Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What is an art installation?

I am working this week with two other Cortes Island artists to create an art installation in the Old School House Gallery. The show is titled "The bottom of the Garden" and is a presentation of a new set of oracle cards that I have been painting for the past four years: a Faery Tarot Card deck. As we have been working together I have been noticing the interesting way in which an art installation comes together. The materials and art pieces find their way of being together mostly by not finding their way--over and over again. It seems each version must be taken to its full expression, and then comes the discovery that the space or selection or resulting impression is not right and so the entire construction must be reconfigured into a new arrangement.

It seems to me that much of art is like this. We discover what works only by discovering what does not work. And finally at some moment all the elements click, and the meaning of the art fits the shape created for it, like a well-made pair of shoes fits our way of walking.

The creating of my shamanic paintings and frame drums is like this. I feel my way toward the new work mostly by seeing what is momentarily not working. I have learned not to control or limit the versions that want trying, but instead to surrender to all the forms that ask to be seen. I am beginning to understand that the only path to power is surrender, even though this initially seems to make little sense. If I try and control the progress or the outcome of my artistic or spiritual path, I am only holding on to what I already know. Only when I truly surrender what I already know will the next learning have a place to grow and live in my art, and in my life with spirit.