Today was supposed to be the opening of an exhibit of my work and Deb Cholewicki’s at The Shiawassee Arts Center. Instead of celebrating the completion of the work and getting it to the gallery safely and hung, I packed and tucked an entire body of work in boxes and stowed them till an unknown date in 2021.
I don’t think most people know how much of an artist’s brain gets occupied when working on a large body of work. In my case the thoughts of concept, engineering, scale, medium are a constant companion from booking a show till it’s up. My body keeps track of the calendar. Will I have time to complete/fire/frame the work? Do the individual pieces come together to tell a larger story? How do I find the line in telling that story in a way that makes a difference, but still makes something one might want to take home. I don’t want to live with my own work…I want to make space to make more.
It took me a while to wrap my head around the feelings of waiting another year to show the work. While finding place to store work safely and not lose track of pieces I got sadder and sadder. This may sound crazy, but I worry that when the work comes back out of the boxes it will no longer exude the energy I put into it, that it will somehow have gone dull. It felt like I was putting a blanket over a bird to shut it down. I also worry about whether relevance will hold with some of the work.
My take on the show was about current events, but heavily on climate change. I hoped to say something that might trigger thought or change, but now all of that has to sit in a box for a year…a very long time when we’re at a tipping point with climate.
I was sooo looking forward to seeing Deb’s work. We have not been able to easily share what we’re doing. What I have seen of her work is quite gorgeous and I don’t want to have to wait a year to see it with mine all in one place.
The above piece started out because I had read the there is a huge loss of lightening bugs, a trend I’ve noticed in past summers. They are canaries for pollution and climate change. In the end the piece became about hope. IF we act. IF we support others who act, IF we consume less, there is hope. I want to choose hope. We’re living in one-day-at-a-time times, but can also make one-choice-at-a-time to act in favor of future generations’ relationship with the planet.