Meditation Near Exhibition

Crocuses-4-webCrocuses, April 2015, Grasslands National Park

A woman doesn’t live by studio alone, but in the last weeks of intense art production before an exhibition, you’d sometimes never know it. You began this process feeling like you might have found meaning, but by this stage any meaning that exists is in the completion. It’s only now you begin to think you might know how to do this art stuff. You also know that you couldn’t sustain the pace.

Many, many years ago, as a new art school graduate working an evening job as a gallery attendant, I met Alberta sculptor Katie Ohe when she brought in an entire exhibition of her welded and polished steel abstract sculptures for installation the next day. Her face was exhausted and exhilarated and slightly burnt, from too much arc and torch late at night to meet a deadline. I doubt I even spoke to her – I was young and and shy and nobody – but I’ve never forgotten that look. Maybe we all wear it sometimes. If we’re lucky.

Along with the memory of Katie Ohe, that evening gallery attendant job gave me something else that lasts to this day, the habit of trying to cram as much studio time in as possible then cramming everything else into the time left over. Making a living. Making a home. Making a life. In these last days of art production when I’m alone a lot, I sometimes wonder if my choice was the right one. But later, when I see the exhibition all hung and lit and glowing, I hope I’ll be sure.

And in the meantime, out there in the world, crocuses are growing. In the warm April air on remote hillsides in Grasslands National Park just a few kilometers from where I live, swaths of soft purple are tucked into the prairie. So a couple of days ago I turned the production flame down low for awhile and good friend and fellow artist Catherine Macaulay and I went to see them. A slow walk, a high hill, meandering on ridges, growth just beginning to feel like spring. And those small gentle cups, tucked away. Also glowing.

The exhibition I refer to is New Artists, New Work, at the Assiniboia Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan, opening April 24. I’ll be there for the reception. Please do say drop by and say hello!

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2 Responses to Meditation Near Exhibition

  1. stacy April 18, 2015 at 7:44 am #

    I’ve been very busy lately. Teaching preschool, getting ready for my first art fair and all of life’s other pulls.

    When the crocuses were blooming in my front yard a couple of weeks ago I walked past them for several days, hardly taking notice. One afternoon the light was shimmering so beautifully through the purple, orange and white petals that I finally stopped. I took pause. I realized they would only be here for a few more days if I was lucky and then they would be gone.

    When I don’t connect with the natural world for long periods of time – all the areas of my life suffer. So I stretched out on the sidewalk that afternoon and spent some time with the beautiful blooms (I took some pictures too…). It’s hard for me at times to remember that it’s just as important to take a break as it is to push myself a little harder when I’m in that work zone.

    Being with nature feeds my soul and creativity.

    • Laureen April 18, 2015 at 8:00 am #

      It’s so important to stop and look, isn’t it? To connect. To be. From whence all else comes, even though sometimes in our intensity we forget it.