Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Time to Let Go: Art, Augury, and a Little Healing
Showered, dressed, packed a weekend's gear onto the bike, and Pater and I bike-boated-drove to the big ferry where we then had time for a leisurely breakfast while reading the weekend newspapers.
Once on the mainland, he dropped me off downtown where I was meeting a sister-in-law for lunch, the first major attempt at reconciling a family rift that's lasted almost a year. I think we did really well, my sister-in-law and I, but those were two emotionally gruelling hours.
So how serendipitous that Pater pulled up to the curb (not quite randomly but blocks from the restaurant) in front of this recent, and temporary, installation of Vancouver artist Babak Golkar's "participatory" work -- the terracotta vessels apparently are "designed to contain sound" and the interpretive plaque exhorts the observer to "Step up and release your emotions."
No, I didn't. But I was soothed by the tranquil beauty of the organic shapes and colours, the reflecting pool's amplifying of the overall sense of containment and reflection, reassuring. . . .
.And perhaps you can guess at the title of the piece, from catching some of the words in the photo above. Yes, it's called Time to Let Go. . .
I must admit that I didn't register the title at the time. I suspect I might have recoiled a bit from such an overdetermined message. But in retrospect, it's easy to like the augury. We'll see. . . .
Public art, though, it's clear to me, augurs well for all of us. You can see, in the photo above, the contrast with the nearby street scene. The water's surface captures the city's busy rhythms and transmutes them. . . I love how the busy architectural lines of surrounding towers are absorbed into the installation, subsumed by the very different, softer regularity of the sandbags. The terra cotta square stepping stones mimic the right-angled urban geometries, but link those to the organic curves of the vessels through their shared material. Can we yield as easily from angled rigidities to more organic uncertainty, adaptability? To letting go?
And although I find the title perhaps a wee bit dictatorial, I love that the installation itself doesn't erase the surrounding geometric clutter but softens it in reflection. I'm not sure how well (or, at least, how quickly) we can "let go" of some hurts, some anxieties, some difficulties. But we can soften them, allow beauty to emerge alongside, let the dissonance fall into the background. At least momentarily, occasionally.
Has public art soothed or amused or inspired you?