On the walls at the MOMA in NYC, there are countless pieces of art. Some you’ll like. Others you won’t. I’d thought about the question : “what makes something' ‘art’?” before but I hadn’t spend any time thinking “what makes something a painting?”
On one of the floors, right when you walk off the staircase, the wall poses the question: What is painting?
“Do you sense how all the parts of a good picture are involved with each other, not just placed side by side? Art is a creation for the eye and can only be hinted at with words.”
(“What is painting” by John Baldessari)
The irony being that the words themselves are a piece of art.
We use words so much and for so many things that we get frustrated when the words aren’t sufficient.
Some parts of life are just like that. The word “grief” doesn’t begin to explain the complexity of the experience. The word “love” has even more depth. Many languages have multiple words for both of these concepts but even then they don’t come near enough to sufficiently describe what goes on inside our souls.
This is why art is so important. The Jackson Pollack painting “She Wolf” (pictured above) has a lot going on. It may be difficult to clearly see the images but the painting may have an “angry” feel to it. Or a “painful” feel to it - similar to the pains of birth. Pollock said, “Any attempt on my part to say something about it, to attempt explanation of the inexplicable, could only destroy it.”
There is much in life we can’t explain with words…love and faith being big parts of my life. But that doesn’t mean we have to stop the attempt to share the concepts. When faith and love are expressed without words, they leave us with a connection and memory that goes beyond what we already know. It allows us to “see” love with fuller colors, more dimension, and it penetrates deep into our souls in ways that words can’t.
Express your thoughts and feelings with others in ways that make their understanding of you come alive. When that happens, your soul might be on display and you may be vulnerable but people also might come for miles around to experience it.
Pollack and Baldessari’s works might be in a museum but people still talk about them.
They pay to see them. They pay for copies of them. And it changes how we see the world.
“But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 ESV