One year of Selective Focus would be impossible to capture in a single post, so I’ve gleaned just a few personal favorites. I think we’ve accomplished together many of my initial desires to foreground the real people who live work and play here, and to build community through art, no matter how homely or grand.
There is a perverse fullness in loss. Loss propelled me here. It informs my need to make art. It makes space for the unexpected to grow. Atul Gawande’s recent book “Being Mortal” describes “the chasm of perspective between those who have to contend with life’s fragility and those who don’t.” Loss widens our apertures to see farther down narrow, well-worn paths. It opens us to risk, and to more keenly-felt joys.
My wife, Shawna Gilmore, has an interesting job. Today, for example, she painted the back of Charlie Parr’s amazing guitar. The instrument is a phenomenal work of art, both front and back. Next Tuesday is a great opportunity to come out and hear Charlie make music with it alongside his good buddy, Dave Hundrieser. Read more about Charlie and Dave, and see the garage they recorded in together previously, at Ed’s Big Adventure.
By the way, Teague Alexy, Tin Can Gin, Don Ness, Emily Larson, a stunning tap dancer, and I, will also be participating in Cornucopia at the Red Herring Lounge. Check out this amazing event on Facebook/a> and the PDD Calendar.
Bliss is seldom of an epiphanic nature; it often just slowly suffuses us, when after years or moments prior we’d barely thought it possible that matters could just placidly align. But a surfeit of joy can be just as intolerable as an abundance of grief. Neither can be sustained, and each will evanesce, then quietly, someday, return.
Limbs (of trees) stripped near to bare, firewood cribbed, quilts at hand, larders stocked. This is the month that Maslow’s hierarchy seems tangibly real, unless you’re an artist and thus inclined to invert the pyramid. Many diverse takes this week, despite my dread that a theme so prospectively barren would go unchallenged. Credit a strain of Scandanavian fatalism? Anyhow, thanks.
Brian Barber, “John Barber: Service station owner, school bus driver, Mayor, Parnell, MO”
This week’s theme offers the opportunity for a p.s.a.: have prints made of the images you’re making now, or we might not have the kinds of memories shown here. Digital media storage changes so quickly that having our memories in tangible form may vanish. Anyone still have a floppy drive on their pc, or a pc for that matter?
On Oct. 15, 11 individuals from Duluth were awarded funding from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council for its Technology/Equipment Grant Program. These grants are for individual artists seeking funding for technology needed to advance their career and body of work.
Black and white photography is most often anything but. Degrees of tone exist in a broad spectrum within what we reductively deem either/or. I’ve argued before that its use as an aesthetic device is antiquarian, retrogressive- that the medium has grown past the limitation, yet there remains an appeal in seeing images pared to their essence, without the ersatz mediation of hdr and hyper-saturation.
The idea of “coming home” propels nearly all our endeavors, knowing we are tethered to other people, to familiar, comforting things. For anyone lacking a stable, sane place, or those exiled by circumstance, the capacity to venture is stunted while the desire to find moorings never leaves us. Emily Norton’s “Family Motto” (below) states well this simple, not easily-attained aspiration.
One more post about art and literature this week … some poetry readings and some paintings about the environment, in different ways.
I attended the Wolf/Flow art opening, hosted by Stephanie Johnson and Angie Arden, at the Zeitgeist Arts gallery.The work shimmers with the energy of collaboration, with passion for the natural world, and with exploration of a variety of media. And, if you contributed a line to the community poem at Wolf/Flow 2, you may be happily surprised to see what became of it.