Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ill winds and other forces

Telling the story backward, here is the outcome, followed by the events which led to it.

LIBRARY by Lori Nix

During my years of network television employment, Let's Make A Deal was taped in the studio building across from my office. People dressed as servings of french fries lined up with the hope of getting to choose among doors 1, 2 or 3. Because I've learned that most days tell me what they will become, I remain watchful, alert, to the way one plan quickly reconfigures as another. I pick the first door and the third one opens and there you have it.

The early morning - by my definition, 7 is early - text from the bank warned me of something stupid and messy. In preparation for our government's potential abdication of all fiscal responsibility - the threat of unpaid military salaries, Social Security benefits and the like - our apartment manager had deposited the rent check with horrifying swiftness and our already iffy house of cards had become a vortex of slippage.

To entertain and perhaps calm my mental/emotional turmoil as the bank debated whether or not to pay outstanding debits before funds arrived on Wednesday, I thought of my childhood model of financial abundance, Scrooge McDuck. Diving into his pile of money, he could headline my carping blog post. Through Google I found an image which, when I clicked on it, took me, with awareness that providence had stepped in, to artist Lori Nix, who constructs miniature dioramas for the purpose of photographing them. As she explains in this link, the photographs, the two-dimensional pieces, are the art; the dioramas are the vehicles which carry her there.

Lori Nix saved me from whining. She and her recreated scenes of Kansas disasters from her childhood restored me to center. Whatever the actual cause of what seemed like the ill wind of August, it no longer mattered. It will either be resolved in my favor or it won't. Irene at the bank was kind and helpful.

Here is what I know right now: all is not as it feels, appears or claims to be. The layers of possibility have been patiently and skillfully applied. Don't be fooled by the obvious. What is real is as subtle as the wafted hint of night-blooming jasmine. I thought the plant had died, yet there was its gift as the thinning fog drifted in. We stumble on in the midst of magic. Stardust, indeed.

18 comments:

susan t. landry said...

what a terrific essay, marylinn. i love your blending of artifice and 'reality'--the reality that we currently negotiate in is so damn weird and ephemeral, that to try and peel away the layers of faded wallpaper, lead paint, and other potentially deadly toxic coatings....is futile. lori nix is a wonderful artist to introduce us to at this juncture. thank you!

Antares Cryptos said...

What wonderful work, thank you for sharing, will have a look at her other dioramas.

The power of art...I know it well.

Robert the Skeptic said...

First: Having watched the video of Nix's work, I recall having that exact same plastic model of a T-Rex when I was a kid. (It's probably in a box in the garage at this very moment)

Secondly: I can truly relate to this kind of art as in my late teens and early adulthood I was very much into model railroading. Photographing model railroads was considered a similar art in that the goal was to make the model scene look real.

As this was pre-digital image days, often we would "cloud" or distress the negatives to get the effect of steam or smoke or light the scene with blue light to simulate night.

Like Nix's photos, once the picture was taken the scene was usually gone forever. Thanks for sharing her interesting art.

Sabine said...

Your last para is really great. Very much appreciated thoughts.

grrl + dog said...

She looks like fun, at least she created her own world..

let's hope it's door number three for you and you wont turn into a bag of walking french fries.

Angella Lister said...

Thank you dear Marylinn. Lord, you know how to build to a crescendo. That last graph will carry me through the concerns of this day. Gorgeous writing.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Susan - Thank you. Small vistas, remade to our specifications, may be antidotes to the banana peel of reality. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Antares-Cryptos - What a great deliverance we find in the work of creative souls, not just distraction but reassurance. Enjoy her photos. :D

Marylinn Kelly said...

Robert - The model railroad photography is spectacular, and very much in keeping with what I took to be Nix's intention. Perhaps you will dig out your T-Rex for younger family members. Thank you for the link to parallel art forms.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Sabine - Thank you. I am always grateful to find - and notice - reminders that the crust is not always the whole of a thing.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Denise - There are days it feels like the march of the walking french fry, then a quick snap, a puff of smoke, and we are somewhere else. She does seem to find considerable joy in creating, or recreating, her worlds. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Angella - Thank you. Buying into the dominant paradigm (just saying it!) holds less and less appeal. I'll keep looking for escape hatches. xo

susan t. landry said...

so strange: talk about synchronicity...
i was just catching up with my NYTimes reading, and here's an article in yesterday's paper. check out the image!
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/02/arts/music/fountains-of-waynes-sky-full-of-holes-review.html?_r=1&ref=music

Marylinn Kelly said...

Susan - Must have been something on the wind...I had her whole portfolio to choose from and the Library spoke to me. Cool that you caught it. Synchronicity. Pretty interesting. Thanks. xo

Jayne said...

Oh my, thank you for this stunning introduction to Ms. Nix.

Your words, Marylinn... I'm kept at the edge of my seat, neck craning at the screen. But not uncomfortable at all!

toomuchaugust said...

stardust, indeed. i like the way the bits became part of a bigger whole. thanks for this.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Jayne - It's those peculiar associations that form in my mind, those leaps which I am asked to trust. The discoveries of the internet...they await our arrival. Ms. Nix was the perfect gift for that moment. No neck spasms, I hope. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Sherry - Thank you. One can only hope that the pieces come together, finally, in a meaningful way.