16 October 2006

Plain Beauty

Today’s a sick day for me, and it’s also raining outside. Sam is asleep in his green-plaid dog bed next to a small space heater on the floor. His own personal fireplace.

Yesterday I didn’t feel well either, and at around 4 o’clock Jeremy decided that he needed to spray the entire house with Lysol (even though the germs had already done their damage to us both.) I opted to escape until the fumes settled: A. because the smell of Lysol makes me choke, and B. because I glanced at the clock and realized that there was only one hour left to see Evie Coates’s art exhibit.

Yesterday was a fitting day to see some art. My dad, a conservative accountant, always loved art museums. He had been to the Louvre in Paris, and had a membership to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Often when I visited, we’d embark on fieldtrips downtown for lunch and a peek at what the Impressionists were up to. Similar to his habit of photographing anything potentially symbolic (like a Starbucks sign) he also insisted on renting the $7 headphones and cassette tape that accompanied new exhibits. He didn’t want to miss out on any information or important detail. I preferred to see each painting or sculpture on my own, without the droning narrative.

The Art and Invention Gallery is just a few blocks away from my house, and there’s always a dog lounging out front or just inside the doorway. I arrived 45 minutes before closing, on what was the last day of Evie’s show. Her artwork is both beautiful and rustic, so very imaginative, and it makes me wish I lived on a farm. If you’ve seen Andrew Peterson’s album artwork for Behold The Lamb of God, then you’ve seen Evie’s work...paint and ink set against a collage of old barn planks, rusty nails, scraps of screen door, and assorted bric-a-brac.

This particular exhibit was called Plain Beauty ~ Places in America's Heart, and I was captivated by each and every layer of metal and wood. Evie had also tacked short essays below each group of her pieces-- explaining vividly, though not too literally, her inspiration for her collection (much better than a casette tape.) I could see her there, perched on the crooked steps of some old house with no neighbor in sight, sipping on lemonade and watching a windmill spin against the sky.

I stayed long enough to gaze at each piece for a few lingering moments, and then revisited a couple that I found most intriguing.

Though I definitely felt inspired to come straight home and paint something (as I most always do when I see other people’s art) my head was growing foggy, and the Lysol-drenched sofa beckoned. Jeremy and I spent the evening sharing a box of Kleenex, eating soup and cheese-bread, and watching the Mets game. Creativity is on hold for a few days, it appears.


jason said...

hi cousin, i think of you guys and the soon to be new casella often. hope that you are feeling great.

Christine said...

I wish I could have seen her work too - it looks whimsical.

Jenni said...

Thanks for introducing me to Evie Coates - her art is very cool.