Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Captured Pain and Gentle Reminders

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending 'Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting' at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The exhibition was beautifully curated. The arrangement of work told a story, though each work was a world unto itself; undeniably strong enough to stand without any context. Frida Kahlo's paintings express pain beyond anything I've ever seen before. Emotionally, physically, spiritually, Kahlo's pain can be felt so deeply, it's as though her arm is reaching out of the canvas, gripping at your heart.

The strength of Frida's work reminded me of what painting can be. That magic is possible. That it's not enough to settle for how one's own work is successfully resolved at any given point in time. There is more; so much more to explore. Human experience is so deep and endless, so unique and individual. What makes the human condition an umbrella for us all to stand under is language. We all experience loss, pain, love, joy and sadness. We call these emotions by name, and when we do, we understand each other. We relate. What is unique is what each of these instances of experience feel like for us as individuals; associations made to our own histories, to our dreams, to our relationships, to our origins.

What I came away from that show with, was an enormous amount of humility balanced with pride. I'm so proud to be part of this tradition of painting. It is a tradition that can speak louder than spoken word, that transcends all boundaries. It can be so emotive, so honest. It can allow for that umbrella to blow away in the wind, leaving the truth free and clear to relate to on an absolutely individual level. That level that is beyond verbiage, beyond classification. The humility I feel is due to my commitment to this tradition, knowing that it is a lifelong journey of trying to capture my own honesty in a way that successfully radiates and penetrates truth to be reflected in others.

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