An artist can act as mediator, creating a portal through which the viewer can transport themselves to another place and time. Even though the moment captured may no longer exist, the artist has ensured that it will continue to exist. Our memories are like this, fragments of an experience, the sights, sounds and smells are all recorded and can be brought forward into the present, triggered by a word, a touch, a sound. These artistic portals can ignite memory, desire and nostalgia for other spaces in time, or generate emotional responses; curiosity to anxiety, ambivalence to wonder.
Image: (l to r) Ian Fry, John Janzen, Fatlind Melani and Martha Jablonski-Jones
Emmerson described the ability of art to make time from space, and space out of time. The artist creates an artwork out of the moment where something occurred, allowing it to re-exist outside of it’s origins. During the artistic process, there is a merging of past, present and future. This time compression happens as the artist's experience is captured and translated through the image, and then re-translated again by the viewer, interpreted through their own awareness and viscerally experienced through connection to memory; a shaft of light, a lingering scent, or the absence of something as meaningful as what remains. Clarity and ambiguity evoke thoughts and feelings, and thus begins a conversation between two intuitions; those of the artist and the viewer.
If art (and artist) has courage enough, it can exist in liminal space; the place between artist and viewer, strong enough to hold the intentions of the artist and the projections of the viewer. Expanding and integrating as two worlds collide, filled with curiosity and connection, air at the intersection is palpable, and inhaling fills you with the recognition of "ahhhh….this moment, this place."
Image: Ian Fry 'Over Cortez Island'
Curiously, both space and time are infinite intangibles, defined only by that which contains them. And yet these intangibles are the very things with which we construct our identities, rituals and traditions. We use them to organize and communicate knowledge, location and experience. Gaster coined the term topocosm (greek topo for place, and cosmos for world order) where the topocosm is the entirety of any given locality, seen holistically as an interconnected living organism. The topocosm includes, but is not defined by humanity, and represents the whole of which the present moment is only the current manifestation.
The creation of art is a particular function of human consciousness. Artistic creation can be seen as a breakthrough in human evolution, paradoxically, giving us the capacity to exist both in the past and the future. Memory is a marker of past space and time, and anticipation is memory projected into the future. Since the first cave paintings, art has provided this marker of space and time as the attempt to communicate a moment.
Image: John Janzen, 'Air Park Vista'
“We are individuals in time and space who are often gravely lost,
and then miraculously, in art, found.” Anne Lamott
Image: Ian Fry, 'Last Day of Winter'
The summer show at Artful : The Gallery is a curated collection of 8 eclectic local artists (Ian Fry, Dave Ingram, James O'Reilly, John Janzen, Martha Jablonski-Jones, Fatlind Melani, Kristina Campbell, Kathy Nash) each artfully communicating a moment in space and time using painting, photography, multimedia collage, bookmaking and experimental video.
Image: (l to r) Dave Ingram, Martha Jablonski-Jones, John Janzen, and Ian Fry