Ghosts of Chaco Canyon by Kelly Moore, oil on canvas, 2009
An artist’s work allows its viewer to see the inner life, beliefs, soul and vision of the artist who made it. It offers both artist and audience the opportunity to cross perceptual thresholds, to transcend previously-defined boundaries. Art is born in that in-between, liminal space.
Art provokes questions. It asks us to consider its ‘source’, and indeed about the nature of human existence. Is ‘source’ something that exists beyond our capacity to fully comprehend it, or is it simply the innate sense of wonder that we are all born with? Do past, present and future exist separately, layer upon layer laid out in linear fashion – or are they connected in an endless loop without limitation? Allowing the perception of time and existence as being circular allows us the freedom to accept the wondrous notion of infinite connection to that multi-dimensional multiverse. It helps us fully understand that after our own dormant winters, we will be given the gift of rebirth in spring – a cycle of endless re-creation.
“It is the job of artists to open doors and invite in prophesies, the unknown, the unfamiliar; it’s where their work comes from, although its arrival signals the beginning of the long disciplined process of making it their own,” says writer Rebecca Solnit. “Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark. That’s where the most important things come from, where you yourself came from, and where you will go.”
Art can be a reflection of, and a conduit to, an indefinable ‘something’ that is beyond words and beyond the work itself – something bigger and nameless and timeless. American artist/writer Kelly Moore sums up this sense of connectedness so beautifully in his clear, insightful poetics:
“10,000 Other Places
everyone you’ve ever known
this life or that life
before or after this
or maybe occurring simultaneously
on a distant planet
is already here
dreaming rite along with you…
because as you read this
you are in 10,000 other places
being many different things
for people you have known
all your life”
Shamans and physicists and artists and scientists – all are endlessly searching for the undiscovered spark that unites and connects, reveals and informs. For me, that spark ignites again and again in those brief moments when I feel the powerful surge of my own connection to a divine universe as only I perceive it. That is the moment when art begins.