|Hannah Montalvo, Diary, 2012 (detail). Mixed Media on Board, 60 x 52 x 1 1/4 inches.|
...the revitalization of experimental art following WWII signified a renewed interest in freedom of expression, spontaneity, and unorthodox materials—un art autre (art of another kind)—a radical break with all traditional notions of order and composition in a movement toward something wholly "other." —Excerpt from the exhibition catalogue for Art of Another Kind, International Abstraction and the Guggenheim, 1949−1960. On view at the Guggenheim until Sept. 12, 2012.
my journey home two weeks ago began under sunny skies in vermont with me crossing my fingers and hoping that the day would stay dry, at least until i could get hannah's painting safely back to maine. (major thunderstorms were in the forecast for the afternoon.) the painting was too big to fit anywhere except in the back of the pickup truck so.... hannah and a friend carefully loaded it, wrapped it in a blue plastic tarp and strapped it down with bungie cords. i was now on my own—hannah would remain in vermont for most of the summer—and i had the responsibility of transporting my daughter's artwork home intact.
within an hour of unpacking her work and getting it in the garage, dark clouds brought thunder and lightning and rain which continued, on and off, for the rest of the afternoon.
last saturday ed and i hung the large abstract* painting. it took a few hours, including the time ed needed to locate, purchase, and attach the proper bracket hooks on the painting's frame and on the wall in order to mount and securely hold the 40 pounder on the only spot in the house where it would fit—the wall halfway up the staircase to the second floor.
i'm glad this piece from our girl's semester of work is with us. i joked with hannah that i should place candles and flowers under this painting, and some of her others also located in the upper hall, as a kind of shrine dedicated to her since she—and her creative spirit—dominate that space.
of course, the idea of candles and flowers and shrines was just meant to be funny, but the idea of a place where her creative spirit resides when she is not physically present is no joke.
she is with us.
within the combination and manipulation and transformation of basic materials—wood, paper, canvas, fabric, ink, paint—is inhabited space. her creative energy lives up there.
*some people call abstract art weird. sometimes they don't understand. sometimes it's hard to understand. some people say abstract art is disconnected from reality. that's true, if by disconnected from reality we mean it doesn't represent external reality, it isn't a replica of the obvious, of what we capture with our eyes, or the way a camera lens "sees." but there is more to reality than this. not all reality is beheld with our eyes, not all reality is witnessed externally. abstract art is disconnected from reality as we see it, but certainly not as we know it and discern it inside of ourselves.