Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Seattle and Art

I've been enjoying the western edges of my newest state, Washington. Beautiful place this, though the weather has certainly been to my liking. I'm in the city, now, and enjoying the bustle of human activity after the masses of other organic matter in Olympic Park and south of the Cascades. I've grown tired of hikes, but the contrast of those two types of environments has been great for my writing. 
Now, I know that a blog degenerating into a journal is the death knell of the very idea of a blog, but bear with me. I'm in Seattle Public Library, one of the most impressive places I've been to in a long time—library or otherwise. Amazing that the people have this place to go to. It's enough to inspire a few stories.

Seattle Public Library
Not that this has been the only thing to inspire me during this trip to Seattle. I also visited SAM, another great place. It makes up for it's small size with a varied and still deep collection. I was especially taken by the contemporary and aborigine art. The latter was filled stories and art as a map—both spiritual and material—that simply lingered in my mind. 

One particular story was about a rock hole (place where water feeds sweet nectar giving plants) where a serpent boy was mistreated for being different by the people of that rock hole. The boy left, grew, and came back to eat them all. A story against selfishness, then. 

Aborigine Art

Of the former genre—contemporary art—there were a few things that captured my mind. The first was an artist from half a century ago (maybe more modern than contemporary). One of the first environmentalists (and not the local kind that only tries to stop rivers from burning), she was mocked for much of her art, though recent evidence has vindicated her point of view [1]. Her sculptures were made of metal and glass and had words sketched into them, each telling a story: a hunter chasing a mythical animal. The hunter all masculine, the animal simply leads the hunter in a circular chase, the hunter tires, death soon follows.

Another has the hunter killing the chased, but path the chased and the relatives of the chased react in a way so as to inflict a million cuts. Back home, the hunter dies. The sculptures are fluid and yet are still believable, even if the ultimate lesson (of environmentalism) might be a hard leap for the unimaginative such as myself.

Yet another had an artist throwing shapes on a board and painting that. The one in the middle is a face, all the others simply random pieces flung. It may be saying something simple about randomness, but I liked it.

But the most interesting art was not to be found in the museum but written all over the city: "'All Lies Matter' —Trump" has been scrawled on every piece of wall I've seen. The words of the prophet are written on the subway wall, as Simon Garfunkel have said. 

So I sit here inspired and you will be seeing more writing soon. 

[1] There are but a few things that are more interesting than the fact that some of the focus of previous times' environmentalists has given ammo to the climate skeptics of today who seem to be reacting against hippies trying to build a relationship with the world than any facts on the ground. 

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