HA! I knew that title would make you keep reading. Ever since that question was asked of President Clinton, it has become a lexicon of our English language. Besides a reference to underwear however, the additional dictionary definitions of these words can be applied to several different aspects of how we lead our lives. The past three days have highlighted a few of these instances so indulge my momentary dissection.
Instance number one was my Friday stop at Anderson Creative Gallery to see the two current shows, Kevin Anderson’s personal work “Personal Affects” and the portraits of Heather Bullach, “Lineage: Women of Culture”. The connection to my introductory question did not happen until after my own opening show event later that night. In observing the behavior of others, I then noticed it in myself. Some people are brief and others box. A “briefer” if you will, is one who comes into a show, glances around, makes a circular pass stopping only on occasion if something perhaps catches their eye, and then moves to the center of the room or venue to talk. Their visit may be long in duration, but their attention to the work is brief. Such was my behavior in the main room of Anderson’s show. I had limited time, wanted to see the new (and fabulous) floor as well as the shirts and catch an overview of what was on display knowing I would return when more time was on my side. With my own show hours away, I had yet to decide between pants and tights so we all have priorities.
A “boxer” is one who almost does the box step in front of each piece as they work their way around the room…line dancing if you will. The box step begins with the initial position in front of a piece. Then a step back occurs to get more of an overview or the “bigger picture”, then two steps forward to peer at details. A return to the initial position occurs before one leans to the side and perhaps steps forward again (age related) to read the tag. Once again, one returns to the initial position before taking a side step or a turn and step to position them in front of the next piece. This routine is repeated sometimes alone and sometimes as a pair or in a group until an initial pass has been made around the room. Subsequently, the boxer will then decide which dance partners rate a second round and will criss-cross the room to make a re-acquaintance. Such was my routine at the Bullach show. With a limited number of works to view, I could devote a bit more time. Quickie review note here….her sepia toned oils are stunning.
A second way of looking at the boxer versus briefs concept is in how we live our lives. Our time on earth is all too brief, so how much can we cram into that short span and what type of boxes are we using? Because I process much of my emotions through paintings, while listening to the stories about my friend Gary at his funeral yesterday, paintings were forming in my mind, paintings based on boxes. Do you tend to hold on to a lot of “stuff” and keep it near even though it is unnecessary? Then perhaps your life is filled with big brown cardboard storage boxes. Do you tend to keep things inside and hidden away from others? Then you storage unit could hold lots of black boxes, ones like on airplanes (which are not really black), that keep all your information private only to be discovered and needed in the event of an emergency. Do you like things orderly and neat, moving along from project to job to duty so things stay balanced? Then your rooms may hold neatly marked storage bins, the clear kind so you know what to expect and where things are but they don’t clutter up your life. Or maybe you are like Gary and many of the people who I like to surround myself with, those who like to have fun, follow their dreams, know the power of a good prank, test limits and never back down from a challenge, give everything a try at least once, but respect the rules and those who make them. Their boxes are like presents, each one wrapped up in a different way with colorful bows and lots of inner tissue to protect what could lie underneath. Never stacked neatly and often intermingled with file boxes that are missing lids, crates and empties ready for any occasion, our storage units can take on your boxes if needs be just as much as we are likely (and willing) to hand you a wrapped package holding some undiscovered gift.
I promise not to ask any of you that personal question if I happen to see you at a show. I don’t really want to get smacked in the face. As you go through your days and weeks and years however, just think about how many times you interact with boxes. Yeah, the wheel was a great invention, but how much has the box really changed over time either? All of life’s brief moments are contained within them somehow or another before we ourselves commit our body to one after our soul has relocated to a better storage unit. So friends, grab big handfuls of life and cram them into whatever places you can find, sorting through it all later won’t be your problem. Oh…and use lots and lots of wrapping paper and bows!