Tuesday, March 10, 2009

In Search Of: I Was Dreaming I Was Dreaming

The Web is such a sensory feed of memories. I keep a mental list of things I want to find, occasionally remembering to look. Sometimes I check an item of the list, like finding Annie Lennox version of Ladies of the Canyon last month. That one was relatively easy--I knew what I was looking for, and I knew that eventually that track would show up on iTunes. Other search items are not so easy. I remember the television series hosted by Leonard Nimoy, "In Search Of:" a program from my youth that sometimes grabbed my attention, leaving me to an afternoon of wonder, and the stories associated with that wonder.

Though Nimoy often addressed the paranormal, my own "In Search Of" is a simple story about a piece of art. When living in Denmark over a decade ago, I befriended a Mexican family in the congregation of which I was a part. I didn't know the family very long, we never stayed in touch. They did make their mark on me. The mother told me she completed her PhD while raising two children--it was through her story that I believed it was possible for me in my life. She said it was better to study with children because they created a discipline for study--she appreciated and valued her study time more. She and her husband introduced me to chicken mole, probably one of the top 20 meals I have had in my entire life (maybe a topic for another day). The couple also introduced me to a piece of art in their home. The black and white drawing had to be at least 4 feet tall. She gave me the title of the piece in Spanish, which I could not remember. The closest translation of the title was, "I Was Dreaming I Was Dreaming." I only vaguely remember the name of the artist, and I could not spell the name to save my life. It sounded something like "REE-pay." My web searches for this piece has been futile. My friends implied that this artist was moderately successful in Mexico, so I have hope it will show up in my search.

I am not really an art aficionado. I enjoy my own photography. I like to learn about the stories behind the art that grips me. My dear wife and I had a powerful experience viewing Gustav Vigeland's sculptures in Oslo. Vigeland's story for me is an example why I am a proponent of public investment in the arts. My dear wife and I have a cherished piece by John August Swanson that was an ordination gift--we were ordained together. This piece about which I know little is a bold, haunting, yet peaceful rendering of a large, gently curved face with gaping, relaxed eyes with an image of a dreaming self in the upper portion of the piece. The piece is not haunting in a terrible way, but a mysterious way, like a recurring dream to which the meaning is unknown. Mystery is under appreciated. I find this in my own brand of Lutheranism, where everything about our relationship with God has to be so clear and understood. Is love always clear and understood? Though my wife and I are close and woven, she still holds mystery to me, and I find joy in that. Discovery and mystery do not have to be painful. Maybe this piece of art will always be a mystery.

But I am always open to receive a lead about this art. I would love to see it again.

1 comment:

hawk said...

I'm still trying to find Lyle Lovett's cover of "Friend of the Devil". If you come across it, let me know.

Stephen