Monday, February 18, 2008

Frida Kahlo

Today, I spent an afternoon with my mom and step dad at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We had tickets for an early viewing of the Frida Kahlo Exhibit. This post is not intended as a review of Kahlo's work, but what it said to me.

Someone with a closed mind would find Frida Kahlo's painting as strange, or they might wonder why she painted herself over and over again. It takes someone willing to stop and really look at, and also to explore, the mind of Frida Kahlo to discover her excellence. In that, I discovered a major component of her work that I related to. For better or worse, many artists, and definitely me as a poet, are caught between two places. The first is centered on our ability to look at the world with a brightness of love, pleasure and wonder. We see color more vividly, hear sounds more precisely and can find vast arrays of texture in every aspect of the world. Kahlo, too, was able to show this through her artistry.

However, many artists, again including myself, feel pain more severely, too. We suffer in the knowing of how good life can be because the glory seems too much beyond our daily lives. Kahlo's pain is crystal clear in most of her self portrait pieces. It is her way of letting people into the sadness of her inner thoughts. I identify with Kahlo in this way, and I believe many, if not most, artists exist in similar fashion.

Over dinner, when discussing Frida Kahlo, I did not mention my thoughts as stated above. My step dad compared me to her, and the duality of both our artistic forms was evident and worth detailing here. I am hoping that my nature to be "cursed" by feeling pain more sharply then most people, combined with the heightened level of joy I can find in places where others do not even hazard to search, will ultimately lead to happiness on a level few could possibly wish for. This life, mine as a poet, has been a battle, and one that has had me on far too many edges. They say "no pain, no gain." Time, and my pen, will tell.

10 comments:

Sandy Carlson said...

Scott,

These lines:
I am hoping that my nature to be "cursed" by feeling pain more sharply then most people, combined with the heightened level of joy I can find in places where others do not even hazard to search, will ultimately lead to happiness on a level few could possibly wish for. This life, mine as a poet, has been a battle, and one that has had me on far too many edges. They say "no pain, no gain." Time, and my pen, will tell.

are amazing. You speak for many through these words. The artist's capacity to feel deeply and willingness to do so are attributes for which he or she pays dearly.

My introduction to Kahlo came in a children's picture book that tells the story you delineate here, though it says it, obviously, for a much younger audience. The wisdom is the same.

PS Thanks for adding to Adella's story. At this point, the whole thing is so unlike the thing she wrote in her head that she plans to write that one down to see into how many directions one story line can go. What a lesson! Thanks for being a part of it.

STP said...

Thank you, Sandy. It is so hard sometimes, but when I think about it honestly, would I ever give up my poetry for more peace and less pain? I don't think so. That being said, I'd still like more peace and less pain!

Adella's story was fun. I just looked in to see how it was progressing, and outside of one unusual road taken, it looks like a successful adventure for her.

Scott G said...

I haven't been to many art exhibits. Actually, none since I was in high school many, I mean, a few years ago. I need to start again.

STP said...

I find I learn so much from them and enjoy them a great deal. I would love a full fledged Pollack, though.

Poetikat said...

Although only having been to a few exhibits - Picasso's work at the Ottawa Art Gallery comes to mind, I do have a strong appreciation for art and the artist. I don't know Frida Kahlo's work, though I know of her.
We have a few original pieces in our home - not big names, but that's of no matter as we don't want something for its notoriety as opposed to its intrinsic value to us. There is nothing I treasure that I would ever part with for any amount of money.
Your words, as Sandy said speak for so many of us. The torture of an artist for ultimate creation is a bittersweet endurance. The worst, I think, is that struggle to produce something that you know is good - mediocre fails to satisfy the creator and not being able to create is soul-crushing. However, crafting something of worth is like a Renaissance, but is so short-lived.
Kat
P.S. On that note, I've just posted something that should keep me going for a few days.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I love visual art and go to as many exhibitions as I can. I love Frida Kahlo's work, she was incredibly courageous and lived with huge amounts of pain through her life, not just due to being extra sensitive as an artist but because she was severly disabled in an accident. Did you see the film about her life - starring and directed by Selma Hayeck?

STP said...

Yep. I saw the movie and loved it. Having seen it actually added to the exhibit for me.

catherine said...

Interesting, I wish that I could see that exhibit, too.

STP said...

She was a remarkable woman.

Seanna said...

Keep up the good work.