Everything Small Is Big Again

Think about your daily habits: Morning coffee. Train or bicycle ride to work. Dinner with your significant other. Reading that new paperback — oh, okay, that new Kindle download — on a quiet afternoon. Now consider how attached you are to things involved in these habits: A coffee mug you’ve had forever. Those shoes that are so good for walking that you’ll never find again. That big comfy chair you inherited from a roommate. (That new Kindle — just kidding.) After a while, these acts and objects take on a ritualistic quality. At what point, though, do they move from the rote to the sacred? And why do they become so important in our lives? Those questions are posed in “Ritual/Habitual,” a group exhibition of paintings, drawings, and fiber art pieces at Creativity Explored. Andrew Bixler, one of the developmentally disabled artists featured in the show, takes an item as simple as rope. In words painted on the canvas, he describes a use that clearly transforms this hardware-store item to a tool of great triumph or failure — or even life and death: mountain climbing. “Sometimes the greatest inspirations are everyday items,” Bixler writes. Kelly Kerslake, an instructor at the gallery, says these small things have become so big because society has been steadily losing its broader rituals and rites of passage for some time. Lacking a larger sense of meaning, these daily routines are ways we can regain that. So that first cup of joe might be more important than you think.
Oct. 11-Nov. 20, 2010

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