In our world of noise, time-struggle, cynicism, secularism and conflict on all levels, recovering our senses that we might see more, hear more and feel more may appear a step too far for many of us. With all the technological advances that should release us and make us time rich, we become exhausted and the notions of rest, recuperation and mindfulness are an ever-distant goal on our horizon.
‘Today, in a world full of conflict and shocks, art bears witness to the most precious part of what makes us human … At a time of global disorder, art embraces life.’
How do we shut out all distractions and discover something fresh? Most of us cannot step out of our lives, but perhaps a touch of myopia might be a way to leave in order to return. Nourishment for the heart and soul or spirit is not bought off the shelf and thrown into our bodies. Rather we must take time for careful selection, to eat, chew, swallow and digest, caring for our well-being. Attending to the micro might allow entrance into the macro.
This theme-based competition devotes itself to evoking a higher consciousness, to travelling a path looking for mystery and wonder, the immaterial mystery of the numinous or ‘Spirit’. Will we allow others treading this journey to impact us?
In silence and stillness, we can open ourselves up to fresh experiences for which we have no name. We can ponder the name of God and perhaps relate to that word for the first time. The artists featured in this book invite us to muse with them on their experiences, which they lay before us in their work – a heartland of fullness. They reduce, simplify, purify and attempt to align themselves with that which is beyond complete expression.
Historically, art has narrated stories with images we can relate to, allowing us to engage in rational thought harking back to our story-absorbed history. Some of the curated images here are figurative, others abstract. Abstract art can reach into the uncharted territory like a wind we cannot see but can feel. Some are canvas and paper or photographs; others cloth and stitch; 3D metalwork and pottery; bronze and stone sculpture; glass and pipework; a movement-sensitive robot alongside an interactive sign with sonic sensors. All the pieces cry out for time and patience to mine the notions within.
What does the theme ‘God is…’ ask of each of us? While our experiences of life are different, we are all damaged, we all cry out in pain and pleasure. Our commonality lies in our tears and our fears, but also, I hope, in our joys. There is so much we do not understand and have no answers for, but grasping the opportunity for exploration energises and enriches.
Exploring the spiritual is to become a voyager determined to discover a different kind of treasure. The artwork and writing in this book provide an accompanying map to that journey.