Al Sieradski’s Talk at the Jacobs Gallery Rhythm Opening
To family and friends here, I offer my thanks for supporting my carving habit. From the rest of you, I ask for a couple of minutes to explain my works in this Rhythm exhibit.
I have just three points I want to make: a What, a Why and a How.
What: What is this stuff? Well, stones! Their main feature is that they endure; each records a slice of the history of the earth. The pieces of alabaster, marble, onyx, and calcite here have their own unique stories, too long-winded to detail now. The quick point is that stone sculpture offers art that is 50 million to over a billion years in the making.
Why: Why am I carving? My intention is to carve contemporary abstractions that provide viewers a meditative and calming experience.
Rather than eliciting thoughts from a viewer’s left-brain or right-brain, I hope to evoke emotions from their second-brain—the system of over a half billion neurons lining the gut that regulates mood and influences behavior.
Should you find yourself thinking that you don’t understand my works, please understand that you shouldn’t be thinking at all. Thinking is just bad habit due to exposure to the horror called conceptual-art. Hey! I’m entitled to an opinion here.
My goal is to elicit feelings: specifically, a soothing response to experiencing harmony, coherence, and flow, in short, rhythm. We can call it shape therapy.
How: How can I get you into therapy? I had several ideas to encourage a touchy-feely emotional response rather than a looking-seeing cerebral one.
First, I wanted to shroud one of my pieces to offer a touch-but-don’t-look experience. You would have had to reach through fabric slits and let your sense of touch lead you through the piece. But I decided that most would be unable to trust that there’s nothing creepy inside.
Second, I wanted to ask half of you to close your eyes and explore my works, hands extended like zombies, the other half to act as zombie guides. Sadly, I’m not in charge of the gallery or its insurance policy.
For a more practical approach, I suggest that as you examine a piece simply clear your head of all thoughts about where the shape originates, why it’s titled so, what critter it resembles, or how hard it would be to dust.
Rather just experience how its rhythm affects you. Not everyone can do it. But if you can, I think that you will find it therapeutic.