After a more than year of intense work, my exhibition PRONK! is on view at the Bromfield Gallery in Boston, MA.- in spite of the accumulation of 109 inches of snow in just 29 days, frigid weather that kept any of it from melting and snow bound Bostonians that stayed away from it in droves. Actually they stayed away from all activities that required public transportation, driving, parking or walking. The Boston Museum of Fine Art saw a 46% decline in visitors this winter so I don’t feel too bad.
None the less, I am grateful to have the work finally on view. PRONK! runs through March 28. (I will post all the glorious specifics with photos in an upcoming post. Including the magnificent fashion show Objet a la Mode, otherwise known as Furry Objects of Fashion with Ice Cream on the Side Damn You Snow)
If you should miss this opportunity there are two more chances to see work from this series I have been in general been calling Still Life in an Age of Anxiety. Yes, I am anxious. We are all anxious here in Boston. Climate change is real, people.
What I know of depression, and I know it well, is love is not enough. Loving a person with a depressive disorder is not enough. Remember the old Al-anon phrases “unconditional love” and “co-dependency”? The relationship between the mentally ill and his/her loved ones is riddled with pitfalls, most notably one of perceived inequity.
We are not easy to live with, I know. But neither are you, dear friends. Perhaps more than any other illness mental illness comes with an extra burden of guilt. In part because some of the ones who love us most deep down believe that if we only tried harder, got happy, took things less seriously we’d get over it. It feels like a set up to always letting people down. That feeling of otherness eventually eats away at relationships. It is easy to love a mentally ill person “unconditionally” as long as you see yourself as the stronger one, the logical one. The saner one.
Let me tell you of the extraordinary feelings of exuberance, of joyful moments that the healthy mind takes for granted. To me they are gifts. These very gifts are what becomes my art. And those “un”sane moments? The unshakable dread, the suffocating anxiety, the escalating irritability that comes when words and sounds and sights converge into un-sortable chaos? They also become my art. I know these ups and downs tax the people I love. They are for better or worse woven into the fabric of me. Separating the illness, the behaviors and the core of who I am is tough work and often requires professional help. But most importantly, time in my studio. Art is the stabilizing factor that allows me to love and be loved.
If I have only one side of my heated mattress pad on does it mean that the cold half and the hot half of my bed could create a tornado? And then would I end up “not in Kansas anymore,” beleaguered by a feeble feline, a stuffy cabbage patch doll and a guy who has lost his mettle and is desperately trying to find his Fustini’s gift card? Or maybe this is a test in preparation for surviving extreme climate change where malevolent flying monkeys will seem rather like a picnic in comparison.
March is the month I get restless. Spring supposedly is around the corner, although this year there is still deep snow and not a blade of grass or earth in sight. And snow is again predicted for Monday, St. Patrick’s Day. White and green. It seems a cruel combination.
But March…spring cleaning, the urge to throw away the stale and consolidate the remaining mess. Meaning like clockwork I am driven by the urge to redo my Blog and Website. For years I’ve wanted a combined site that is dynamic and current. Kind of like the way my studio looks, but without the entire clutter. Multiple projects, impulsive accumulations, and wondrous merging and collaboration of elements and people I never would have conceived of. The deadline is March 23, 2014 when my other website is not renewed.