Focus on Art
By Rob Mohr
Deep Fun: The Game of Art
At play, Lakeside artist Eduardo Xilonzochitl painted exotic animals on telephone poles along the road to San Juan Cosala, Estela Hidalgo combined found objects to create Ajijic’s new lakeside “Tears for the Forest” sculpture, and Judy Dykstra-Brown using found objects created story boxes and organized Art Play Groups. These Lakeside artists joined international greats Joseph Cornell (1903-1972) who created tiny universes in boxes; Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) who saw as a child to create art that led to the school of abstract expressionism; Henri Matisse (1869-1954) who painted natural forms and hidden emotions through primitive eyes; and, Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) who assembled found materials as psychologically evocative cultural comment. All created breakthrough works by playing with images, found objects, and anything else that caught their fancy. (Photo: Kandinsky, The Elephant)
These artists invite all of us to come out and play. Are you ready?
In creative play we constantly destroy old understanding and rebuild new worlds guided by new sight. Sculptor Constantin Brancusi, striving for primitive simplicity in his works, said, “Who is no longer a child is no longer an artist. At play, my friend Richard Craven collected everything that was not nailed down to create evocative, passion filled works of art. His playful approach led him to mail postcards full of stamped images to people all over the world. A new postcard school of art was born. William Spear, my design professor in architectural school, taught me to collect wonderfully shaped colored stones found along beaches. John Wilkes, a dreamer friend, built his home from drift wood, bottles and other objects brought in by the tide in Cherry Grove, NC. My own work has included collages made from bits and pieces of paper and images cut from magazines. Play is at the core of all of these appropriation and reordering processes, in which divergent thinking leads to break barriers, see new connections, enlarge our knowledge, and create new worlds.
Here at Lakeside Art Play Group members assembled art-boxes filled with ‘art’ pages created by other members of the group, a process which allowed them individually and collectively to break into new creative realms. Psychologists have concluded that play, as creative re-ordering, opens our very being and enables emotional discharges which give new life and meaning to the objects, stories, or music we create. The grace of participating in this process of playfully reordering is freedom from old patterns, and new understandings. Play (and the play of art) creates a unique language and a vital new way of being alive in the world. Brian Boyd, in On the Origin of Stories (or Art), wrote. “We entertain and edify one another by making stuff up.”
Try your hand!
The web site www.playingbyart.com allows the user to appropriate parts of great painting to create their own new work of art. Give it a try. Google - artworks created from junk - and discover a whole new world of art and, then, imagine what you might create with the flotsam that covers the beaches along Lake Chapala. Who knows, you might become the next Carol Bove. See Carol’s art at www.assemblageartists.com/.
Isaac Newton thinking of his creativity wrote, “I do not know what I appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only a boy playing at the seashore.” Become that child - you too can be that little boy or girl at play.