Archive for April, 2013
Out Of Favorites
collage miniature by J A Dixon
4.5 x 6.5 inches
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“Never lose sight of love and kindness for family, clan, and friends. Family comes first and many times we make it, or seem to make it, last.”
— John Edward Dixon
This would be my father’s 90th birthday, had he not been lost to us nearly 20 years ago. For the rest of my life I shall create pictures of him. Of course, I can’t know what he’d think of that, but I suspect his feelings would be mixed. Modest enough to be uncomfortable with the practice, he probably would have approved, on the other hand, of my using his image as a mechanism for continuous artistic investigation. It’s natural for me to think about him on his birthday and how enhanced my life would be if I still had access to his wisdom, evolving perspective, and keen sense of leadership. Whether we comprehend it or not, each of us has a meaningful influence by our very presence in the drama of existence, affecting our world and others in countless ways. Perhaps our departures from the stage will be less profound than his, depending on how each of us has played our part. When one is as beloved as my namesake, the absence is a deeply felt void which sends wide ripples across the surface of family life. And so, it is a day for me to pay tribute, in the springtime he cherished, and to declare that I shall love him forever.
Variations on a Theme by Grandybo, Part Eight
mixed-media collage by J A Dixon, 2006
collection of A Kenner
The primary reason that I look forward with great anticipation to this Friday’s LexArts Hop is because Kathleen O’Brien has a new solo exhibition. The opening reception for Realms of Wonder at the M.S.Rezny Studio & Gallery is from 5 to 8 pm, and it is certain to be one of the highlights of the evening. It was no surprise when a local Marketing Maven recently exposed herself as a Kathleen O’Brien “groupie,” and I suspect that there are far more than two of us. It’s not at all baffling to find oneself totally captivated by her visionary art.
Kathleen’s artwork clearly grows out of how she thoughtfully observes and attunes with the world of nature. It also literally contains and preserves natural ingredients. But in contrast to collage that maintains its focus on formal or intellectual juxtapositions, Kathleen’s art always nudges one toward a deeper sense of wholeness and the inner complexity of our balanced existence as both organic and spiritual beings. Without question, she has made a personal commitment to creating art as a mystical practice, and, on a communal level, to providing nature-inspired beauty as a source of healing in a fractured world. With the strong presence of these intangible dimensions, Kathleen’s art is always esoteric, and yet she manages to make the work accessible to all with her choice of subject matter and allegiance to traditional drawing. At the same time, she can delight the eye of a fellow artist with her methodology, aesthetic choices, and pictorial skill. I’m not ashamed to admit that much of Kathleen’s symbolic virtuosity is beyond my ken, but I appreciate that it’s all in play at the intuitive level. Being near the prolific output of her creative life is simply uplifting, and that’s because all the facets of her art —whether conscious or subliminal— unify as a total perception to nourish the mind, heart, and soul.
3 Worlds (detail, This World)
mixed-media collage, © Kathleen O’Brien
22 x 15 inches
“I’ve never met a tradition that is not the result of successful invention. As soon as you invent something that everybody wants, unless you evolve that tradition, it starts to get smaller. I think of the Silk Road, in many ways, as the Internet of antiquity. Today it’s much faster but we had essentially the same results. When people met at the borders, you traded; you figured out who you are; do I trust you? Can we do business together? Can we be friends?”
— Yo-Yo Ma
A week after finishing my 31-miniatures-in-31-days exercise, which culminated in a “Silk Road” collage series, I am able to look at the month’s output with a bit of perspective. A period of sustained experimentation collided with a catalytic event (attending a performance of the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma), and suddenly I was off on a ride of intense thematic exploration. I am now able to link the end result to a piece I created seven years ago as a tribute to Kurt Schwitters. I felt strongly at the time that by transcending the individual characteristics of ingredient elements, the totality of a compositional effect could take on a reverential tone. I have nothing against irreverence, satire, or sarcasm in art, but I am increasingly comfortable with the idea that when I step beyond an inspirational experience, my natural tendency is to seek beauty, harmony, and perhaps even “the sacred” in a work of collage.
Sacred Ode To Merz
J A Dixon, 2006
16 x 20 inches (framed)