Friday, September 25, 2009

Change the World

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

I do not think I fully understood that I wanted to change the world (and in what way) until about eight years ago. Like most transitions perhaps, mine was a long, slow process, a series of events more than one life-altering one. I was thinking about this recently because someone sent me a quote (and true to my nature, I remember the concept, not the details) that said something to the effect that when a creative person is told “No,” it only motives her to work harder.

Does a person start out by thinking, “I will change the world”? I suspect we each just do what we feel passionately about until the path of past action leads to a clearly focused and more aware future. In my case, I loved creating art of the human form. Years ago, I could not put words to why I was doing what I was doing. But almost every composition I designed involved anatomy – truly the Grand Design and so worthy of respect and admiration.

However, my work has been barred from being exhibited in many places. I often heard the rule “No nudes!” Period. No argument. Although the public seemed enthusiastic about the “classiness” of my nudes when they were seen, many times I was not even given the opportunity to show my work to try to make it an exception to the rule.

Normally the person telling me this would say, “I personally do not have any problems with nudes, but my boss . . . (or the public - some faceless entity I could never speak with) made the decision in fear of a complaint . . .” In 2002, after hanging my exhibit, I was told, “It is against the law for us to censure your work, but we would like you to consider that 1, 2, and 3 (3 specific artworks named, all male nudes) might offend children who enter.” In other words, please censure yourself on the artworks that we are concerned about.

So, now, I know. I want to change the world. Corny but true: love can do this. Art is one of the ways in which we should be safe to explore our humanity. Shame and embarrassment are often misused. I am not depicting violence or hateful ideas. And I need to use the nude human form to remind us of the better qualities in ourselves. Here is my bronze titled “Infinite Love,” a composition of two human figures embedded inside of the mathematical symbol for Infinity. Enjoy.


7 comments:

Jo Castillo said...

This is amazing. Simple but with such a great story emerging from it. Lovely.

Andrew said...

Infinite Love is an absolutely brilliant concept!

Anonymous said...

I love your "Infinite love" sculpture!

Anonymous said...

Right On Kelly !
Every ripple in the ocean counts in the direction of flow.
I understand what you are saying, only took me longer to arrive.
Best Wishes,
Gene P.

Jeanne Rhea said...

I completely understand where you are coming from. This sculpture is beautiful. I can only see beauty in it.

I am not nearly the sculptor that you are (technically not a sculptor at all), but I have had the same problem with creating the nude form in my art and trying to get it in shows.

I have in my inbox right now three calls for artists to submit art for shows. All have variations on the statement of, "We reserve the right to reject any artwork that we feel is inappropriate for our audience. Sexually explicit art will be rejected." There is nothing that says that art depicting violence will be rejected. Of course, they may consider that as inappropriate, but feel it is necessary to mention sexually explicit art, but not art depicting violence.

Keep up the work. I will be right here cheering you on! If anyone can make a difference, you can.

Laura Grimes said...

Americans are hyper-sexualized and yet find nudity in art shocking.

Bravissima to Kelly. Expressed my own thoughts exactly.

Kelly Borsheim said...

Thank you all. I have received private messages of support, too, but would like to emphasize that there are many ways to support the arts and an artist, even if one cannot or is not moved to purchase an actual work of art.

And each time someone posts a comment on my blog, the world knows that someone is reading and responding. Each time someone shares a link to my blog (or others), the word is spread a little more . . . Our conversation can pick up some speed.

There are other ways to help and I do appreciate the blog donations, no matter how small. I know that times are a little bit shaky for many right now, which makes your support even more thoughtful.

We only have control over what we say and what we do. Each time we act in accordance with our beliefs or the things we want to change in this world, we DO change the world. Each and every one of us.

Thank you for your post, your interest, and your continuing encouragement. grazie a tutti!

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