Beauty in the Beholden

Exposed brick, pure white snowy mounds, a once thriving factory converted into a haven for creativity- what better way is there to spend a morning in the Berkshires? After spend a glorious Saturday skiing with my friend, we awoke to incredibly cold temperatures and decided to travel to Mass Moca instead.

Confession: I’ve never been one who has appreciated contemporary art much. Maybe it’s my enjoyment of history and things of the past, maybe its my lack of training in art, or just the feeling that I don’t connect to it- but because of not really ‘getting it’ I never really ventured much to try. I consider myself a decently open and cultured person, yet that is not the way I approached modern art. “Yes, and…” did not apply.

We walk into this beautiful facility, and my eyes fall on some of Petah Coyne’s pieces from “Everything That Rises Must Converge“, (derived from a Flannery O’Connor story). In this large gallery, hanging from the ceiling is the most dark, enigmatic, compelling piece of this genre I’ve ever seen. Just by glancing at this work, you know there is a story to be told from it. Weakness, redemption, pain, beauty, death and life are all present.

Quite possibly my favorite was Untitled #1336- an apple tree, whose bark the artist had removed, and covered in black sand, inhabited by many pheasants and peacocks, as well as midnight darkened flowers. The way the birds are placed provide a sense of anticipation, what will happen, where will the story unfold.

The artist photographs are amazing as well- taken when both the artist and subjects are moving, as nothing is motionless when creating this still.

Challenging ourselves, open our minds, often allows us to see the beauty before us.

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