“Intolerance and Materialism” Acrylic and Ink on Canvas, DS
Recently my art was exhibited in a public alternative space. It went mostly ignored until the last day of the show. When I was taking down the paintings and carrying them out to be packed for transport, someone brought out the next one for me. Someone insisted they take my picture in front of them. Four people grabbed my arm and attention and introduced themselves and asked if the art was for sale. They seemed to like it without really looking at what it was.
As an introvert in a hurry to meet someone a few kilometres away, I said to the first: “I can carry them.” To the second, who wanted me to pose here and there and not where I wanted to, I blurted: “I am in a rush.” The last group, I fear, saw that I was very non-artist-like. I said, nice to meet you, and quickly left, extricating myself from their kindly grip.
The display was installed to promote thinking and awakening to new ways to consider the Christmas story. The ideas visually presented were not heresy but they were alternative like imagining what Mary and Jesus would look like in today’s culture. I dreamed one night that angels had meetings to discuss how they might help us with our issues.
The everyday person, educated but not in art, has probably been to European galleries exhibiting traditional, historical paintings. The new, the avant-garde for them, is maybe Van Gogh or Picasso in extreme. Perhaps anything contemporary does not register on their consciousness as art. After all, as a non-musician uneducated in music appreciation, classical music has only appealed to me in the past decade. My rhythms flow in the era of disco and ballad. After all, I am a narrative painter.
We need more shows of art that is not for sale: art that can challenge our current ways of thinking and being in a changing world. Lately most shows that offer art, not-for-sale, are self-funded by the increasingly silenced artist. The arts used to be totally supported by the church. Patrons paid artists to paint for the church.
Art reflects life. The way a society supports the arts reveals its inner health and outer vibrancy. Perhaps we need venues for viewing and circles for discussion. I like that ad I think it is for Levi’s jeans where everyone of many cultures just dance together to the great music. Art is like that. Art for art sake, not sale.
“Art Makes Us” Vancouver Art Gallery