December 12, 2010

Is "unrealism" an artistic style?

Though my taste and knowledge of art are fully unsophisticated,  I know what I like and I hang up what I like.  Most of the art on our walls is personal and made by people I know and love, but this print from Trisha Romance is an exception.  I don’t know her, so I can’t love her, but I do love her paintings.  I also love that they have been transformed into framed prints for those of us who can’t afford the real deal.  Feast your eyes on this serene view of motherhood:

Grand-scale sitting area, spotless windows with flouncy curtains, thriving enormous potted plant, fresh cut flowers in the vase, elegant tea service, wicker stroller, nay, perambulator, gilded bird cage, and Mommy resting comfortably in her floral armchair, hair neatly braided, happy to take a break from her little laundry basket to comfort and hold her sweet child.
Here’s the serene scene from which I write this morning:

The similarity to the print starts and ends quickly with floral furniture, on which is the beginning of our laundry process, and then you’ll see in this snapshot of our reality my favorite quilt rumpled and tossed to the side while I stood to take the picture, three Bibles, two hymnbooks, a Christmas card from a friend, a throw pillow, school books, an almost-empty tissue box, a very hairy hairbrush, a cold cup of coffee, my laptop, plenty of junk mail, a pathetic plant to which I am slowly committing involuntary manslaughter, knick-knacks lost in the shuffle, Zach’s latest Lego creation which changes Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader, and unseen are the bits and pieces of cardboard on the rug where Audra turned three Amazon boxes into a castle for her favorite lamb.  And were this a scratch-and-sniff blog, you’d detect an unpleasant odor seeping through from the kitchen sink where I’ve been soaking dishes for a good two days now.  My children are too big for holding like the mom in the print, but while writing this I’ve stopped to spell “shriek” for our little resident author Audra, helped Daniel find some pants and Scott find some socks in that pile on the sofa, and had three visits from Zach who “just needs to ask a quick question.”  There is also no neatly dressed and coiffed mother here; just a tired-looking mom in a dingy bathrobe, a picture I will not post.
I’ve written often and plenty of the mess and filth I allow us to live in around here when the choice needs to be made between it and our children.  This really isn’t about that.  And though from the tone of those posts you may think that I am going to mock that Trisha Romance print in the following sentences, I’m not.  I’m writing this today in defense and praise of that unrealistic print.  I find it soothing and comforting.  Art is an escape of sorts, and I like to imagine myself in that lady’s world on occasion.  I don’t hold it against her that she has it all together and I don’t;  she’s not real.  But I can put myself in her place, and pretend that my home is lovely, spotless, and that I set aside a single load of laundry to properly care for my children.  That last part isn’t so far removed from reality, other than there being only one load.  But I don’t escape for long there, because I’m quite content in my home too.  Especially with that beautiful tribute to the essence of motherhood hanging on my wall.

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