Reflections on Redmond’s Book Signing
When we started our gallery three years ago we expressed an underlying purpose for Art Space Vincennes, that of exploring various forms of spiritual journey that can be found in the work of many of our artists. If you take a look at our gallery’s history, this thread becomes evident in many shows that we have sponsored. For many artists the notion of spiritual journey is present, but lies far below the surface. It can exist in many forms from the outright religious to the exceptionally personal. Whatever the manifestation, it is abundantly clear that artists address the fact that we all have our struggles through life.
Our perceptions change, sometimes opening up to broader points of view, sometimes closing to very narrow points of view. We also compartmentalize perceptions, seeing or hearing this, but blind and deaf to that. Memory and perception can never be whole and complete. They are different for each of us. Any one event is different in each participant’s mind. A painting or sculpture is different for each viewer. A book means different things to different readers. Yet, there is this notion of one shared reality, though no one can define exactly what that reality is. If we think of ourselves as part of a human family, love, empathy, compassion and tolerance can be the basis of our thoughts and actions. On the other hand fear of the “other” can cause us to be protective, political, and aggressive.
The art that we have brought to Art Space Vincennes is chosen for the life-affirming qualities that support the idea of shared reality. This can be seen clearly, if the viewer allows him- or her-self to open up to the work deeply. It is about perception. Belief is based on perception, which accounts for differences in beliefs. Our national campaign for the presidency has dangerously developed into a fear-based us-versus-them fight, in which both sides are attempting to make the opponent an undesirable “other”, protecting the “ourselves”. Emotion, bigotry, and fear tend to shape our judgments more than policy does. We have seen this divisiveness many times in the history of the world and it has resulted in pain, war, oppression, police states and disenfranchisement on both a macrocosmic and microcosmic scale. Our world, our country, our Knox County, our schools, our junior high classes, our three playmates, our brothers and sisters cannot escape this human condition without putting love before fear, before difference, and before greed.
We are not God. We all are trying to find our way through this life. Love and tolerance are sometimes very difficult to practice, because our perceptions and our beliefs that arise from them are different. J. Patrick Redmond’s book about sexual identity is about not only J. Patrick; it is about all of us, the ugly picture we sometimes paint as we struggle with our perceptions and beliefs, our indiscretions, our lack of empathy, our selfish and cruel satisfaction in causing pain to others. However, Redmond’s novel has already opened up discussion through the hope that it has offered. Gratitude and apologies have already reached Redmond; we find a new awareness in some who have discarded their bias and fears in favor of love and tolerance.