I believe there are stories that pervade our lives that cannot be told through words and that demand new modes of communication to be apprehended. Life is like an additive art form in that it builds upon itself, growing exponentially complex every second. Artists cultivate this complexity into experiences that connect, entangle, focus, and augment our lives. They yell “This is happening!” and create beautiful opportunities for our feelings, thoughts, and actions. I can’t imagine a more relevant or challenging endeavor.
The direction contemporary art practice is headed is inspiring, even though it can be completely confusing. I am in awe of the breadth and depth of work that some artists achieve and how they connect aesthetics with issues, and craft beauty from complex variables. I recently purchased an art book entitled Living as Form by Nato Thompson that dives into contemporary artists and their work in cultural production. The Amazon book description is as follows:
“Over the past twenty years, an abundance of art forms have emerged that use aesthetics to affect social dynamics. These works are often produced by collectives or come out of a community context; they emphasize participation, dialogue, and action, and appear in situations ranging from theater to activism to urban planning to visual art to health care. Engaged with the texture of living, these art works often blur the line between art and life.”
The Kent Bellows Mentoring Program in many ways also attempts to blur the line between art and life for teens. Developing studio practice as a tool for personal transformation, introspection, and general life study in combination with creative community and inclusive small group mentoring is certainly a ripe context. Living as Form is a great resource for inspiring out of the box ideas where social change can be gestural, civic actions can become sequenced into quantized values, and the negative spaces of cities become spatial content. Have any books to donate to the studio? ‘Tis the season.