Keirartworks's Blog

hmmm. hmmm? Observations, actions and connection points through art.


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Colour Pages #4: Red like Joan

I hold Red in my mind and thoughts rise like bubbles. They’re not what I expect.

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This decision is rooted in fear.

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I’m stuck in Repeat.

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I’m bored.

Confined.  categorized, manipulated, abused, constricted, driven, exhausted, worried, overstressed, coping.

Aren’t we all to some extent.  And isn’t this an essential part of the story.

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Then another thought rises (after a Mozart Requiem rehearsal):

Music changes everything.

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I offer this idea in honour of Joan Watson, master of the french horn and incredible human, who calls to us all from the far-off place where we can be anything and anyone we choose to be.  I was so privileged to meet and know her.

The horn solo at the end of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite is red. Red like freedom.

It will take an hour, so give yourself the time to listen to the entire piece.  Close your eyes and follow the journey until the end.  I weep without restraint, every time.  

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Red is alive like fire, compelling and warm and dangerous.

It’s intense like passion and its right use requires skill and discernment, its expert use true maturity.

I offer that without Red we would have no change, no challenge.

Stillness in fire, thoughts like a river that moves both swift and slow

Without the red that changes everything, without challenge, life fades into monotone.

Joan, such an inspiration to so many, was not beige or grey.

Joan was, and is still, Red.


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In Christmas

It’s the 18th of December, one week before Christmas day.  I’ve rehearsed and planned and delivered and engaged, I’ve painted and written and talked and sang and posted, I’ve cooked and sorted and laundered and cared-for and now all of a sudden on the eve of my first day off in what feels like centuries I’m hearing the call that maybe only dogs can hear, that no other human around me seems to acknowledge but nevertheless has got my full attention in this moment…

…. stop.

Not sure why this image. Something to do with Christmas I think.

This feels correct to the moment just previous to the moment I turned off my Christmas engines.

Basil Johnson once said to me, “Simple, and good – that’s all you need.”  We’d been talking about art, and what makes it resonate with human culture in the short, medium and long term.  As I remember, I’d been talkative and keen then – about socioeconomic indicators of health and growth, artists in the workplace and some utopian ideas around the political value of the arts as a generator of individual authenticity.  In 2004 I was Cultural Capitals Coordinator for my town of 22,000, doing my best to imagine and then somehow impossibly manifest a bridge between national and local, micrososm and macrocosm, embracing all issues visible and audible under the sun. I’d been given my rein, was impossibly curious, – a single artist-mom on the eve of a lifelong marriage that would only last a decade. I was provocative, insistent and intense, flailing.

“What kind of painting do you do?”, he asked, in a pause I’d left open.

again, no articulate explanation for this choice

My answer was long and exhausting.  He listened and gave me two words in exchange.

I heard them enough through all that noise in my head to swallow them whole and keep them alive in my belly.  They sing to me now.

 

I love these ladies with all my heart. This was a gig we played at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery six days ago.

I love these ladies with all my heart. This was a gig we played at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery six days ago.

The planet, the politics, the migrations of people and animals; conviction, passion, intensity, art and music; friendship, hurt, joy and the passage of time….  our response can be simple.  And good.

It’s a choice, to live and work that way.

 

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I choose therefore to fill my tomorrow with simple rituals.  Instead of a phone, a computer, a list of errands, I will make a breakfast, a burning, a giving-away, a silence.  I will listen to what lies under all the Christmas noise.

This is good.  Thanks, Basil.  I can feel you smiling.


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Shock Value

There are few things that turn me off more than cheap thrill seekers or sensationalists.  I could not be less interested than I am in watching a horror film just to feel my hackles rise.  For me this is like wanting to lie down on a bed of sharpened nails just to remind myself that I have blood that flows and a heart that beats.

Do people forget these things?  Are they bored?  Is that why people watch the news, even though it’s been pre-filtered to include only horrific, disempowering stories (or interpretations of same), designed to up the public fear frequency? We all know this by now, surely.

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I think we watch TV and network news, and get hooked into facebook & reddit and other more horrific ‘stream of negative community consciousness’ sites because it feels perfectly safe.  We can turn it off any time, after all.  It’s just crazy people posting weird stuff. Facebook is the tamest of all – we each have communities of like-minded people we can friend and then unfriend if they post something offensive to our value systems.  Republicans do not share daily space with Democrats, white Supremacists with Idle No More activists,  Nascar fans with Greenpeace supporters, etc.

Pretty safe, thanks to the facebook police, too (which is us).

reference for new pieces - mirror work

reference for new pieces – mirror work

We choose what we want, and don’t want to see.  This defines our system of values.  I value positive interaction and creativity more than acts of cruelty – so I choose NOT to go to sites where videos of cats being ripped apart while still alive get millions of viewers.  Over time I can actually convince myself that those sites don’t exist, since they don’t in my world.

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Over time, if I continue this way, I can make my world fairly comfortable.  I might watch news or dip into current events on facebook, and see what’s spiking on any given day, but there are no serious shake-ups beyond the ever-growing rates of anxiety and fear and disempowerment we all share:  elections are a facade, democracy a sham, our Country has been sold to China by a crook, we have systemic health, education and socio-economic meltdowns ahead of us and are well past the tipping point with climate change.

If you put a frog in a bucket of cold water that is heated slowly to the boiling point, the frog will stay there until it dies.

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If, however, you put the frog into a bucket of boiling water, it will jump out immediately.

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I had an intense and deeply personal experience yesterday that I was not expecting at all.  It hurt me and stunned me on every level.

I jumped out of the bucket.  Because I jumped out of the bucket I know that there was one, and why I was put there in the first place.  Because I’m not there I know what my next project is.

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Frog-me.  Alive and kicking.