This week on Inside The Warehouse, artist Pat Hidson tells us about the inspiration behind “Spirit Bird”, a piece featured in the On the Nature of Wisconsin exhibition.
Pat Hidson, "Spirit Bird" (2009) watercolor and graphite on paper
“My way of comprehending the world has always involved drawing it. During my challenging and turbulent childhood a piece of paper, a pencil and perhaps some watercolors gave me respite and a way to connect with a deeper and calmer self than the frightened child I really was. Inadvertently my habits of writing and making art have given me strength and uplifted me. This is what I believe my purpose is as an artist: to share the gift that art has given me.
The body of work represented by this painting/drawing was done over a period of several years. I developed this method of creating a work that could incorporate many elements at once by using my sketchbooks. They contain drawings and studies that are more like a bower bird’s nest than anything systematic. Often there is much more writing than drawing in the many books I have filled. This way I have a dialogue between me and my constant reading. This would include my daily excursions into studies that include history, metaphysics, philosophy, art history, and nature. As an avid bookworm all my life I found a way to use books as an indirect resource. As well, outings of any kind offer a bounty of things to see and collect through drawing.
This painting includes a chrysanthemum, which like most flowers has symbolic connotations and stories around it. One interesting one is its association with the Chinese poet Tao Yuanming, who lived about 365-427 and is considered a major poet who is the foremost representative of the school Fields and Gardens poetry. His approach to life, and the way he
found inspiration in his natural surroundings coheres with my own way of working. My gardening practice is grounded in reverence for the natural world and my garden on the river exemplifies a deep feeling of responsibility inherent in the privilege of land 'ownership'. There is an image from the Ahlambra in the painting. Since extensive travel has never been
possible for me I avail myself of my imagination to see in my mind’s eyes places that I dream of going to. Now that we all understand the carbon cost of travel, perhaps this approach is one that conforms with my ecological philosophy.
The spirit bird represents our connection with the divine. Over many eons humans have used the concept of creatures of indeterminate species to convey our connection with spiritual reality, wherein all is sacred.
I hope that this helps the viewer to understand my process and know the work on a deeper level.”
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June 22, June 24, June 26, June 29, & July 1.
Closed for Installation: July 3- July 17, 2020
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The Warehouse is located in the Guardian Fine Arts Services building.
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