|Sheep of Insight, oil by Dahlov Ipcar|
in the exhibit "Blue Moons & Menageries"
Bates Art Museum through October 6
This is perhaps particularly important when the news of our day to day lives is as dark as it has been of late. If you, like me, are a citizen of the world's richest nation -- a country which makes up 5% of the world's population and consumes 25% of its energy resources -- you'd expect the default value to be one of generosity.
Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case. Rather, our default appears to be fear. Which on the ground is translating into a new "zero tolerance" policy for immigrants and asylum seekers at our southern border. More than 2,000 children have been separated from their families in this ignominious action, an attempt by the President to bully Congress into passing the immigration legislation he wants.
Let's be 1,000% clear: separating children from their families is an act of torture.
In the meantime, I, while speaking out, sending money, and planning to put my body in the streets to protest the regime that is now running our country, was also able to enjoy my first world privileges and take in this exciting new exhibit at the Bates Art Museum today.
"Dahlov Ipcar: Blue Moons & Menageries" is brilliant to behold. In color, yes, but most importantly in the maker's internal vision of life.
Like every Mainer I've ever met, Ipcar's vision is completely her own. Unique. Visionary. Her animals have third eyes. The painted insides of their bodies often represent the worlds around them. Looking at these paintings, I could feel the expansive peace that rushes in and opens out when one looks into one's own mind to see such images.
She seems to have expressed her magical vision of the world effortlessly, in uncountable paintings (some oil, some watercolor); wood block prints; soft sculptures; textile collage; needlepoint; drawings; books...and farming.
Continuing to make art to her final days, Dahlov Ipcar lived in Georgetown, Maine, off of Bath, until she was 99 years old.
THIS is what it means to be an American. Here is empathy and compassion, for the world via animals, extended far beyond the individual self. This is why we create.
Go make some art. And, failing that, get to Lewiston to see this exhilarating, inspiring, joyous exhibit.