WHERE ARE ALL THESE WOMEN GOING?
© 2008 - Sheldon Heitner
Direction, if nothing else, is purposeful and we so live in a universe where direction and purpose are “blindly” respected.
We are so sure - so determined – that off we go, from that very moment our parents' let us loose and we lurch “forward” towards the world with those first tentative and halting steps. But then, often falling to the ground, we come face-to-face with another ally of direction, gravity...and up we go - perhaps crying, perhaps with a laugh - moving, moving on again and again.
We seem to live between the tangents of a Cartesian two dimensional graph, and set out in life trying to find our way back to other dimensions that perhaps existed before our simplest and most ancient memories.
Did I say back?
Can I ever free myself from the dictatorship of sense: Of up and down and right and left, heavy, light....?
“Every individual painting is a spiritual moment,” says Roberta.
She points to one called “Seeking the perfect blue” and turns it up to show to me the surface, freed from a strong light.
Seeking? Is that what I see before me?
Or am I sensing something completely other than this seeking. Seeking implies direction, implies linearity, but here, in this particular smaller and more intense work - or the larger ones where that intensity and light seems to explode away - there is a calm even in the captured turbulence, an essential LACK of direction.
Can we approach these paintings as autobiography?
Do we - should we - follow the idea of water to that incisive birthing, the aquatic world of an amniotic fluid we populated before birth?
No...still no, because in these notions of birth and biography we again find ourselves confronted with direction, and here it is not direction at all that counts, but “being”. Calm, meditative...
Look at this work.
Forget where you've come from and where you're going. Ignore what you've been told to see, even forget what others say about you. Stand in front of these paintings and be like that young woman who remarked “I feel as if I am in front of a mirror reflecting a true women's identity, not looking into the face of a stranger, but rather seeing in these paintings ourselves, as we see ourselves.”
But I am a man.
What do I see? Water yes. Form, yes.... Yet there is no shore. There is no repère that can give me direction, that can “point” me to a meaning. No up, no down. Water, no gravity.
Are they based on photography? On that technique of infinitely stopping time and light...
Walk to one of the larger paintings.
Encompass the frame, the cadre and then let it dissolve, dissipate like a fog until you enter totally into the center of these non-centered works.
Pass by the smaller arrays, the sharp lines of the boxed paintings, envision the frame, and then together let them meld into a whole...
Again, these are not devices to focus your attention, but dialogues that have no beginning or end, but invite you endlessly to enter into them, to be, to exist with them.
Where are these women going?
Or does the question itself deny the answer.
There is NO direction.
Even these women that we see don't really exist OUTSIDE of the moment that is each painting.
They are neither going, nor not...they simply are there.
They simply are impregnated with the context of their seeming suspension, and that act of suspension is a call upon us, the observer, to suspend our own movement before them.