Sunday, January 27, 2008

Considering A Jar

I'm always interested in what can be learned from other arts.

The above is the work of Twin Cities potter Heather Wang. There are times when her work transcends in every sense of the word, and I particularly appreciate this piece of hers for its technical excellence, but also for its unique inner energy and aesthetics.

There are pieces of art in the world that can speak, and then there are those that can have complex conversations with you that last and linger with you.

For me, this is is a perfect example.

When I look at the brush strokes of this jar from different angles, there are the brush strokes, in and of themselves, without meaning or message. For me, however, like the classic Rorschach tests using ink blots, once I allow myself the imaginative liberty to connect these strokes to more familiar memories and dreams, I find it quite rewarding.

Do I see the old woman in the storms, the door of the castle opening, the Chinese junk on a quiet sea? The dogs being scolded, the descent of night?

To me, depending on the angle and the lighting, the setting and the time, there are dozens of tiny little stories like these, flickering on the surface and textures of this jar.

As an artist, to find a piece of art that can inspire other works of my own art is always a delight.

I hear the arguments of other artists and spectators. Does it matter what the creator intended? Does it matter that others might not see what you're seeing? Does it matter if not every piece the creator makes is as unique?

These questions are certainly interesting, but ultimately almost irrelevant.

We have what is before us, and that is that. Maybe I'm intrigued at this jar precisely because it was not created with the intention of being an 'immortal' work of art in the classic sense of the term, and yet, that artistic energy could not be repressed.

If you swing over to and contact Ms. Wang, you might find a similar piece, or you might not. But I think it's worth stopping by for a look.

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