Multiple Meanings

Love Thy Nature Web

While we were very busy Friday night at Art Space Vincennes for our March’s First Friday Art Walk, the weather was a bit cold, and there was ice on the ground that made it difficult for some of our regulars to come.  We are now open for the season, so weekday hours are 12-5 pm Tuesday – Friday and 10 – 2 on Saturdays. You will have a chance to see Pravin Sevak’s design work in a solo show Love Thy Nature, Design for Good Causes. The above image is just one example. It inspired the title for this show. Also showing are 15 painted wood reliefs by Andy Jendrzejewski.

Sevak’s posters are simple visual statements with incredible thought in design and content. Some of the images have been refined over many years. Eleven of them have won international recognition and have appeared in such publications as Graphis.  Don’t let their simplicity mislead you to thinking this work is easy! Let’s just consider the poster above, Love Thy Nature. At first we see two hearts one inside the other. Below that are the words, “Love Thy Nature”. They give the clue to a possible meaning, so we notice that one heart is green, like a leaf symbolizing nature. We have a statement here about respecting the earth, rather than continuing to trash it, ruining it with dirty water, carbon-based fuels and eliminating 90 percent of our plant species with genetic engineering, and the pollinating bees and butterflies with pesticides.  It could also mean enjoying the animal tracks in the snow or a rare sunny day in February.  Aha! But wait! That’s only meaning #1. What else can it mean?

The word Thy in the title harks back to the Biblical saying “Love thy neighbor…as thy self.”  It can refer to the nature of other people, to everyone’s inherent goodness, to each God-given life on earth, for what good they have in them.  It is a key to forgiveness, understanding and tolerance to all of us who struggle through our temporary journey on this earth, even given our differences! It is an application of another Biblical notion, “dust to dust, ashes to ashes,” which reminds me of the ancient Taoist philosophical notion that everything is made of the same matter, or to put it into scientific terms, the same chemicals. That is only meaning # 2.  What other meanings can it have?

We can’t forget that we must also love our selves for whom we are.  That is not always easy. This is different from being greedy and selfish or any other of the seven deadly sins.  We must be self-respecting, self tolerant and love our nature, nurture our nature, build our nature as a contributing human being in a way that does not hurt others. This is meaning number 3.  The poster refers to all these three senses.

If one poster has so much meaning, what is left to see in Sevak’s exhibition of 25 posters? That’s what Art Space Vincennes is offering for you to find out. There is plenty to meditate and wow about because of this world class design by Pravin Sevak.  Take advantage of the hours above or if you need to come at another time, call us for an appointment. I would be glad to open up for you or your party.  We are at 521 Main Street and our new sign marks the spot!

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