Saturday, February 25, 2012

Making Meaning Part II

Last night was busy as ever it was the opening for the University of Florida School of Art and Art History Student Juried Exhibition. I had a piece entitled ‘Gymnastics Plates’ excepted into the exhibition. These plates were made with a part of me and I consider them a self-portrait. Everything I make I consider a self-portrait but it was not always like that even a year ago I would not consider this true. I enjoyed making work but what created that shift in meaning. What made meaning so deep that I consider each piece a self-portrait? Well I will tell you as I unfold the night’s events. The art opening and the gymnastics meet were scheduled for the same time this past Friday night. This left me conflicted. Do I go to the gymnastics meet? I do not miss those for the world. How was I going to manage being in two places at one time. Well I headed out early for the art opening and took my time but as I walked around my heart was racing as I thought about the gymnastics meet underway. No one would have known the excitement that was running through me as I casually walked through the exhibition enjoying pieces created by many friends.

I soon enough headed over to the gymnastics meet as I walked in the Gators were on
bars and I had only missed vault my least favorite event. I sat and watched clapping, cheering, and my body felt as though I was doing each skill with them. I am entranced with the movement and the energy of the human body especially when it involved flipping, twisting, and jumping through space. My mind, heart, and body become one at these meets and I have no other way to explain this physical reaction. Last night as I pondered how I would convey this to the readers of my blog I thought of a video I had seen in undergrad on Mirror Neurons, it was put out by PBS some time ago but I feel it is still very relevant. It runs 14 minutes long perfect for a short break or to play in class. I highly recommend you take the time to watch it. It highlights a “recently discovered system in the brain may help explain why we humans can get so worked up watching other people.” It makes a connection between the seeing the doing.

As a graduate student I came in with no real direction in my artwork because I was never told I needed one. I made art to make it and out of enjoyment but it never went deeper then that. If I could change one thing about my art education it would be an educator who took time to ask me and required me to think, write and reflect on what was important to me. To help guide me to meaningful making. I am all to fortunate to have found this gift later in life. I will never let go and I have made it my personal goal to not only share my love of ceramics with other but also my personal connection to making. I believe everyone has the ability to connect art to life and life to art. If only we encouraged our student to go beyond physical making.

This post is dedicated to Linda Arbuckle a passionate educator and artist herself who took the time to ask me these questions and pushed me to become the best artist I am capable of being. Thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Jen, This is awesome. I can't imagine you having to choose between art and gymnastics. This is very well written. Can't wait to see some of your work next week. You are so amazing.