04 October 2011

The Wall - Waiting for the Extraordinary Things

I made a small mosaic the other day for a friend. It was her 60th birthday.

At the party someone asked me about soul-mates... inferring that I had said at a previous party that I believe in them. This is an old topic at the parties, and for some strange reason, a bit controversial...

So, rather than get back into the topic (it was too early in the evening and not enough alcohol had been consumed to make the discussion interesting - consumed by others since I don't do alcohol - a whole 'nother story there...) I simply said "I believe that just about anything is possible." "Wise answer," my questioner replied. Luckily, before she could keep on about soul-mates, one of the others at the party quoted Alicia from the movie A Beautiful Mind - "I need to believe that something extraordinary is possible."

The birthday friend, who is very much concerned with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict said, "Extraordinary things are not possible..." She can't see how a peaceful resolution can happen.

I admit that my response to her comment and the situation is more emotional than informed - which is often the case for me; the feelings get in the way of the thinking sometimes. And even when I try to think critically about the issues I often feel like many of the world's problems are insurmountable (and so why should any of us try?)...

But I've decided that I'm not going to quit thinking about them and talking about them and trying to learn about them.

And I'm not about to stop making art about them...

It was strange because when I made this mosaic I had no idea why I made it like it is.

The Wall, 4" x 8", marble, recycled glass.
I loved the materials when I placed them side-by-side on the worktable. The cream-colored marble has a slight orange veining in it and somehow feels both smooth and gritty at the same time. The background is Rain Forest Green marble (because of how it looks, not that it comes from a rain forest). And the red is a recycled, tumbled, landscape glass that I've cut into sharp slivers. They looked beautiful together - until I started cementing them down... then they made me a bit uncomfortable.

Once I finished the white line I realized that it was "the wall." And the red represents the bloodshed on both sides.

It could be any wall, any division between people that results in bloodshed and tragedy.

For my friend this was about the Middle-east conflict. I think she (like me) loves this piece but finds it hard to look at/think about.

And the extraordinary things - I do believe that they are possible, but we don't get to pick and choose which extraordinary thing is going to happen. We cannot force things to turn out according to what we think is best, how we would fix the problems. We have to learn to recognize when something extraordinary is looking us right in the face. We have to learn to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, or even in the tragic - the transcendent moments in our mundane lives.


Caron said...

The tragic is very fertile ground for the extraordinary. Perspectives tend to clarify when there is distance between the expected and unexpected ... between life and death. Death allows for greater appreciation for life and opens our eyes to what it means to live. We wake up to justice when grave injustice occurs. Of course, the most extraordinary things happen when love is informing them.

MontaGael said...

Caron, I somehow knew you would see to the core of what I was trying to say with and about this piece.

Thank you for putting it so eloquently.

Hojo said...

Extraordinary things always happen and have always happened as history shows. It's only, we're so short lived and (sometimes) so full of compassion that we become overloaded by the treacherous and blinded to the truly wonderful things.

MontaGael said...

Exactly, Dave.