What's Past is Prologue

In the previous incarnation of my website, I described my long-term project “The Playing Space.” This project is the big one. THE collection. It draws from every little bit of who I am as an artist. It digs around in my past, grabbing concepts and imagery and moments, and uses connective tissue to hoist those ideas into the cosmos themselves. Yeah, that sounds grandiose. But dreaming small is something I have never been good at. I want to see this collection as a comprehensive show, a visual art PLAY, that tours to science museums and art galleries and theatres alike. I want the whole collection to tell a story, the story of where we come from and where we’re going, and this moment that is NOW, in this space in which we all perform our tiny scenes together. It is our playing space — all taking place literally in SPACE.

Actually getting this thing made is another story, of course. While my two vibrant kiddos are at school, I’m usually working on commissions and personal gifts. Which is fabulous! But at some point I’m going to need to pause the marketable crafting so I can put some good weeks into finishing my first entry in “The Playing Space.” (Technically “And Make Our Garden Grow” was the first completed piece of the series — you can see a video of it in the “Portfolio” section of this website — but that was a spontaneous entry made specifically for a juried exhibition, “The Art of the Flower,” at the Medford Arts Center here in Jersey. I love the piece’s imagery and message, but its place in “The Playing Space” collection is TBD.)

So in the meantime, my inspiration draws from the eloquent wisdom of two of humanity’s heroes, Carl Sagan and Shakespeare:

“Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.”

- Carl Sagan

"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

- Shakespeare, Macbeth