I like context.
Knowing where a painter was born, if they were left-handed, if they were avid readers, city mice or country hermits and what they ate for breakfast all help to deepen my perception and enjoyment of a painting.
In an art gallery, I enjoy the artist bios and quotes and the collection introductions stenciled up and down 15 feet of wall almost as much as I do the colors and brushstrokes.
Take for example this one I found in the AGO on my latest visit:
“But, after all, the aim of art is to create space – space that is not compromised by decoration or illustration, space within which the subjects of painting can live.”
– Frank Stella
Madinat as-Salam I
I also like parallels.
If we take Stella’s quote and think about the canvass as our body, and yoga as painting, we find a common goal between the two practices: space. The aim of yoga is to create space, mentally and physically through breath, compassionate awareness and asana. Sometimes I think of this process as a cracking open of sorts, or as letting go and surrendering. But what if we thought about creating space in our yoga practice as a creative process? In the act of relinquishing everything that fills us up, litters the canvass of lives, that ceases to serve us anymore, that distracts our attention, we consciously free up space for light, for softness, for movement. In these spaces, we invite our authentic selves, the true subject of our painting, to appear and to flourish: to live.
If your body were a painting: what wold it look like now?
How cluttered is your painting; is their room to breathe?
What ‘decoration or illustration’ s can you remove?
How can you bring your ‘subject’ to life?