Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A League of its Own

We have a team in our troop that does what I christened, a “crash and dash” which is a quick in and out visit to a meeting for the purposes of recruitment by dropping in unannounced, filling the limited time with info and splash, then dashing back out the door before anyone can really register what just happened. So far, after three years of this, it is working pretty well for our troop. Last night at the opening of a local art show, I did my own version of a C&D since I was on my way to a troop meeting, a rather ironic sequence of events.

The show is staged in the upper atrium area of a local State College, a center of education, which is ever so fitting for the tenor of this type of exhibition. The few moments I had to view the show was not really spent viewing the works, but observing the people viewing the works. I find those stories the most interesting. The show is not “professional” by any means, which probably explains why many of the “cool kids” in town don’t sit at this particular lunch table, a situation I find irritating at best and a subject for discussion some other time. This show is art at its core purpose, to educate, to share and in some cases, to entertain. It is a local show, by local artists who may be new to the game or have played for a very long time but still like to toss the paint around on Sundays. The gems are not just in the pieces, but in the people who delighted in them. Allow me to share a few of those moments….

A young couple was studying the signature of one painter, talking about how he wrote his name, deciding what type of brush he used, and questioning how a few marks were made in one area of foliage. I heard others discussing the placement of a signature and how it affected a piece. There was an older couple sharing a funny story about what inspired a painting. The people were laughing and talking about art and the moments that can be captured by those who take the time to preserve them on canvas. Further down the row were some people with noses almost pressed to the glass wondering about how a technique was done and a fingertip just grazed the surface to see if it was dimensional before realizing that glass prevents such exploration. There were other such interactions that took place in front of various pieces. In my few moments of lurking behind the other guests, it was good to see people treating art not as something to stand back from and “look at”, but something to step closer to and “discover”. Each piece has something to offer as far as educating the viewers. I know there will be those who scoff at some of the works for one reason or another, but do so quietly unless you have one on that wall too. Artists take a risk each time we show a piece in public, we are putting a bit of our heart and soul up on a wall for others to judge. Take time to look very closely at something you may not think is all that great and ask a few questions. Take the time to discover very faint pencil marks that indicate early stages of thought, look through layers and layers of collage to find the first piece put down, count how many different materials or media are used in one work….you see, sometimes it is not the big picture that makes a show, it is the little gems and joys found in small places that make the biggest impact.

For those of you with small children, this is a good venue to see art up close without the unwritten rules of gallery etiquette. “A league of its own” is in the right place for the right purpose and congratulations to those who continue to share a piece of themselves with the rest of the community regardless of playground politics.

1 comment:

  1. CAL needs to seriously analyze what it has to offer to the "cool kids" that's significantly different than what's already available to them in the arts community at large.