by Shelley Werner
(Calgary) – As a new year begins TBT Gallery welcomes the change in seasons with an art exhibit by artist Sarah Bing. The show, entitled “Coming Home” invites the viewer to engage in contemplation of colour and form that brings them “home to themselves”. The beautiful image on the cover of this month’s Alberta Jewish News – Calgary edition, titled Hold Fast is part of this exhibit.
Curator Jennifer Eiserman, commented that the show is particularly appropriate for this time of year. “During the month Elul we are called to turn inward and explore where we are situated in our spiritual lives. How have we walked the path? Where have we strayed from it? Sarah Bing’s works provide opportunities to take this inward journey as we imaginatively walk through the landscapes, pause on the benches and consider where we are right now”
Sarah chose the title “Coming Home” because of the impact on her of meditation practise wherein she has set the intention of “coming home to herself.” She is engaged in sensing all the wonderful things that can be seen when becoming present to what is happening in the world and in one’s life. The paintings are an interactive type of work where the bench in the image is inviting the viewer to sit down and become actively aware of what is occurring in their life.
“In this particular case you are going to sit down, and see this beautiful landscape that is in front of you and it’s going to bring feelings of joy, peace and relaxation. It should inspire coming home to yourself,” says Sarah.
She says the inner peace is one part of the experience, but the other part is learning to become present in your life, which sparks a sense of joy, which brings happiness no matter what is happening in it. By cutting out all of the noise and really being an active participant without being distracted by all of the minutia of the day or the problems one is encountering, allows one to see “what is happening for what it is.”
The works invite the viewer to “do some work” to really enjoy the piece, and experience it according to their own choice of engagement. Sarah says she is not giving the viewer all the information; the viewer has to put it together, which gives them a more personalized experience. She feels strongly that looking at the piece of artwork should become an experience versus just looking at it and moving on to the next piece.
“I hope that the viewer will find a sense of playfulness and excitement in the piece and take that into their life, while not taking life so seriously. These pieces are a reminder that we need to stop, we need to put our phones down, we need to look at each other in the eye and connect with what is happening: connect with the person you are speaking to, connect with the environment around you… connect, connect, connect!”
Being more present in one’s life can lead people to a sense of peace with life in general and their everyday experiences. The paintings lead the viewer to be attuned to what is happening in the present without daily distractions. Sarah feels as though the world has “gone off the rails” in terms of technology and speed and what is expected.
The intended effect of the pieces is not to be relaxing. She is more interested in the viewer becoming alert and connected with the energy that is all around, within, and to awaken their consciousness.
About her technique, she reflects: “I love working with happy little accidents,” she says, “it’s really freeing to go with what is happening, not only in painting but in life. We don’t want to control everything occurs. We want to accept what is happening. The same is true in the painting: the paint is happening, the paint is wet, it’s dripping down, it’s really fresh and it just is, and that’s really what it’s all about.”
The concept is to accept: what is happening with the paint, what is happening in one’s life, what is happening all around. Things come into consciousness and we don’t control them. She feels we have no control over anything.
The work itself is really a challenge to the viewer. The show poses the question: what is here now when there is no problem to solve? That doesn’t mean there are not problems, it doesn’t mean people should stop trying to be better.
The body of work asks the question, “can we just lay these things down so that in this moment, in this time, in this painting, we are fully present? We are at complete peace, we have arrived home within our bodies, within ourselves, within our spirits, within our energies. That is what coming home is about.”
“Coming Home” can be seen at the TBT Gallery from Sept 18 – Nov 6, 2022. To contact the artist directly please call 403-473-3337.
Shelley Werner is the host of Art and Scroll Studio zoom series that celebrates the makers and creators of Judaica Art. Their upcoming episode is Wednesday Nov. 2 at 7:00 pm MDT featuring artist Carol Neiger (https://www.carolneiger.com/)
Register for advance free tickets at email@example.com