I went and wandered through the High Museum of Art today. I had a blast! Although I had invited a few friends to come with me, most of them were busy. So, I decided to go walk around on my own. I was there for nearly two hours, and saw less than half of the exhibitions, so I definitely need to go back.
What I found most interesting, though, was the exhibit of folk art. There were a couple of paintings by Mattie Lou O’Kelley, an Atlanta woman, who painted large canvas as it was laid flat on her table, moving around the table and painting upside down at the top of the painting. She used stippling to make these beautiful images of her family’s farm or a long ago yard sale. There’s something really incredibly powerful about being transported into these spaces – simple, every day images – that would have remained with this artist from her childhood. What was so special about these images that they would have compelled her to put these images onto canvas, to share them with strangers? They were really lovely.
Another Atlantan – Linda Anderson – had some featured works, as well. The one I most enjoyed was ‘the kiss,’ a depiction of the Garden of Eden, set in North Georgia. The painting features Adam and Eve kissing, as Eve plucks the fruit – a Georgia Peach – from above her head. As they partake in their pleasure, the animals and angels watch on in pleasure and horror. The peach tree and couple are surrounded by the north Georgia mountains, palm trees and fronds, exotic animals, angels, and a road leading out of Eden – a road which turns out to be the serpent itself. It’s a stunning piece.
Some other paintings in the same exhibit had been scratched out with house paint on found portions of roofing tin. It’s inspiring to be reminded of the power of the creative impulse in people, and none so much as those who lack the means to create with traditional art supplies. To see a sheet of tin and be inspired to create on that – well, it’s just sort of magical, really.
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip today, however brief it may have been. Strolling through the halls alone, examining some works and passing by others, was a moment of quiet and a time of reconnecting with my own creative process. I’ve much more to see, and I can’t wait to go back and view the rest of the exhibit!