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Daily Practice – Day 12

04 Apr
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Alley outside the window of the Missoula Art Museum

Day 12 – Before setting out for the day I practiced my sitting meditation in the dark stillness of my small bedroom while sitting on the floor as my husband slept.  I am now to the point where each morning when I wake up one of my first thoughts is of sitting meditation.

As spring break comes soon to a close my son and I dusted off our bikes from a long winter’s rest in the garage/wood shop/messy dumping ground for my husband’s roofing business and cycled downtown with some friends.  We went to lunch and then to our free local art museum.  It was a quiet day amongst the art and for the most part we had the museum all to ourselves.  As we walked around I was aware of how all beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Just as there is no one right beauty there is also no one right way to do anything.  We like to think there is only one right way to live and be (our way of course) but in reality this is simply not true.

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The following excerpt is from the MAM’s (Missoula Art Museum) website (pertains to pictures above and below):

MAM is pleased to host the exhibit Blindsided, designed and installed by Molt, MT artist Tracy Linder. Blindsided addresses the artist’s deep rooted connection to the land and her belief in the sanctity of our food sources. Linder states, “For over twenty years, I have been exploring the cultural significance of agriculture and agribusiness along with the integral roles of science, humanity and philosophy.” The word “blindsided” brings to mind a phenomenon that catches us unawares, especially with a harmful or detrimental result. In the same way, we are often blindsided by information which addresses the artificial manipulation of agriculture and the food supply, sometimes very unexpectedly. Linder goes on to state, “My works are derived from living a life close to the land as I transform remnants of animal, plant, human, and machine into visceral hybrids that reveal the reciprocal relationships necessary to sustain life. I grew up on a farm and now live on the vast windswept prairie of south central Montana. It is a place where the life-cycle is revalent and death is commonplace. I prefer to consider the mass of these circumstances by looking at the individual; the source.”

The presence of nearly identical cow heads communicates multiplicity, reproduction, and identity. Constructed from cast cotton paper, fescue grass, and metal ear bands, Blindsided masterfully communicates a sense of cloning and the manipulation of nature. We are reminded that when everything is identical, we lose uniqueness. Linder continues, “The cyclical patterns embedded in time are inherent to my process. I create unique handmade multiples to emphasize timelessness. The survival instinct is a resource. It is true ‘all flesh is grass’ and I am always seeking to reveal the intermingled and interdependent relationships necessary to the survival of both the grass and the flesh.”

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The rows of casted paper cow heads spoke of gentleness and grace.  A soft texture and chalk white color delicately decorated each sweet bovine depiction of Montana’s prairie dwellers.  Each was equipped with two blades of grass which added an element of depth and beauty to a perhaps otherwise sterile installment.  When I showed the pictures I took of this exhibit to my husband he said they were a little creepy.  Ah, beauty to one can be creepy to another.  There is no right way to look at a paper cow head.  Just as there is no right way to look upon life.  Which means perfection is but another illusion that we have to train ourselves to get out of.

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