Running on Quotes

Day 224, Quote 24:“I just don’t get art”

Reading Time: 3 minutes

My boyfriend says the darnedest things like “I just don’t get art.”

These Days of Maiuma, 2013 by Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison

Whenever we go to an art museum he says this. He may not realize that he says it every time, but he does. I don’t mind because there are many things that I don’t get, but he does.

And in the case of art, there are concepts I just don’t get and that’s okay too.

As far as what we like for art, well, that’s tricky.

He knows it when he sees it and I know it when I feel it.

I know I like French Impressionism. I know Monet, I like Renoir. I like Degas.

Degas’s The Star is what I think of when I think of myself at 12 years old. I had taken ballet and pointe classes, and while I didn’t enjoy leotards because of my own shame about my body, I loved how I felt going through the movements – how crisp or fluid they could be. When I took art classes in high school, this was the painting I also went back to – to find my calm.

When I see these paintings, I have this rush of overwhelm and my eyes fill with tears. It’s the joy from the colors, the fluidity of the brush strokes – how you see the images, but the lines slightly blur with the background.

There is something fun about Pop Art and Warhol, but in some cases the vibrant colors can be too much for me.

Regardless, I don’t usually see myself attracted to pieces where the lines are perfectly clear.

So, this weekend we went to the Worcester Art Museum – it’s free for August and I think that’s something that should be taken advantage of.

One of the rotating galleries had James Dye on display. I’ve never heard of him, but he’s an American artist a few years older than me.

I prefer oil paint and acrylics layered on canvas, but his India ink on Bristol board pushed me out the door thinking.

Temple of the Burdened Host appears to be symmetrical at first glance, but as you get closer to the smaller images you see that what’s being balanced by the being in the middle only minimally resemble each other. Some images are strikingly different whereas others have subtle changes.

The details of each image made me question how small could a brush get while still absorbing enough ink to create on this medium.

I walked away thinking that balance isn’t what we’ve grown up to believe it is.

I hate to break hearts, but there’s no work-life balance, no matter how bad you want to create the divide – you just can’t.

And in a society like ours, I think it’s comical for us to think it could be achieved. We’re still living in a place where many don’t have affordable health insurance or the ability to take vacation days (even if it means a staycation), mental health days or self-care is still viewed as taboo or selfish even though the conversations are changing.

I’ve had co-workers who have had to use their sick time because their child was sick and couldn’t be home alone with supervisors who were sometimes understanding and sometimes not. I’ve also used my sick time for mental health days because sometimes you just need a break, but have had to force myself to ignore dozens of emails streaming through.

Our work lives bleed into our personal lives, and in many cases I think it’s appropriate.

Our personal passions can push us in our professional endeavors.

How we handle our personal battles can help us fight professional ones – even if our personal handling isn’t always perfect.

Trying to keep the divide will just make us frustrated and feel defeated.

Balance is a tight rope – it’s not always steady, it’s not always symmetrical.

This drawing shows that from a distance balance is appealing and looks ideal, but as you approach and get a closer look at the details we can see that balance doesn’t truly exist, but that doesn’t mean the piece is less beautiful.