the act of vision

The human gaze is not the closed, fixed view of a camera but is creative and constructive. Both the gaze that sees and the object that is seen construct themselves simultaneously in the one act of vision.

~ John O’Donohue, “Beauty”

Right now the photo above shows a piece of wet cloth on the hill of my driveway. Thanks for fall: no visitors; good weather. Outdoor art time.

When the fabric is mostly dry, I drape it over my wall:

Once dry, I take it inside.

It’s still fabric. Dyed fabric. How I translate this material that I’ve manipulated in one way already into something more: that is the quest. I look for what adds up, intrigues even. I look for the shift into where it starts to pick up. To move. To take me towards that indefinable sense of “my art”.

I was just reading Sebastion Smee’s book: “The Art of Rivalry”. In it he portrays the adversity and animosity that Manet’s art met with in the 1800’s – where the viewers questioned his art. To them it looked unfinished. A few decades later, his work was completely accepted, and Matisse was then mocked for his outrageous color and childish marks. Their vision was ahead of their time. It took time for viewers to create/to see those amazing artists had created.

I love reading about that, the pushing of boundaries. And the faith in one’s own sight. The interaction between the one who creates and offers pieces for others to see, and the viewers who create with their own gaze.

Each time I launch into a new direction, I am feeling my way along. In this project, I want ambiguity. I want the cloth to maintain its fabric self – to perhaps look like “only silk” at first glance. And then, I want it to go further, to move into something comprehended otherwise. I want to see if I can ride further out on that edge where it’s not all said and done, where the viewer might not “get it” at first. I want the piece to read in the way that pushes that edge of understanding, asks more of the audience, more of me, of what I call “my art.”

To reiterate O’Donohue: the human gaze… is creative.