Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Life as Art

And the saga continues. The artist's art show came through town the other day. It was quite a revelation and I have to say, a very beautiful one. For all that she spoke about trying to find a new way to express what life is, the piece of work that was on display was grandiose and beautiful, though I don't know if it had much to say about life. 

When I say grandiose, I mean it. The size of the entire facade of the largest building in Spokane, the piece was unfurled (with proper checks taken to protect it from the weather) down the side of a fair Bank building and left there for viewing. For a few hours everyday, a large scaffolding was placed in front of the painting and viewers were allowed to climb up and see every part of the painting up close.

I took this opportunity to do so and was very impressed [1] with what I saw: the entire piece was some sort of fractal city street map. If you remember, she started out with edge-node art, some of it representing real or imagined cities [2]. This, however, was composed entirely of real cities. The maps of them, that is. Five major cities and their main streets made up the larger lines. But as you moved in closer, the empty space was painted with even smaller lines of other cities, until there is no very little space. 

From afar the effect is of an interesting collage. As you walk in closer, more familiar lines come through (those grids, those plazas), until finally, your nose pressed up against the painting, you can barely make out what city you're looking at. All in all, there are supposed to be over 100,000 cities represented in this painting (hence the international tour). Like I said, I was impressed, though I'm not entirely sure what to make of the painting itself (being impressed does not always correlate with loving and feeling for a piece of art).

[1] Though still confused how this was the result of that previous interview she did.

[2] Some of those imagined street grids are now being examined by urban planners to see what wisdom can be gleaned off them and used on real streets. Again, life as art.

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