The Semi-Finalist periodically sheds light on shows, projects and writing. This is where that happens.
Notes of Persistent Awe writer Benjamin Terrell was recently invited to write the press release for "I Walk Thru Walls," the online show featured on Mepaintsme from March 8 - April 18.
The Death of Benign Authority
by JJ Cromer
2021, mixed media on paper, 11" x 8.5"
"Many men drove Magic, but Magic stayed behind. Many strong men lied, they only passed through Magic and out the other side."
- Leonard Cohen
More important than whether you believe in magic is the acknowledgment that magic exists only where there is belief. If one can't imagine a bridge between the visible and the invisible, then such a chasm can never be crossed. More than just a separate world, magic is a "middle" -- much like a life that is lived between the memorable. Magic's marrow is the poetry of the unspoken, the silence of the unsayable, and the ghost in the gap between translations. Magic isn't the mountain itself but rather the realization that the mountain top forms the bottom of an unfathomable sky.
"We are surrounded by the absurd excess of the universe. By meaningless bulk, vastness without size, power without consequence. The stubborn iteration that is present without being felt."
- Jack Gilbert
The artist is the most qualified interpreter of the incantations of our spirit-selves. The unnamable, untethered essence of what is commonly called "spirit" is easy to catch, hard to hold but also almost impossible to portray in a painting due to the finite's inability to define the infinite. Spirit and humans were once Gods, Goddesses, and great things, but because the ones that came before us believed themselves separate, we are caught in a cycle of always relearning and reinterpreting a planet we thought we would leave. Luckily, as the body fades the spirit flourishes and likewise in painting -- when greatness is articulated something transfers from artist to object that will forever reignite in each new viewing.
Every great painting is a postcard to our future selves, but also a breath and bookmark in the middle of our eternal story that is always unfolding. Magic, too, is a necessary pause and punctuation and, in its reflectivity, it removes any illusions of separation. Endings are necessary only for the written word. "Middles" are places where both sides are realized as one -- points of connectivity contracting and expanding. These perpetual places of passage are hallways to the heart and artistic arteries from which flow everything seemingly hidden and everything genuinely revealed.
- Introduction by Benjamin Terrell