Art awakens us. It can be the meeting place where things come together that are exquisitely different from one another. I remember seeing Christo and Jean Claude’s Running Fence as a boy; that thin calligraphic line of white fabric that ran across the windswept, winter landscape of West Marin. It was mesmerizing. Partly so because of the thinness, the paleness of the fence, was in juxtaposition to the openness, the largeness of that wild place.

There always seems to be at least two things in juxtaposition in a work of art. When they are seen, they awaken us… It might be a dull color next to a bright one, a massive mark next to a tiny one or even a small bronze sculpture discovered in an expansive golden field. Opposites experienced together make us feel a little more alive.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the opposite of control. Spontaneity. Although being in control or being spontaneous originates more in the artist’s psyche, they do end up dramatically having an effect upon the art. When an artist demonstrates relinquishing control, especially when there is also evidence in the art already to the contrary, it can be mesmerizing. We as the viewer feel particularly moved.

I think this is because in some indirect way we can all relate. Offering up both sides of ourselves –the controlling part as well as an attempt at losing this control, being spontaneous, flying by the seat of our pants, is particularly generous, risky on the part of the artist.

She/he is really showing up. And we as the viewer can sense it.

When I experience this effort in a piece of art I instantly feel connected with that artist just a little bit more. They are attempting to show everything, warts and all. They are all in. And in a small way it makes me also.

The juxtaposition of two ways of being, controlling and spontaneous are simply delicious to behold together.

It awakens us.

For me there is this particular kind of poetry in this juxtaposition… that amongst everything we try to control, everything we hold so close in our art and our life that sometimes a kind of beauty can be found by doing just the opposite.

And that is to simply just let things go.

How does control / spontaneity show up in you?