When I was a young girl, growing up in St. Petersburg, a wise old woman — a university friend of my grandparents’ — told me once that art is a means of communication.
Art is a means of communication…
This insight goes far beyond the plain fact that the artist communicates something to the spectator through their artwork, like the speaker to the listener in our conventional acts of communication.
What she meant was, first and foremost, that an artwork — a painting, a poem —creates a space, and a medium, where our communication with each other, human-to-human-to-human, deepens and expands through the shared experience of art. Where a conversation breaks through our habitual defenses to the next level of mutual understanding and compassion.
Had she lived now, she might have said that art opens up a we-space for us to enter. As it was, she couldn’t have known this term — but she knew, beyond any doubt, how to make this happen.
This is why I know what she meant — because, thanks to her presence in my life, I was lucky enough to experience this so early in life.
In such a multidimensional conversation, two things happen at once:
The painting opens up its sacred space for us, and each of us opens up their interior space for the painting — re-creating the painting, again and again, from smudges of paint on its surface, or even from pixels on our screens.
And the conversation — agenda-less, open conversation, free of judgement and any kind “critique”, filled with deep contemplation — opens these interiors spaces into each other, into the emerging we-space, thus creating something completely new, deeper and more spacious than ever before.
Thanks to the our ever-increasing technological connectivity, my friend Terrill Welch and I have been having these conversations about paintings for years now — even though separated by about a thousand miles.
And now we decided to share them with you — and to invite you to join in!
For the time being, this Facebook group is an experiment, a “beta” — we are still trying to figure out the best way to share this way of being and seeing, to expand our ongoing conversation. The future evolution of this emerging community will be shaped by its early adopters — by you, if you choose to join.