There is that short sentence long with us: Rome was not built in a day.
The full blossoming of any individual, in any walk of life, though perhaps seemingly more evident in those of artistic inclinations, sees this ring true.
I’m going to aim in making such growth to fruition an aspect of my blog.
I first take last night as a fine example.
So to ‘Century’, a members club on Shaftsbury Avenue, in the heart of London’s West End; a place, and the people I’ve met there, or rather have grown to know more, will be a tale in itself, of which I hope to come to another time.
February the 4th, 2010.
An artist is launching her debut exhibition, the culmination of months of creative hard-work born from snippets of her life’s journey thus far. Both in the dedication of creation, and the sheer almighty step to make it public, sweat must surely have crossed her brow. Though sometimes derided, I know well the torment and blood that pours from any who give like this; the anguished, languished pain of self, when presenting your creation out, it is a birth of sorts. No? Why deny it? Everyone, in some way, is moved by art. A painting, a sculpture, a film, music. To paraphrase, art is life and life is art.
Maria Escribano has experienced that which many of us know, but is often more heightened by those blessed with evident outward beauty such as she; trapped between who we are and who the world sees us as, the true voice silenced by others and, indeed, ourselves. In her show of pieces that in their very existence shout of focused accomplishment and most competent skill, she tells a uniquely personal, and by its very nature therefore, a widely universal tale.
What follows here is not necessarily what she is saying. Who but the artist themselves knows that? It is only the stories told to me upon my first encounter with what she has now given.
A young woman who others saw as an exotic performer, say a stripper, or simply a subject of lust; a role she herself may have played up to with aplomb, all the while yearning to be seen as what she truly felt she was: the perfection of innocence in spirit as portrayed by the spinning ballerina in a small girl’s jewellery box.
The unwitting if voracious vamp who runs from one tryst to another, looking for love in all the wrong places, accepting the falsehood found in some passing ecstasy to placate the longing for meaning.
A soul battling with the roles she was expected to fill, the ones wished her, and the one she knows from the deepest recess is more her truth. A wearer of masks: in a world where we all wear them, trusting one day that the right mask will transcend to become the face itself. If not yet there, I believe she is closer to it now.
I shall not try to describe the physical aspect of her work in too much detail. For me, that would only serve to detract from the effect one should hopefully get upon viewing it for oneself, as I did. I like to believe you will, be it now or some time in the future. And I say that with the personal honesty of one who, at least in the realms of ‘modern art’, truly, for only the second time, felt in admiration of the talent before me whilst also – more importantly – a true connection to it.
I did not know what to expect, how she would portray inner demons and the screams of self yearning to be heard; nor should you. However, if you are taken with her creativity, expression and overwhelming honesty of self as I was, even by a tenth of what I was – am still, then what she brings us her will speak volumes to you also. I say this as one who heard the very same music in one piece before the next piece where she conjured it up.
Yes, I am blessed most recently to know something of her as a person, but that as is can be even more daunting. What do you say if you don’t like what you see, if you just don’t ‘get it’? All I can say is; I do. And it is for this; in her talent and gift, in her true ability as an artist to go into herself through her own troubles and so speak to us all, in her humble and beautiful proclamation that our demons can then become our angels… it is here I am saying ‘Thank You’.
And finally, to Maria herself, but also as message to us all – Rome was indeed not built in a day, but built it was.
You can, have, will forever be that.
An Empire of your own making.
So be just that. Be Empirical.
(first published February 5th 2010)