Reflections on THE Reception

“Rolling Paper I” has been a success right from the moment we hung the show. I don’t make this observation with any intent to boast nor to convey the impression that I’m an accomplished artist. I certainly have a long way to go before I will be satisfied in that regard. “Success” in this case was achieved when experienced folks selected my work to hang at Provisions. “Success” occurred when the fixtures we designed to display my artwork did exactly what we had hoped they would do (which was to allow flexibility in placement and to be totally unobtrusive). And, the feeling of “success” swept over me yet again at the conclusion of the reception at Provisions during last Friday evening’s Arts Night Out in Northampton.

After days of grey skies and torrential weather the day of the reception dawned crystal clear, warm, and wonderful. From the moment we arrived Michelle and I were besieged by old friends and new, by folks from the cycling community and folks from Northampton’s amazing arts community. For over two hours, visitors immersed themselves and engaged us in conversation about cycling and art. To me art is all about personal connection – conversation between and among folks. I can’t begin to express how exhilarating and energizing the whole experience was. When I had a moment to survey the scene I was simply delighted that all of these people were engaged in talking to one another and it was my art efforts that had precipitated most of it.

Sometimes good “vibes” create a flood of positive emotion. But, when coupled with an event that is a complete surprise of the happiest sort, the flood becomes a torrent. While greeting and being occupied with the first wave of visitors, my brother and sister in law arrived with a very special guest. As I did an about face sensing something was distracting everyone, there was my father in his wheelchair with those big old geriatric sunglasses. He was smiling in a way that reminded me immediately of one I had experienced as a small child on Christmas Day – a smile of satisfaction that he had achieved a major league happy surprise. The 93 year old “patron” held court with all in attendance then rolled through the store for a private tour.

My father has a surprising and remarkable artistic sense. It is an attribute of his character I have not seen or heard anyone who has known him speak of. I became aware of this when I began to bring my work in to show him at the nursing home where he resides. I had done this just to have something to talk to him about other than his personal aches and pains and bodily functions. I was thoroughly surprised by his thoughtful analysis and his perspective on composition and theme. I dare say his critiques could parallel those of any art expert. And, as we made the tour his observations left me wondering where did knowledge and sensitivity come from. To say the least it had never been in evidence at any other time in my life. Another “success”, a “not too late” connection between father and son.

Thank you all to those in attendance last Friday, those who have visited Provisions and seen the work during this month and those of you who have provided comments of support via your e-mails and Facebook posts. A special “shout out” to my friends Amy Kemper who won the Elizabeth Killian Prize for HER artwork and Michelle Lombardo who is recovering from extensive hamstring surgery. Both women have been incredibly supportive of my work. They have also been and continue to be wonderful friends.

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