Saturday, February 9, 2008

finding beauty

I realize that I can deal with the cold. As long as it is a brilliantly clear day with sunshine and clear skies, I don't mind. This was the reality of a few mondays ago. A good friend of mine Panda Bear (also less known as Steve) calls me to ask what my plans are for this beautiful day, which is a holiday none the less. Off to Agua verde for some lunch in a colored greenroom where we are sucking in sunlight like orchid plants. Halfway through lunch Capt. Roo (also less known as Andy) and Riani call to ask us to come on a ferry ride to Bainbridge island. Oh....p.s, it leaves at 3, and yes, it is 2:40. It's shovel time at this zoo, as a mad mouth stuffing of fish tacos and a race to the piers renders us defeated as the ferry pulls away. We didn't want to go on a stupid ferry ride anyway. to what we REALLY want to see...the olympic sculpture park.

We ventured to the SAM (seattle art museum) Olympic sculpture park, braving the sub-arctic temperatures. No worries, my undefeated zeal for life and art at the moment races me through the park like a kid hungrily eating cold watermelon after a hot day of playing soccer: I can't get enough. The beautiful puget sound is stained with the mountains in the back -ground, absolutely stunning. Panda refers to this photo as his favorite, not because of the photo but the sequence in his memory of me running down the beach, stopping to kick my shoes off, running more...climbing through the rocks to get to the place I stand. Mind you, it was almost cold enough to snow. If you look close enough, i got about a foot of air off the rock i jumped off. Sweet.

One of my favorite pieces at the park is called the wake. A beautiful piece by Richard Serra (2004, Overall installation: 14' x 125' x 46'). Coming up to view, the five strong steel structured looked like a relic school of battleships, or the tidal waves coming in.

The Sam says: "For Richard Serra, space is a substance as tangible as sculpture. He uses materials and scale to alter perception and to engage the body, encouraging consciousness of our relation to space. The towering, curved-steel forms of Wake were achieved with computer imaging and machines that manufacture ship hulls, including a demilitarized machine that once made French nuclear submarines. Wake is composed of five identical modules, each with two S-shaped sections positioned in inverted relation to one another—gently curving serpentines of convex and concave parts that suggest tidal waves or profiles of battleships. The surface of acid-washed, weatherproof steel reinforces this industrial effect. Wake's powerful silhouette belies a complex configuration of parts; the whole cannot be known at once, but can only be experienced with movement and in time."

It is the coolest piece you'll ever see, fun to play tag in, to run around and feel like you are a part of the piece, as you can see from the video of me acting like i'm five. When did it become not ladylike and grown up to run around and feel the earth around you, and to interact with the space that surrounds you? Here in America we worry about our stock options, about the direction of our economy (yes i am worried too), but we have failed to remember the grander things in life, like play. Like grass stains, like playing hide and seek with yourself. I lived in this moment.

The park opened last year as an extension of the 75th anniversary of the SAM and it's new collections. At least i think so. The Olympic Sculpture Park transforms a nine- acre industrial site into open and vibrant green space for art.
Pulling away from the park, i took this photo of the same piece i looked through when walking down the path. It is called cloud cover, a piece with tiny holes through it, where you could see the landscape of Seattle. From a distance you can see the sunset catch up on the piece that literally transcends across the highway. It is quite stunning to drive by.

As we made our way back up to the car, we hit this piece. It is a beautiful stunning tree, which looks normal here in midwinter, except for it is a piece of art, made out of steel. You can see the welding in the trunk, and the glimmer of sunlight hitting off of it.
This brings me to question, what is art? The first and broadest sense of art is the one that has remained closest to the older Latin meaning, which roughly translates to "skill" or "craft," and also from an indo-european meaning "arrangement" or "to arrange"(wikipedia).

Art to me, is anything beautiful that brings me unconditional happiness. Being a part of it, with it, makes me happy. Without having to promise dinner, without thinking am i good enough for it, without thinking. I just am happy. We can learn a thing or two about ourselves from art, like the fact art is in the word eARTh. Look around you. You can find happiness in everything around you, we just have to look and listen.