Art commentary by Molly Walls

I don’t know at what age art became untouchable. In my early years, art was about passion and making mistakes—messy blurs of paint and crayons, wildflowers bleeding and blooming out of watercolor and ink. But at a certain point, some separation occurred, a layer of self judgment and discrimination between myself and the work, like looking through frosted glass.

The world around me seemed to confirm this criticism—art had a distinct stigma, sets of unspoken rules on how to view it, how to experience it, and how to create it. Gone were the days of childlike wonder, where everything beautiful and everything ugly could be transformed.

Since interning at Firehouse, art has begun to shed this layer of pretension and division, and become an experience again—something to be excited about, a way to ask a question or receive an answer, a way to release and to give. 

Tom Franco’s Art Attack at the YBCA embodied this playful collaboration. 
Performers experimented and communicated through their work; the line between the viewer and the artist blurred until every guest was participating in some larger piece, a sustained and pure moment of beauty and expression. 
I began to notice this collective experience with Sha Sha Higby’s moving sculpture performance, her intricate costume and the ambient sound filling the room melded together to create a lyrical and captivating narrative—a conversation between the audience and the artist. 
The absence of a stage and the inclusive seating encouraged this creative progression, and each consecutive artist used the space to converse and to give, without the removed or condescending aura that contemporary art can sometimes emit. In short, the evening brought me back to the art of my childhood—sidewalk chalk kisses on the knees, every living thing as moving, breathing sculpture—but with the maturity and artistic acumen of adults. 

Art can fill a moment, give time a heavy ripeness, sound, light, and movement rushing together in eloquent freedom, and the Art Attack took full advantage of this possibility for collective experience and collaboration.

Posted by Molly Walls
From Portland, Molly studies liberal arts in Vermont at Bennington College
To view Mollie's photography click here.

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