October 18, 2003

The Hand Doctor

At the inauguration of my exhibition, the lovely and brilliant, Angeles Arrien
spoke about how in indigenous cultures, the role of doctor, or healer, was identified by different types. She related my work, or the work of a painter, as being that of a hand doctor, meaning that what has been created with the hands has the capacity to heal. Whether or not the paintings have the capacity to heal others as well as the artist who made them I am not sure, but this idea that Angeles presented, above all, has stayed with me since that night.

I do know that, literally speaking, hands do heal, because with my own hands, through the practice of Reiki, I have healed a chronic vertigo (dizziness) condition of 6 years, that had invaded my sense of well being, and no one else could heal. I like the idea that my paintings can heal since there are enough clever ideas out there that may bring to the foreground the problems in our very disturbed world, but they often seem to exacerbate the issues rather than offer insight or solace.

One of the most important questions that I’ve been asking myself for a long time, is how can I best serve, or what do I have to offer others from the best of myself? One of my great mentors, the late Italian composer, Giacinto Scelsi, said that the work of an artist is that of a channeler, and should be approached with extreme seriousness and responsibility, and not of a virtuoso with an inflated ego. The work of an artist, like that of meditation, he said, affects the whole electro-magnetic field, which means that it arrives on some level by the mere act of doing it. Despite my belief in this idea, I have found it difficult to find my way into this world. So did he, and his work was known only in small circles, until after his death.

A practice that I’ve experimented with that relates to healing is what I’ve called my Sympathetic Magic paintings, but I’ll tell you more about that next time. I don’t want to inundate you with too much at once, and of course it will give you reason to return.

The photos of my exhibit are still up; just scroll down or look under the title, Opening Night, October 3, 2003.


Posted by Barbara at October 18, 2003 11:25 AM