Title or no title? Sometimes, a title for a completed piece of art work pops into my mind, sticks, and voilà – I have a title. Sometimes, as in the piece above, no title comes.
i notice when visiting galleries, that i often look at the title of a work as a way of understanding it better. Perhaps the title offers a clue. Perhaps not.
What would you call this piece? What do you see? What feelings does this piece evoke in you? I would love to hear what your thoughts are, especially before you read on. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have some ideas.
Here is a little bit about the making of this piece. After a busy fall, I started the New Year excited about creating art simply because I wanted to. My fall was happily busy working on a few commissions or creating pieces for classes I was taking or offering, but always creating for external reasons.
I began like I often do…by spreading out large and small paper pieces to see which colours grabbed me. First came the deep aquamarine or teal.
Then oranges, copper, turquoise, periwinkle, navy, fuschia, aqua, violet, yellow. Wheat paste scraps from Barbara, the deep ultramarine a gift from Tania and Kami Jo, old shiny gift wrap, block printed scraps that have been my treasure for decades. Envelopes, shiny scraps, marbled paper. I played with these pieces of paper, tearing them, cutting them, arranging them this way and that. I glued two shapes together composed of pieces of these colours, but glued nothing down. Free floating shapes and scraps. Pure pleasure.
The yellow wheat paste scraps suggested houses, so I thought, why not? I assembled all my scraps of paper on to different coloured backgrounds – orange, navy, teal.
The two shapes consisting of torn scraps seemed to need orange backgrounds. The shapes seemed to me to be related is some way. They wanted to dance together. I had so much fun placing the shapes this way and that. Using scraps of shiny paper, I made ladders. Using cut bits of dyed paper, I cut free floating steps in the air. Using my favourite block print scraps, I created curving and straight roads leading somewhere and leading nowhere. I felt the need for connections of one kind or another between the two shapes.
The world is reconfiguring. It has flown apart, with houses being upended and leaving earth. With new and surprising connections emerging.
I cut out trees, considered people, birds – none of them felt right. Somehow, stars did.
The world is flying apart, and being reconfigured, and I feel full of hope. Too long for a title though!!
A week or so later, I read Shayla Wright’s post, entitled “The River Beneath the River”. Shayla Wright is a coach, spiritual mentor and facilitator based in Victoria, B.C. She posts “Lifeletters” on her website Wide Awake Heart which have nurtured and sustained me for the past year. In part of her post, Shayla beautifully articulates some of what I was feeling as I was rearranging colourful scraps of paper on an ultramarine background.
“It feels clear to me that we will not make our way through the mess we are in now, without our higher capacities. On a collective human level we are numb, fragmented, violent, and helpless. We have lost our way. Only a deep integration of our human and spiritual natures can help us face the enormous crisis that stands before us. Meditation is not going to do it. Activism is not going to do it. Our collective human evolution stands at a threshold. We have actually entered a liminal space, without a clear intention to do so. In the liminal space, we stand between the worlds. There is no solid ground. The liminal is the in-between space, the space where things pass away, the space into which new life emerges. We are standing there now, or perhaps, not standing. Maybe crawling, stumbling towards a future possibility we can barely see or hear. This future possibility is not only something we are moving towards-it is calling us. It has a magnetism. It is our strange attractor. It is asking us to become whole, to meet this moment with all of who we are. To embrace that which we have shut away. To step out of our bubbles, and travel into the unknown, the borderlands, the wild places inside us and out, what we have been avoiding.
The soul has a wild nature. It is not domesticated. It knows how to walk in the liminal space, where that which is known and familiar has fallen away. It sees in the darkness. It can hear whispers long forgotten, voices that are half formed, waiting for someone to listen and bring them into the light of day…”
Still, no title. But, it’s something to do with that liminal space, that Shayla Wright calls “in between space, the space where things pass away, the space into which new life emerges.” The colours and dance of the papers as I played with this piece spoke to me of not knowing, of confusion and uncertainty, of hope, of delight, of surprise, and wonder.