired by the quote "Sharp like a razor's edge is the path...difficult to transverse" from the Kathe Upanishad.

I am constantly amazed at the thinness of the path. How it can come down to one phone call, one handshake, one email, one facebook status. How we might fall off the path depending on whether the sky was overcast, on how social we felt like being at a party, how we interacted with a significant other the night before.

It is amazing how the smallest of things have the biggest impact between victory and defeat. And perhaps more importantly, how you can do the same exact thing and one day you are crazy and the next day you are a genius.

No one knows this better right now than both of the squads on LSU and Tennessee.

If The Very World Should Stop

(Originally written on Oct. 1, 2010) 
Oct.1, seven days until my mother’s birthday, eight months since she passed away.  Six months since I moved to this city, fourteen days since he heard the word “remission.” Two days and the verdict will be handed down, next Friday the deal will be closed.  Three years since the summer melt of the Arctic Sea was recorded as the greatest in history, and forever since we weren’t at war.
What if this very world should stop? This world, marked by days and years, by tide and moon and the rising of the sun, and the pages in a planner. What if this very world should stop and we are transported to that plane that has been the fascination of holy and not so holy people throughout the ages? Would time be swallowed up and with it caskets, and letting go, and radiation, and guilt, and what seems to us like the withering of Mother Earth? And will then the swords be beaten into ploughshares*?  Will time melt like the ice caps and sweep us into the ocean of shalom**? I think so. 
- Charme Robarts

*Swords into ploughshares is a reference to Isaiah 2:4
**The Hebrew meaning of shalom carries with it the idea of wholeness, completeness, things being as they were designed to be. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Art & Spirituality

Number 20. I see no imprint of my sins. In a moment, love has burned everything.
Art & Spirituality are inextricably linked throughout the ages. Spirituality, in the form of the church, has been one of the main patrons of art in modern history. In a way art IS spirituality manifest. Whatever it is that compels a person to create art, of any kind, some manner of spiritual impetus is not far below the surface. These two qualities intimately bound up are vibrantly displayed in 29 pieces.
- John Katz