Defying Ordinary to Open September 5
Art Space Vincennes LLC presents to you an exhibition called Defying Ordinary, Paintings by Jaye Schlesinger. The show opens this coming Friday September 5 during the First Friday Art Walk in downtown Vincennes. About 30 businesses will be joining four art galleries, each of which will have opening receptions, by displaying artwork in their windows. The reception at Art Space for Schlesinger is scheduled for a 5 – 8. If you can’t make the opening, ASV will be open at noon that day, but you will miss the champagne reception after 5! In an accompanying book regarding her painting, which is for sale at $28.00, I provide a brief introduction to give the viewer some context in which to view these works–there is much more to enjoy than the fact that these look so photographic! The title of the show is a clue.
Noise of Silence
In his book Creative Authenticity, Ian Roberts states emphatically that subject
matter in painting is not of primary importance. It is a starting point, he says,
that offers a structure upon which to build something that touches the soul,
We often expect in our contemporary society to be jolted by beauty. What may
affect us as one of those electrical experiences can be as superficial or sensational
as a TV commercial. We are bombarded with sensationalism, to the point
that it has become a constant visual and audial noise. The corporate world is
responsible for this sensual clutter of empty messages, because its number
one goal is that of making money. This happens at a great spiritual cost to us all
and to our culture. We have created a world where human life is devalued, the
earth’s resources are being depleted and the future of our children is neglected.
Roberts writes that occasionally true beauty does stop us in our tracks, allowing
us to unexpectedly feel genuine awe in an encounter with something more
substantial. More often, however, beauty is realized when we deliberately stop,
ignoring the chatter of our lives, to seek a more essential space. This effort is
really finding something more authentic and basic within ourselves than what
the chatty exterior world has to offer.
This is truly the business of the arts. It’s the sincere artist who sets the stage
for the sincere art spectator to stop and to seek silence within themselves.
Roberts claims, “Beauty is silence”, and that there is a sense of risk when artist
and viewer become vulnerable to this place within us, because creativity always
ventures toward the unknown. For artists, this involves the rhythm of work and
craft, stopping to take notice of things, finding a groove or mental work zone
for the creation and destruction that leads to beauty. Those who truly appreciate
art interact with it through a similar mental zone of viewing. In both cases,
the artist and the spectator reach a greater state of awareness. Thus they defy
the ordinary, and by doing so, reach a deeper and richer meaning or experience.
In the current show, Defying Ordinary, artist Jaye Schlesinger takes her search
for beauty to heart. While deliberately using objects that we normally discard or
consume as her subjects in painting, her works become something beyond the
objects through the use of them. They are first of all, paintings. We are aware of
the paint, its buttery opaqueness or glassy translucence, depending on the pigment,
the film it forms on the surface, either canvas or panel, and its oily richness
of color. We get the feeling that these objects had to be painted because
they feel so unusually right and beautiful as paintings. Through Schlesinger’s
rigorous powers of observation, high standards of craftsmanship and carefully
considered compositional choices, these objects become structures that invite
us to reconsider what we think we already know.
Roberts points out that the ancient Greek word for beauty was kallon, the root
of today’s word for good. The word good today also has moral implications.
Therein lies one value of art for both the artist and the viewer. To make or to experience
something beautiful implies delving within ourselves to enable the experience
of beauty (or goodness) to come forth. Art, then, can be a way to gain
appreciation for our daily lives and to realize that there is something underlying
that is greater than we are. Years of discipline, of careful visual consideration,
and of searching for meaning have allowed Schlesinger to discover and share
beauty. And to her credit, this artist continues the search.