While art has the ability to interrogate the grand, it is also refreshing to find art and artists who seek to create a sort of bubble for us as the audience, in a way that allows us to question what we question in an enclosed space for the time being. In this space, your thoughts and experiences are allowed to feel all-consuming, and you can explore the landscape of your inner world without the guilt that there is more or worse off happening in the world. One such artist whose work does this perfectly is photographer, curator and writer Jon Feinstein whose solo showcase is currently underway at Solas Gallery in Seattle.
Described by the gallery, The Balance combines two of Jon's series: Breathers and What it Means to Be Alive, using the city’s lush landscape to make sense of loss, mortality, and joy.
In Breathers, the city's trees are memorials to Jon’s late mother-in-law, who suffered from early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Their holes, ruptures, and breaks reflect cognitive, terminal decline. Small portraits of dandelions from What It Means to Be Alive live alongside the trees. Photographed in Jon's backyard, they are the thriving sparks of joy – Jon's two young daughters – living in constant communion with his sister's sudden death and close family friends who left the world too soon. Together, these series are a bridge between mourning and finding the bright spots that keep us going.
In Feinstein’s perspective, nature serves as a conduit to delve into personal dialogues, leading us to the realization that life is not characterized by a single, definitive state of being. Instead, it is a complex tapestry of multiple states unfolding simultaneously. There is no period marked solely by absolute sorrow and grief, just as there is no moment that is exclusively filled with joy and ascension.
This philosophy holds significant importance in our quest for a balanced life. It encourages us to embrace the full spectrum of human experiences rather than seeking a singular state of being. By acknowledging that life is a blend of various states occurring at once, we learn to navigate through the highs and lows with grace and resilience. Moreover, this understanding fosters emotional agility. We become more adept at experiencing our emotions without being overwhelmed by them. We learn to appreciate the joyous moments while also finding strength and growth in times of adversity.
In the grand scheme of things, this philosophy promotes harmony and equilibrium in our lives. It reminds us that just like nature, our lives are subject to cycles and seasons, each carrying its own beauty and challenges. And it is through this dynamic interplay of various states that we truly experience the richness and depth of life. This balance is not only essential for our personal well-being but also contributes to healthier relationships and communities, creating a more compassionate world.
Jon Feinstein’s solo exhibition, ‘The Balance’, is a testament to the transformative power of art. It invites us to confront our own experiences of loss, mortality, and joy within the safe confines of an artistic space. The exhibition serves as a poignant reminder that even in the face of profound grief and loss, there are sparks of joy and life that persist. Through his work, Feinstein encourages us to acknowledge these complexities and find solace in the balance. His art is not just a reflection of his personal journey, but also a mirror for us to see our own experiences and emotions. It’s a gentle reminder that it’s okay to grieve, it’s okay to rejoice, and most importantly, it’s okay to do both at the same time. In this way, ‘The Balance’ is more than an exhibition; it’s a celebration of life in all its complexity.
Jon's exhibition will be open until November 11th, 2023.
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