catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 6, Num 23 :: 2007.12.14 — 2007.12.28


Art is in the house!

LARRY:  So how did we end up with all this art in the house?  The stuff is everywhere.  I’m embarrassed to say we’ve got more artwork than wall space!  Yikes ! How did this happen?

PAT:  I remember when we were first married and setting up our first apartment that we talked about friends’ homes we enjoyed and why.  Plants, pets, and art were three things we decided were important. And flowers, flowers, flowers.

LARRY:  And books everywhere!  And then there was the fact that my sister and her husband were both artists, and generous ones as that.  They gave us some stunning photography.

PAT: And got us started in more serious photography.  Remember when we went to that elderly couple’s home in Annapolis at 2:30 a.m. so I could take a picture of their night blooming cereus?

LARRY:  Of course!  That photograph is still on the wall.  And we’ve got the family rogues’ gallery that gives us a sense of the past.  And all the volumes and volumes of scrapbooks documenting our family’s journey.  “First item out in case of a fire,” I always told the kids.  Well, after the pets, anyway.  I recall in the movie A Man and a Woman the question being posed whether one should rescue a cat or a Rembrandt in case of fire.  The answer given was the cat because it was a living being.  I’d have to go for both.

PAT:  And then there’s our recent remodeling, brought on in part because we didn’t have a big enough wall for the roses painting we independently fell in love with.  I feel a little silly about it, but that radiant image so called to both of us.

LARRY:  I don’t remember what the concert was when we saw it hanging behind the performers at the Carnegie Center, but I do recall coming home and our saying simultaneously, “What would you think about buying that roses painting?”

PAT:  Love song of the very married, verse ninety-seven.  I think that’s a good example of how we’ve come to value beauty as crucial in terms of its transforming power.  You’ve preached on that.  More than once!  And also wanting to support artists who are, after all, involved in creating rather than destroying. I remember you quoting Plotinus, “The soul that beholds beauty becomes beautiful.”

LARRY: Yes, to all of that.  There is some transformation of the soul, the self that comes
through contemplation of beauty.  And I think that’s drastically underestimated and undervalued in these utilitarian times. But I think it also has to do with you being a musician and seeing physical art as another expression of the beauty you’ve so long known and made in music.  And then, you became a watercolorist in your own right.

PAT:  And that’s been great fun, especially in creating paintings for other people of their homes or places we’ve been together that we both love. 

LARRY:  Do you find you always look at the art in our home, or are there times when it’s just part of the background ambience of our home?

PAT:  Well, both.  It often depends on how the light coming in the windows illuminates a painting or photograph.  But there are times when I don’t really see the various pieces but still feel them there as old, dependable friends.  That’s why I like to rotate what’s on the walls from time to time.

LARRY:  As well as move the furniture around!

PAT:  Your favorite activity, I know! As I think about it, I’m also struck that we have a few pieces of sculpture about, too.

LARRY:  Like the dolphin wave you surprised me with for my birthday so many years ago.  You knew that was a piece that seemed to recognize me, or I recognized something of myself in it.  That’s part of it, this art collecting—embracing pieces that call to us.  And I think we’ve been surprised a few times at what did.

PAT:  I also like it that we know, or at least have met, most of the artists whose work is in our home.  Something about being in relationship with the creator is crucial, perhaps in reminding us of the divine-human relationship.

LARRY:  Which certainly focuses on the divine’s essence as being creativity.  Whatever Genesis 1 is about, it’s clear on that point.

PAT:  I do like it when people come into our home and feel at home, and I think that has to do in part with the beauty our art conveys.  There is, I hope, a sort of welcoming immersion, almost a bathing, a nourishing, that comes about.  I always try to have flowers in our guest room and on the dining table, mostly from our gardens.  To me, these symbolize the divine feminine, springing up from the earth.  Even though they’re indoors, the link to the larger creation is there.

LARRY: I so love that you always have flowers in our home.  How about the religious section of our home museum, with its images and sculptures?  What’s its significance to you?

PAT:  It represents the Divine graciously entering our lives through beauty and through a variety of paths, since we have art from various traditions.  It brings me back to how foundational art is as a path or link to God.

LARRY:  I’d have to say our art gets me out of my head and into my senses and physical reality—which I will say before you do is very necessary for me—and into how grace and love are incarnated into our lives again and again if we but stop to behold.  Rather like you.

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