Sunday, August 2, 2009

Clean your glass!

Back in the day, I was a serious cigar smoker, smoking three to four cigars a day. Frequent smoking within the confines of my pickup truck rendered the windows translucent with an ashen film. Over time visibility became compromised. My daughter Karli, not one to hold her tongue, would berate me, “Daddy, you need to clean your glass! “ I would take exception just on GP, though ultimately grateful for the miracle of Windex and her reminder. Clarity is not to be taken for granted.

Renewed clarity has indefinable value. Numerous derivatives of the theological notion “tableau rasa,” a blank slate, level playing field, fresh beginnings, attest to this claim. Rid of our presumptions, expectations and the plethora of preconceptions that govern our perspective, we can embrace the totality of the blank slate. I’ve had lots of help keeping my glass clean. In fact, art, like Windex, has remarkable cleansing properties.

First Friday last, I hung a provocative show by Ashley Flynn. It was a defining moment for me. I was required to exercise choice. Had my glass been cloudy, I might have missed a “diamond in the rough” opportunity. No chance of that, Ashley’s work screamed and I heard it. It stood straight up and I embraced it; traditional Knapp Gallery art docile and pedestrian by comparison. The artist, a fourth year student at Moore College of Art and Design, was heralded by Philadelphia-based art critic, Libby Rosof, as unpredictable in the July 10th edition of her Blog “ "Art without borders –Ashley Flynn at Knapp.“

Embracing the essence of unpredictability carries us out beyond our comfort zone and makes us vulnerable. Oftentimes, the translucence of our visibility is self-imposed as a defense against such undesirable states. Ashley’s art made us vulnerable. Yet in that exposed condition, the human condition, confronting our weakened nature, something happened, we found healing. In that healing, I have found freedom. How about you? Transparency has its rewards. The two-sidedness of cleaned glass is nothing to fear; nor should the gallery experience be.

So, while the collective we tend to be put off by many traditional gallery environs, find comfort knowing the Knapp Gallery, under new direction, is redefining the Contemporary Art experience. Okay, so I have a sense of drama about me. It’s clear to me; freedom affords us a renewed sense of appreciation for awe and excitement. I’ve taken off the blinders. I can see again! I’m blaming it on Karli; she got me to clean my glass. So to get the party started, I’m declaring today “National Glass Cleaning Day.” All in favor?