My life, like others is lived on the edge. I neither know what the day will bring, nor am I certain of anything that smacks of tomorrow.
For much of the time the vast unknowns out there, hide from my view. But whether it is now or in the someday of tomorrows, some of them are sure to pay a visit and I will most likely not be ready for them when they do.
Uncertainty is all but certain and like the rest of humanity I am forced to live with that fact whether I acknowledge it or not.
But I have found that the enigmas and imponderables of life (similar in ways to large invisible rabbits ) mix nicely with the prosaic and the mundane. All together creating a sort of slick mud which, conveniently, allows us to slide along day by day.
In January I packed up a lot of artwork and headed toLes Yeux du Monde Art Gallery.which is outside of Charlottesville Virginia. Russ Warren, a friend and fellow artist, with his wife, Lyn, live there, on a beautiful piece of property. Lyn runs the gallery which is not far from their house.
We had a two man show at the gallery and I posted several things about the show which you can find here: https://www.edhaddaway.com/ed-haddaway-redux/surrealities-the-art-of-ed-haddaway-and-russ-warren
Russ and I resumed our friendship a few years ago when he started sending me post cards. During the expanse of years that exists between 1971 when he and I first met at the University of New Mexico and our show in 2019, we had each gone our separate ways. But somehow or another both of us continued to work and make art and after that yawn of time we managed to reconnect.
As part of the opening Lyn had arranged for Russ and I to talk to several groups of people at the gallery and I soon found myself on a makeshift stage pontificating in front of a group of college students.
Since arriving, both Lyn and Russ had remarked how similar my work was to Russ’s. If true, there was no accounting for this. There was absolutely no interaction between us all those years. I take the comparison as a high complement. Russ’s paintings are truly wonderful, he has had quite a successful career and I consider myself fortunate to be in a show with him.
The discussion at the gallery zig zagged across an inclusive spectrum. We entertained a landscape of thoughts, and at some point, I turned to Russ and said “When I start on a sculpture I don’t really have a clue about what I’m going to make. What about you?” Russ nodded authoritatively (he had been a University professor) and said “Yes, I never know what I’m going to do. You put the brush in the paint, carry it to the canvas and you leave a mark. Then you build from there.”
Looking back on it, this was a vindication of sorts. When younger I thought an artist should be in control. They were supposed to have mastery and skill and I assumed that meant total control. My lack of domination of the process seemed the antithesis of what I should be doing, However, with time, I grew to see things differently.
In truth I can and do steer the manipulation of materials toward the depiction of something at times,…….perhaps a dog, a bird, or whatever, especially if the hope of material rewards (money) pushes me in such a direction.
But left to my own devices I am as surprised as anyone in what manifests itself during this thing called ART. And even if I did steer the ship a bit along the way and the dog or bird, or whatever actually appears, it is almost always vastly different from what I anticipated.
This, for me, affirms that those imponderables do indeed exist. Because of the twists and turns in the process of art, it leads one to not only to what is, but to what is possible, and even into the mists of the impossible….. that universe of intangibles that I keep watching for.
Making ART is not about mastery, or proving what you think you know. It is about discovering.
At this point the questions I have asked over and over have been around enough that they are the old friends like Russ.
It is all a mad pursuit. Frustrated beyond words, I can but laugh. The ground covered in that quest of Art is littered with nothing but questions.
And the rewards of all this? The rewards may simply be the quietude of “what is.”
And that in the words of Elwood P Dowd is “oh so pleasant”.