What I See: Museum Church
I used to go to church, now I tend to go to museums. I am fortunate to be five minutes from the Montclair Art Museum and thirty five minutes from Manhattan. When I got home from hospice after my sister passed, that afternoon I had the inclination to go see the Georgia O’Keefe watercolors in Montclair. My cousin came with me. It was a deeply emotional and even spiritual experience. We spent about an hour moving about the gallery, sharing our thoughts quietly, he is an architect and a “closet” artist like me, a kindred spirit. I noted that the watercolors exhibited were of New Mexico which the curators described as O’Keefe’s “spiritual home.” I can only think that her gift was to translate the spiritual encounter she may have had in those surroundings through her works of art. My responses to the images of the sweeping hills, mountains and ethereal starred skies were powerful and visceral, I almost felt that the smoothness of the brushstrokes to be stroking and soothing me as the viewer.
Before entering the O’Keefe gallery, we moved through an exhibit by Saya Woolfalk, titled The Empathics. The above image is of a classical statue, part of the museum collection, adorned with a cape which is part of the exhibit. You can read more about it by clicking on the museum link, there are many other impressive elements to the artist’s work and even an Institute of Empathy website that adds a philosophical dimension to it. I was taken by this graceful figure and the symbolism of the butterflies which made me think of my sister.
I have no images of the Georgia O’Keefe paintings which soothed me so well this past Thursday. But here are a few more of the statue, interspersed with images of driving through Manhattan on other days of pilgrimage to my art churches. It’s what I see.