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Hide and Seek

by Rick Lewis

“There are no non-divisable particles in nature. Even at the atomic level, atoms can be divided. They are not non-divisable particles. Everything can be divided infinitely. We should react to the world and live in concert with it. Our thinking should be in terms of micro dimensions.” I first heard this statement at a lecture by Robert Thurman many years ago as he related a talk from the Dalai Lama on the teachings of the Buddha. It reinforced my own belief in where I may be able to find inspiration for my work. It can be everywhere and in all things great and small. I would just have to look and be open to see.

Making art is nature. “The objects in and of themselves are nature. Nature from which the materials and support came, nature is the artist’s hand, nature as dialogue with the viewer, resulting in an image as a reminder of not “who” but what we are.” Another of my heroes Paul Klee said this. What I find interesting is that as humans, life and art have a dual nature, seen and unseen. Art is often referred to as a mirror like reflection of nature in both Eastern and Western cultures. The idea that man should live in concert with nature, not attempting to dominate it, is not new. But we often forget this basic tenent of being human. As old as this concept is, what makes it contemporary is that it is not based in traditional religion, but rather in the world of the human spirit.

The act of painting (or art making in general) is governed by some things that are known and some that are not. Intellectual decisions occur in the process, but there are factors that cannot be predicted. The natural environment is the only source that provides the metaphors for the way that abstract paintings are. Color, surface, texture, gravity, viscosity of mixtures, spacial considerations, atmosphere, light density, etc. are naturally occurring things and are all elemental as pertaining to pictures. At the same time the work should not have any specific reference. I like the sense that everything is available. My own work seems to be born out of relationships to or qualities within nature that connect with my psyche. The imagery seems to make itslelf know via a memory of tree bark, a shadow in an urban environment, sand piled on the sidewalk, a reflection in water, a peculiar sound, and so on. The work in and of itself exists in the seen and unseen.

Inspiration can come in many forms. Source material can then either be singularly investigated or researched in combination with like things. If you work with anything long enough it becomes an extension of your thinking and action. The work itself has to be brought out, it has to be made. Discovery alone is not enough. But if one takes that discovery and attempts to bring something out of it, staying at it, practicing diligently, the thing becomes you, and through the physical act of making, knowledge is gained that can be applied to future endeavours. There is a lot to be taken away from this, and it is reason enough to continue searching for things to make art about.

Seeking discovery in things that are not always tangible may seem to some a fruitless or non-sensical endeavour. I think it is important and vital to existence. Any individual can influence any other individual in a profound way with right action. Our relationships can be bolstered immensely by creative effort. As artists the trick is being true to what you are about and sticking to it long enough so that it becomes something. Then it has the ability to affect change. It can influence others in a subtle or infinite way. The change is subversive. Art making is subversive in its very nature and immensely powerful.

My effort at making things that prompt a dialogue with the viewer may in the end prove to be futile. This is something that I cannot know will work out. I can only offer the work as a representation of my temporal existence and share my way of seeing. I do know that while searching for hidden truths that exist in the palette of nature, I am constantly reminded of what I am. I am an artist seeking a malleable form, attempting to create Universal archetypes to explain my place in the the world.

Mist, mist, mist, mist, mist, mist, mist, mist, fog, rain, sun.