“Sometimes we have to soak ourselves in the tears and fears of the past to water our future gardens. -Suzy Kassem“ Into The Garden” art by Ben Fink,
In my teenage years my mother asked me what was the meaning of my painting? I was looking for her impressions of it and she was looking to be given an answer. She did not want to pull from her experience and this puzzled me. If I had given it to her then the art was limited to just my vision. Without the participation of the viewer I felt the work was incomplete.
Many of us have five senses we may apply to any art form and for most of us it is by sight first that we are drawn in by an image, but it should never end there. Brush strokes of trees and vegetation may invoke a fresh breeze on a summer day, or we may recall a scent of rain. From our subconscious thoughts a song may arise from your past, a crackling fire, or a whistling wind can rise out of the pigments. Sense of touch, yes, there are rich and distinct textures that the artist depicts, so if we pull from recollection the sensation of cold stone and its coarse surface we may “feel” that part of a painting. Imagine walking barefoot on the cool earth at dusk? We hold a sense of velvet, silk, or the warmth and character of someone’s skin over the bones beneath. Does the vision of an apple bring to mind its crisp sweetness? There is a part of us we can find in any art piece by using our senses and letting ourselves accept the emotions that we find in art. Even in a still life there is radiant energy portrayed. Within the two dimensions are hidden three, or more, so there is a treasure to be found.
I believe an artist has their own system to create a work of art. It may even be a ritual as like a magician the artist gathers his “tools” and prepares the intent of the outcome. In the holy ground of their studio a paintbrush is a wand. There are cups filled with colors upon the altar that will become an elixir of light. The camera like a sword cuts the image. The model, like an initiate, lays their heart out revealing who they truly are to the master, the artist magician, who uses their insight and skills to capture a sacred moment distilling it to its earthly form. The model has surrendered and offers as a sacrifice their truth which is becomes the most intimate act one can share.
Art is an act of creation and ranks up there with one of the finest tasks someone is inspired to do because it can gives understanding and helps us so much in exploring of humanity. Any creative act is considered to be in the realm of magic, or what is holy, or of the divine, or viewed as the “medicine” amongst indigenous peoples. Art is poured out of the human spirit and gives us a way to reach beyond our human condition to ideas where words fail to capture true meaning. One can talk about the spirit of love, but a piece of art can illustrate love. Move yourself to meditate on a painting, empty your mind and let the lovingly placed brush strokes and dots of color come together in your heart.
Ben Fink shows us an empathic and sympathetic skill as he captures and makes tangible the soul of his subjects for us to smile, laugh, or cry with them, but always there is a sense of adoration about it. It is clear that he portrays his models with passionate respect and we care by how, powerfully, we are moved by his art. We feel the nurturing of trust and the open honest expressions given to the camera. We can identify with the moments of weakness, or the struggles and emotional pain that we know in our lives. Each painting will challenge you to look at yourself. This could be a wrestling with anger, or depression. This could be you when your heart was broken. This could be that friend you know that can’t express in words how they feel and fear asking for help. We know that Ben and his models have put their souls into each work, so one should, respectfully, treat each painting as a Vision Quest as the only piece missing is you.
“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”-Edgar Degas
Terence C. M