“In solitude we are in the presence of mere matter (even the sky, the stars, the moon, trees in blossom), things of less value (perhaps) than the human spirit. Its value lies in the greater possibility of attention. If we could be attentive to the same degree in the presence of a human being…”
- Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace
Objects are scattered throughout shallow cropped spaces. It is nighttime and there are no figures immediately visible. A pink teacup sits alone on a ledge while small speckled lights shimmer through a foggy window behind it. The colors of shadows shift between pale blue, warm grey green and dusty violet while a brick wall is described with notches, dents and soft light that hits off the edges of a chipped corner. Each object is given the same amount of attention and the brushstrokes are quick, opaque and persistent. The room is quiet but not vacant.
To focus on an object is to give it priority over all else in ones field of vision. In these spaces nothing is left untouched as everything is in focus, suggesting an accumulation of time spent looking. Although the setting may be seen as peripheral each object and surface becomes an opportunity for description and touch.
Observation is an exercise of patience and concentration, which requires a willingness to be surprised. It is about looking without assuming and listening without interrupting. A painting can slow this experience of looking and is a way to translate time through observation. It is an invitation to linger and an offering of shared momentary solitude, which rewards awareness and self-perception. To practice observation is to resist an urge to generalize. It is to see something (or someone) as an individual.