When I came into into work this morning, I gasped. I had forgotten that there was a new show put up at the Racine Arts Council, Blase Masini’s Chaos & Order.
But more than just something to look at, this show has true transformative power. It’s a completely different space down here! And while there is definitely a part of me that misses the previous show and its familiar diversity, I’m so excited by the oil, cold wax medium and collage pieces with which artist Masini has bedecked our walls.
To be honest, I can only guess at how these pieces were created. But I do know one thing: the bright and rusty tones reminiscent of sunset, and the deep and merry greens of a warmer spring to come–the colors some of Masini’s works were created with–signal more than just a new show or a different season. Somehow, inside me, they reflect and give voice to the deeper change going on within.
It’s funny how these things hit you. Funny how you realize that things are going on–that things have been going on–just outside the scope of your awareness. Haven’t we all wondered when some change or process was going to bring transformation to us? Haven’t we all thought something like, “How will we know we’re ready to have a baby?” or “Will I ever get that degree?”
As uncomfortable, and even painful, as these questions can be to ask, the transformations they lead to are often bring things we wouldn’t want to change. When we look back on the process of completing them, we realize how very much it fulfills us to own such metamorphoses.
Over the last few years, a lot has happened with my health. Some of these things have been extremely painful. They’ve impacted my and my family’s entire lives, and in their own way, have knocked over the towers of blocks we all build as adults. A tower for career. Another for the bank account. A third for family, a fourth for hobbies. And a fifth, sixth, and seventh for the circle of friends we rely on not only to get us through the tough times, but also to beautify the sometimes plain walls of our lives in much the same way Blase Masini’s works beautify the Racine Arts Council’s. The health thing, as you’ve probably extrapolated by now, scattered my block towers, far and wide.
I’m still picking them up.
That sounds pretty lousy, I know. At times it has been, and sometimes still is. But that’s not the point of this post. The point is this: I think I’m getting to the place, almost two years in, where I’m not just looking back in shock, whispering, “I’m glad this is over; I’m glad that’s over.” I’m starting to really see the transformative power inherent in a serious health crisis. And, even more to the point: Finally, I’m starting to believe I can take advantage of that power.
Coming in today and experiencing Blase’s art up on the walls–pondering the intention that has gone into these pieces; reflecting on the process inherent in any creative journey; considering what meaning Blase’s show brings to me personally–has helped me understand the process that’s been going on inside me all this time. And in a way I never anticipated when I got out of bed this morning. It’s heartened me toward wanting to better fulfill my own life. Made me want to grab it, swing it over my head. Make it work for me, health issue or not. Work with the recognition of the three concepts I considered while interacting with Chaos & Order: intention, process, and meaning.
That’s the strength and sinew of art: its ability to reflect back to us the power and possibility that this life holds.
That’s the strength and sinew of art: its ability to reflect back to us the power and possibility this life holds. To bring us hope on a platter, when we least expect but most need it. And other things I can’t define for you, things you’ll have to come see for yourself. Chaos & Order opens Friday, May 4. The reception and gallery run from 6-9 p.m. Head down to 409 Sixth Street and see what interacting with these pieces sparks in you. Blase will be at the Racine Arts Council to chat about his process, meet the public, and, of course, serve food. Come meet him. Come see the masterful work on exhibit. Come see the power of transformation at work.