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Artists at Work

Last Sunday, I went to the Museum of Arts and Design at Columbus Circle. The architects have done a fine job of renovating this once-derelict building; it was empty for decades. Mia Pearlman, a Music & Art classmate of my daughter’s, has three pieces on show there, part of the “Slash Paper Under Knife,” exhibition opening tomorrow. This is not work on paper, it is work of paper. The use of light and negative space to create art has always intrigued me. What is the analogy in writing? What one doesn’t say? The space/breath between sentences and paragraphs? On and on I go trying to figure it all out in the midst of the exhibition.

Three artists were in the gallery finishing up their site-specific installations and I spoke to one of them, Michael Veliquette, from Wisconsin. His candy-colored totem was flush on the wall and did not use the light in the gallery or from the slit windows. Most interesting, oddly, was his ability to interrupt his work and then get right back to it with intense concentration. This is an important attribute to cultivate for all artists and writers. Michael had it in abundance.

Mia wasn’t in the gallery, unfortunately, but her work was a big presence, compelling and life-affirming billows of feathery light--lines that are sharp but not disturbing--all exquisitely executed, “a weightless world in flux frozen in time, tottering on the brink of being and not being,” she writes in her poetic artist’s statement. http://www.miapearlman.com/

For some reason, I thought of Haruki Murakami’s book, “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running,” while I was in the gallery. Murakami is a marathon, ultra-marathon and triathlon athlete who writes and trains with equal intensity and concentration. Each sentence is a flower unfolding in the light, each step on the road a meditation. I am not sure if his life is entirely in balance, but the level of his devotion and concentration, like the artists at the Museum, is as inspiring and impressive as the work itself.

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