becoming conscious

Posted by Daniela Elza on Jun 18 2010

Today I started reading The Life and Art of George Fertig which was launched yesterday at the Vancouver Public Library. This is the third book in the series of The Unheralded Artists of BC published by Mother Tongue Publishing.

It troubled again questions that haunt me: Who decides what art is worth displaying and keeping for our art memory? Why is it we do not see these artists in the Vancouver Art Gallery? Who is keeping this heritage alive? Who decides what art will be part of the conversation? What kind of conversation is it when only a few are included in it?

I would love it if the Vancouver Art Gallery got back to me with some answers. It is great to see the Emily Carr exhibit. Now, how about a room full of all the voices that were in conversation in the last century in BC. And would we not be amazed at the diversity. At the core the conversation may be similar, but how it shows up on the canvas, or in the stone, or in the clay, is going to be unique for each artist.

A quote from the book by Rufino Tamayo (Mexican artist):

“Can you believe that, to say that ours is the only path when the fundamental thing in art is freedom! In art, there are millions of paths-as many paths as there are artists.”

Gaston Bachelard talks about reverie as a place of repose and utter freedom.

This same idea translates directly into writing. Another way of joining the conversation and practicing one’s freedom. “Reflection is an act of becoming conscious,” says Carl Jung. For me becoming conscious is to be fully alive. A way of coming into one’s truth, authenticity, and freedom. (I know big word, bear with me. Or suggest a better one).

Have you caught yourself being conscious? What does it feel like to be conscious? Or are we sleep walking through habitual everydays? I surely catch myself sometimes. And if we are conscious we are more likely to get in touch with our sub-conscious. Which is not sub- in the sense of lesser or lower but in the sense of deeper, richer, more expansive.

How that reflection materializes is varied, a kind of testimony for the immaterial and the intangible inner world of the artist. Why not of each of us? Each one of us is an artist. We paint the canvases of our days. We decide how to mix the paint on the palette. What will you be displaying in the gallery of your life? And are you going to practice this freedom, which is yours and yours alone? A freedom that so much around us is trying to make us forget we have. Freedom is almost never given. It has to be claimed. Taken. Which is what I think art in all its forms does each day. It inspires an empowers.

Even if the dominant conversation is not capable of interpreting, handling, or recognizing what goes into certain artistic expressions (I understand some art is ahead of its time) would it not be a testimony of their understanding of the process if they include a multitude of voices? Different voices?
Or do we have to wrap everything in the pettiness of politics and ego?
So many questions.

In the meantime, enjoy these books that give a glimpse of the art scene that has been purposefully, or out of ignorance, ignored. It gives a glimpse into the machi.nation that blinds us to our own uniqueness, but at the same time seems to claim to know what is “normal.” And introduces us to people who resisted falling into that trap.
There are two more scheduled launches (Mona, what a beautiful thought to have one on Father’s Day):

  • Salt Spring – Book Launch Sunday June 20th, Father’s Day, 8 pm Lions’ Club
  • Gabriola Island – Book Launch, Friday, July 9th, 7-9 pm, Roxy Theatre

And if you go to the Burnaby Art Gallery before July 11th you will be able to view a two floor exhibit of George Feritg’s art, most of the pieces, if not all, on loan from private collections. Full of light, luminous. Too bad George Fertig could not be there for the opening.

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