ART SHOW: “INTENT”
By Wilma Derksen
“White on White… with a touch of forgiveness”
Panic can do wonderful things. Research has shown that the last shot of adrenalin before a deadline can in fact be the force that pushes through all problems.
This year for our annual art show we wanted to follow the same path as the other years, but none of us could. We were all in different places.
My initial need, obsession and healing that I was finding in white had passed. My passion was still there - I will always love white - but somehow the mood wasn’t there.
The question became: Where am I now? What is my new obsession? And how do we find expression in the new? Panic!
Eventually – almost at the last minute, I realized that the reason I could no longer embrace the old was that my heart is now firmly and delightfully caught up in the new message of forgiveness.
Frankly, I’m obsessed with the message. I’m a little bit like the person who has just lost 30 pounds on a new diet and becomes quite a passionate, often offensive, evangelist about the diet.
Having spent about a year in intense thinking, researching, organizing and writing about forgiveness, I have come to the conclusion that we as a family survived our last thirty-year ordeal of the aftermath of murder is because of forgiveness.
So this year on top of my layer of white, words and more white, I have experimented by adding another layer of white and pewter. By adding pewter, I am visually exploring the subject of forgiveness with pewter representing the dark clouds of unforgiveness and negativity, while white and gold representing the hope and treasures found in forgiveness.
Last year, Dancing David, one of Cliff's sculptures disappeared from our show.
What a panic it caused. Beautiful David -- seemed to have just danced away.
There is only one way to deal with a loss - and that is to fill it with something new, something different, or a remodeled even grander image of the other.
A reincarnated Dancing David now stands right in the center stage of our annual art show now being held at the Edge Gallery Urban Art Centre on Main St. What a splendid sight - bright gold with a flowing silver robe. He is triumphant! Defiant! And dancing wildly!
As beautiful as he is, he isn't the only new attraction at our art show. The emergence of the jelly bean is probably even more astounding. Who would suspect that Cliff who has done such intricate, heart-breaking sculptures in the past would now be rolling out jelly beans! And why would he spend ours crafting and molding jelly beans? At first he didn't even know why himself. Tonight at 7:00 he will explain why!
Odia, whose art has also been about loss, grief and longing, has been busy with her lovely little daughter, a dream come true - a little miracle. She is into finger knitting now -- and in a state of wonder and awe! This is coming out in a series of tangled, felted and amazing knots called, "knit in secret."
I have suspended my search for white at this moment, and am exploring a combination of white and pewter to tell my newly found passion and message.
It's one thing to scramble to do the art. We are now scrambling to find the words for our artistic madness. I wonder how we will explain this all tonight! Seven o'clock at the Edge. Love to see you there.
A toast to beautiful David!
“My wish is that you may be loved
to the point of madness.”
― André Breton
I think we should have called the show “PANIC”.
Three years ago we resolved as artists to hold an art show annually whether we wanted to or not – and whether there was an interest or not. If no one came to the show, we would party by ourselves.
Even though all three of us are compulsive creators, we are not naturally motivated to prepare our artistic creations for show. There is probably only one of us who loves to show… and he will remain nameless. Yet we know that in order to grow – we need to show. We need the interaction of other artists and each other to really know what is going on in our art and in ourselves. Plus we as artists need deadlines - and there is nothing like a public showing to serve as a deadline.
But approximately two months before each of the last three shows, we begin to talk about cancelling - even if it means losing our deposit. We just can’t see it through.
This year this deliberation was even more intense. None of us had worked at any of our projects faithfully, consistently, or enthusiastically throughout the year. We had remained uninspired.
Worse than that, the three of us were changing. We were all inflicted with the dreadful feeling that everything is suddenly shabby and old. You know that feeling when everything seems dull and boring. Shabby - all is shabby. That's when one is driven to change one’s entire appearance, one's entire wardrobe, one’s entire house, one's entire profession, etc.
These are very dangerous moments! On the positive side we know that shabby moments often spur growth and positive change. On the negative side they are risky - especially for artists. It's easier if we artists could just go shopping to pick out and buy a new outfit off the rack. But there are no racks in creativity. Newness for us means originality, something forming, and something new. We have to dig deep – to find it. And that takes time. It sometimes can mean entering a dry spell for years.
It would have been okay if one of us had felt that way - or even two of us – there is safety in numbers. The other could have carried the show. But no - each of us wanted something new. None of us was prepared to hold the show. It would have been so easy to cancel....
Except – this time we had promised Andrew Wall that there would be a show. Andrew Wall has become a family friend. He went to MBCI – knew of our story firsthand and knew the same people we did.
Except he is a dangerous friend; he has a camera man beside him at all times - it seems. He is a film producer for Refuge 31 Films. Andrew probably became interested in our story back in 2010. I think he has footage from way back then as well.
Recently he renewed his interest in Cliff's art, and is producing a TV-Hour Documentary called Suspended. The documentary promises to follow Cliff and his "artistic" family as we sculpt, paint and knit towards our upcoming art show.
Cliff is definitely the "star." The documentary will tell of his long, painful journey – from tragedy and death to the trial and conviction – and also marks his development as an artist. The themes of anger and loss as well as suspicion and justice have allowed Cliff different ways of expressing himself. Now, years after the trial and through years of fascinating and wonderful work, Cliff is still not only creating but has moved into teaching the joy of art. The premiere and broadcast are slated for Spring 2016 - after our final show.
The show must go on. We are people of our word….. Panic!
“It is a strange thing, but when you are dreading something, and would give anything to slow down time, it has a disobliging habit of speeding up.” ― J.K. Rowling,
The title for our annual art show this year is Suspended: it is about pursuit.
We chose this title fairly soon after our first annual art show at Frame Gallery - Inexplicable: it is about healing, ( April '14, 2014.) I think there is a pattern in our titles. Our very first show at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery show was - Indescribable: it is about murder (January 27, 2012)
We had no idea how "suspended" we would feel this year. It truly has been one of suspense distracted by the long Supreme Court of Canada process that took almost a year. It is only recently that we have heard of their final decision to order a retrial.
As all creative people know - the enemy of creativity is suspense. We find it difficult to get into our imagination when real life pulls us into stress of the every day.
Other distractions have been, Odia and her husband announcing they are pregnant with their first child. Much of my year was spent finishing my art commission that came out of our first show, entitled "The Glance" for Soul Sanctuary, five white Implicits for the opening dedication of their new sanctuary. it was huge commission.
Cliff devoted his time to working with his students at St. Aidens Christian School.
But probably most intrusive was the emotional journey we all took together as I worked on the book about the trial and our personal journey, This Mortal Coil. In this book, "suspended" took on new meaning.
As always, writing, painting and expressing ourselves in creativity has been our healing. We hope that it will inspire all who visit our work - to explore their own creativity. - Wilma