After the horrible previous six months, I knew that June would mark a turning of a corner, but for how much I was not prepared.
From being in a creative desert, where I was, fortunately, functional enough to start to put some things in place for the second half of the year, to an absolute flood!
This opening of the virtual creative floodgates occurred at a 3-week creative residency at Poatina in Tasmania. The support of the community there, the facilities, the materials, the headspace all come together to unlock that metaphorical door. I cannot express how good this place is!
Now, I have multiple works in process, group shows coming out of my ears, a solo show at Gaffa Gallery in November, and about to head off on another residency back to my old favourite haunt of Fowlers Gap in far west NSW. Happy as!
So, how did that corner get turned? A key factor was immersing myself in a book called ‘Chasing Francis’ by author Ian Cron about a pastor’s pilgrimage looking for St Francis Of Assisi. Below are three passages that deeply resonated, speaking to me about expressing: social justice and environmental issues, and beauty in this world.
[paraphrase] “When we see something beautiful, we unconsciously sense Someone standing behind the beautiful, Someone, who is its source, and we are moved.
There is a distinct relationship between beauty and the heart’s search for God.
As a society, all of us are meaning seekers. We approach every painting, novel, film, symphony or ballet unconsciously hoping it will move us one step closer to the big ‘why am I here?’ Living is a postmodern world we are faced with a monster dilemma. Hearts long to find ultimate meaning, while at the same time our critical minds have been conditioned to believe it does not exist. We are homesick but have no home. So we turn to the arts and aesthetics to satisfy our thirst for the Absolute. …Art or beauty is not the destination; it is a signpost pointing toward our destination.”
I want to be this signpost.
CS Lewis – Weight of Glory
“Books or music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing… For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited…. My hope is that through our future encounters with music and the arts, we will discover this ‘heavenly country’ we have not yet visited but long to find.”
John Paul II’s Letter to the Artists
“The Church needs art ... In order to communicate the message entrusted to her by Christ, the Church needs art. Art must make perceptible, and as far as possible attractive, the world of the spirit, of the invisible, of God. It must therefore translate into meaningful terms that which is in itself ineffable. Art has a unique capacity to take one or other facet of the message and translate it into colours, shapes and sounds which nourish the intuition of those who look or listen. It does so without emptying the message itself of its transcendent value and its aura of mystery...
... In Christ, God has reconciled the world to himself. All believers are called to bear witness to this; but it is up to you, men and women who have given your lives to art, to declare with all the wealth of your ingenuity that in Christ the world is redeemed: the human person is redeemed, the human body is redeemed, and the whole creation which, according to Saint Paul, “awaits impatiently the revelation of the children of God” (Rom 8:19), is redeemed... This is your task. Humanity in every age, and even today, looks to works of art to shed light upon its path and its destiny....
... Beauty is a key to the mystery and a call to transcendence. It is an invitation to savour life and to dream of the future...
...Artists of the world, may your many different paths all lead to that infinite Ocean of beauty where wonder becomes awe, exhilaration, unspeakable joy.”