Saturday, December 4, 2010

I Am Art

I am not sure what art is.
Is it beautiful? Is it playful? Is it wonderful? Does it make one happy or sad? Can it do both? And can it do both simultaneously? Can it elicit emotions of every kind? I am not sure.

The dictionary describes art as follows: The quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance. The concept of art has me scratching my head, and not because I haven't cleaned behind my ears in a while. I mean, I've seen paintings and sculpture in the books I've read. And the settings in the books I've read have art in them. Music is art, as well as writing. There are so many forms of art, I am sure I cannot list them all in my blog. And to make things more complicated, what some people consider art, others may not deem worthy to call it art. So where to draw the line? Rather, should a line be drawn? My maker says that the subjectivity of art has been a debate over the course of time never to be truly resolved. Why cannot some agreement be made?
These were some of my questions when my maker took Abbot and I to a gallery show opening last night. It was wonderful! And I enjoyed it so! But I am afraid, as usual, I left the show with more questions than with which I came. But the real surprise was the fact that my maker's dolls were part of this gallery show.....part of an ART show. A show all about the love of the toy, and toys as art.

Abbot and I first had a seat on a chair so we could read about the work of the terrific artists we would be seeing. There was Kathy Weaver, who made quilts and drawings with images of robots; Rachel Klees Anderson who makes very realistic dolls; David Holmes who makes sculptures out of found objects; Bill Reid who constructs sculptures from metal and paints them in bright colors; Marilyn Ward who creates magical dollhouses; and my maker, who makes dolls like Abbot and I. It was going to be such a thrill to see the toys that other artists make!
However, getting Abbot to behave is always a story in itself.

After reading the brochure I felt prepared to walk into the show with a little more knowledge about what I would be experiencing. But Abbot had other plans. While my maker was busy chatting with the other artists and all the people who came to visit the show, Abbot charged about the gallery looking for what he liked He hadn't eaten for about an hour so he was ready to devour something tasty. Of course he was first to find the candy table, and I must admit, I was a little taken with it myself. In the center stood a giant house made of gingerbread, with candies and cookies as decorations. I can't tell you how badly I wanted to go inside.

But all I was allowed to do was look.

Abbot had a difficult time leaving those little cookie people to their yard. One too many times I caught him sneaking back onto the table to get another

But that quickly ended when Abbot saw the cupcake table. Here he needed even more restraint. Even though both of us are green in color, that green frosting did not look like it would come out of our wool with much ease. Our tongues, on the other hand, no one would notice. Careful, we were, while eating those.
(Unfortunately, my blog had some technical difficulties. The top two pictures were the ones I wanted down here. But I may have typed the wrong key and turned this page all catywampus. So I'll just continue my thoughts.....)
Abbot and I, having filled our bellies a tiny bit with candy and cupcakes (we didn't care for the cheese or the alcohol) now got a chance to go onto the gallery floor and look at things. We climbed the sculptures (with the artist's permission), and peeked inside all the crevices of the dollhouses. We scurried along the smooth floor, dodging the legs and feet of the viewers who remained. We were given some stern looks, but it was worth the fun we were having. Abbot got kicked a few times, but he knew it was his own fault.
But then I felt a kick. It wasn't from a boot or a shoe, but it came from inside my head. I guess it was an idea, a concept, a thought. As I slid across the floor I came upon my maker's doll display. I had seen these creatures many times before. In fact, I sat in the room where they were created. I watched my maker give them faces and arms, much as she did for me. I watched them go from scraps and pieces to fully formed beings.....well, as much as a being that I am...... Suddenly, I was fascinated. These dolls that looked a little like me were a part of an ART SHOW. So what did that mean for me? Was I a piece of art? Was Abbot? Were the dolls more of an art object because they sat still? Or was I more of an art object because I was animated? The questions that flooded my mind! I had never considered that I could be ART! I could sit still and pose like the other dolls! I trotted over to my maker and pulled on her skirt. She picked me up and cradled me like she sometimes does. She told the person with whom she spoke who I was and they seemed delighted to meet me. I had to ask her my question. But it would have to wait.
Later, it was busy as we prepared to leave the show. My maker held Abbot and I in her arms as we walked briskly to the car in the winter chill. The stars were out and it was peaceful. My maker saw me looking at the sky and said, "Caruthers, you wanted to ask me something earlier. Something about art." My maker can read my mind, so I only had to look at her to ask, "Am I art?"
"That's a good question, Caruthers," she said. "Art means different things to different people. Some people think they are not artists because they don't paint or sculpt or draw. But that's not really true. Art, to me, Caruthers, is all about creation and expression. The creation of music, of life, of joy, of words, of love, of peace, and even of sorrow. Because art is the creation of a human mind, in that sense you ARE art. So is Abbot, and so am I. Human beings have so much potential to create in so many ways, it's tragic most of them never do. And maybe the reason they don't is because they think they can't. We should do something about that, shouldn't we?"
My maker gave me even more to think about as we walked to the car. Abbot had fallen asleep in her arm. His jolly, candy-filled belly rose and fell under the blanket of night.
Until next time.

1 comment:

April said...

Oh my dear Caruthers, you just don't know how much I would LOVE to see that Art Show of wonderful, fantastical TOYS!!! I would give 12 cupcakes and three gingerbread houses just to be there and see it all in person! Look at the sign to get in...Why the two Woolies pictured look like Martha and Jane!!! And I would like to know who is the wee tiny Elf friend who is reading the brochure over your shoulders?
Caruthers, I don't know if you and Abbot are ART or not??? I'm not smart enough to figure it out. But if you ARE Art, you are a kind of art that does NOT stand still and it makes my heart stop just for a second because it touches somewhere deep inside. You and the Woolies bring Joy and smiles and Possibilities to Life! You stop people in their tracks and make their mouths fall open and little cooing sounds come out...and then they walk over because they cannot resist a hug! I don't know if that's ART, but it is definitely something I would never ever want gone from my life. It is precious and sings and so much nicer than doing algebra. I love you sweet monster!