Friday, January 17, 2014

Grace, Ribbons, Abstractions, and Transformations

On Sunday, I spent the morning enchanted (but only in an online way) by an arts project at Grace Cathedral--ah, Grace Cathedral.  If I ever relocate to the Pacific Coast, San Francisco would appeal for so many reasons, not the least of which would be Grace Cathedral.  I go to their website, and I am laid low by envy, envy and the desire for Evensong and labyrinths and Gregorian chant and medieval looking stone surroundings.

But I digress.  Back to the art project, which I first read about in this article.  The artist hung ribbons of many colors in the sanctuary.  It took me some sleuthing to discover that there's a video component; at first I thought that the colors came solely from the light coming in the stained glass windows and the ribbons. 

 The Grace Cathedral website describes the project thusly:  "As a part of 100 Years of Music at Grace Cathedral, visual artist Anne Patterson created Graced With Light, a stunning, music-inspired installation that incorporates Grace Cathedral’s vaulted ceiling arches and video projection. Ms. Patterson envisioned a series of light pathways, connecting heaven and earth, manifest as ribbons. The ribbons carry our prayers, dreams and wishes skyward, and, in turn, grace streams down the ribbons to us. " 

I can't imagine constructing such a thing.  I've thought of something similar for Pentecost, but been stymied by the logistics, logistics which would be even tougher in the Grace Cathedral space.   How does one get a tall enough ladder?  How does one get the ladder in between the pews?

Come to find out, it took 20 miles of ribbon and 8 days to assemble.  And this article says, "It took the artist months to prepare, which she did in her art studio in Manhattan by constructing a 3/16-inch scale model of it with embroidery floss. Then, on site, it took Patterson and the Grace Cathedral community eight days to hand-assemble the project."  Embroidery floss!

It's projects like this one that make me feel like I am not nearly dedicated enough to my artistic visions.

 I love the abstract nature of the art.  It seems like the kind of piece that even an atheist could live with, maybe even love.  It makes me think about my poems and makes me want to go back to make them more abstract.  I think I have a tendency not to trust my reader enough.  I am always tempted to explain too much.  I want to be sure that everyone knows how clever I've been.  I'm not happy to admit this, but there it is.

 I wonder what it's like to worship in that space with all the ribbons.  And there are yoga classes in the space; I would love that. 

This project has started me thinking about the cold, clinical nature of so many of the spaces I'm in each and every day:  the gym, the spaces outside my office, the classroom, my church.  How I would love to have spaces that inspire mysticism and/or wonder.  I'd settle for spaces of beauty.

Perhaps I love holidays like Christmas so much because so many of our spaces become transformed, and we feel like we have permission to make these transformations.  How can we get more of that quality into the rest of the year?  


Maureen said...

Love the effect of the ribbons and the light. The ribbons also have symbolic meaning, the opening of the space to all and everything encompassing God's creation.

inab said...

Absolutely amazing - makes a few ribbons over the doors at Pentecost seem, well... And the symbolism - Awesome...