Sunday, January 30, 2011
The Dark Side
Thanks for all your good wishes on Sunday. A gal couldn't ask for a nicer send-off for my third trek over the ceiling, which I'm now fondly referring to as the Khyber Pass. If things get really nasty up there, I may be soon be calling it the Donner Pass. Unfortunately, I didn't cover much ground over the weekend. I got as far as the ceiling (see above), and then I ran out of steam. And then there's the whole issue of making a living. While I enjoy self-inflicted torture, there's no money in it, thus the day job beckons. It's become somewhat difficult to concentrate on my other work when I know the Whore of Babylon is waiting for me to recount her rank fornications from my wobbly ladder.
Speaking of which, as you can see from the photo, I'm having a blast. The photo's cropped, so you can't see the guy off to the right, holding the bull whip. I pay him to thrash me every six minutes, six times in quick succession. When he reaches 666 thrashes, we take a coffee break. That thing around my neck is a pillow, the kind you wear on an airplane. It's not terribly comfortable, but it keeps my head more or less intact. The positions I have to hold for extended periods are Satanic. Kevin at the gallery calls it Bad Yoga. I just call it pain.
Yup, so that's where my journey begins next time I go to the gallery. Now you get why I'm not hightailing it over there in any hurry. Besides, I prefer to do that stretch of ceiling when I'm alone in the gallery. It's just way too embarrassing to have anyone else around, since I spew profanities for the entire three feet. I have to. I don't know what else to do with myself. Chant Buddhist mantras? Recite the Lord's Prayer? Nah, I'd rather curse the kingdoms, and all the horses therein. It's much more satisfying, and then later, when I'm home and relaxed and fetal, I can whimper my prayers of repentance. My evening oblations consist of lengthy prayers to absolve my foul-mouthed execrations, and a Sudoku puzzle to eradicate any other sins that may have gone under the radar. (Or "pray-dar", as some Christians like to say).
You may think it odd that I allow profanities into the sacred circle of my installation. I don't see it as a contradiction; I see it as the fullness of God. Most people believe that God encompasses all that is "good", and that the sacred world is comprised of that which exists within the light. They forget that when God created light, He also created darkness. You can't have one without the other. Thus the fullness of God is expressed only when darkness is embraced. This is Gnostic, Christian, Tantric, Kabbalistic, Vedic, Taoist, Jungian, and good ol' common sense.
My text work embraces the shadow element of God. Not just the current installation, but each piece, and the body of work as a whole. There's a dark current running through all of it. I don't discuss it; it's too personal. But it's there, and the reason it's there is that the work feels incomplete without it. I don't seriously believe that cussing up a storm is a sacred act. But I wholeheartedly believe that when we acknowledge the fullness of our humanity, the darkness of our psyche as well as the infinite love in our hearts, we come that much closer to the essence of God.
I know that I greatly benefit by allowing the darkness a small portion of my creative work. And the truth is, if you don't embrace the darkness in one form or another, it'll express itself without your permission. And that, my friend, can get way ugly. I know you know what I'm talking about. The best thing you can do is to acknowledge your shadow and give it a voice. Think of it as releasing a pressure valve.
Tomorrow is February 1. Back to the ladder for Madge; my wobbly stairway to heaven. May you and your dark side have a blessed day!