That's all lovely, and writers can explicate the vowels of villanelles all night; however, something far more inspiring happens, for me, that is, when the conversation is more interdisciplinary. Gather different artists working in different media and the discussion explodes in fascinating directions. The differences among the various art forms are fascinating to learn. The similarities in our processes are equally interesting and informative. Suddenly the visual artist wonders about color theory and whether light waves can have assonance and dissonance as in music or poetry, for example.
This summer I've been in a broadside collaboration with print artist Karen Kunc, and this December, I will continue a collaboration with the visual artist Corinne Duchesne and composer Garrett Hope. When I work with Corinne and Garrett, I have to resist the urge to have defined parameters and scope for our collaboration, if only to have the comfort of an idea of direction. When we do resist that urge we open ourselves to possibility. Seeing Jan Madill's artwork (not to mention talking with her in person), reminds me constantly of how important it is to remain open to possibility. Her artwork takes on huge topics--like geology, and even the universe. I suspect for most creatives, such ambitious themes are daunting, perhaps terrifying. What I notice about Jan, though, is that she never purports to represent the entirety of her topic. Nor does she act as expert. She opens the door to curiosity, her own and the curiosity of others. That curiosity quickly converts to wonder, which I think of as an awe-filled curiosity. And maybe that's what I love about collaboration: to be in a state of awe-filled curiosity of others' disciplines and works. It's how I feel having seen Jan's paintings, Michael's sculptures, and Connee's poems, and it's also how I feel hearing Garrett's music and Corinne's artwork, and how I feel seeing Karen's prints. Awe, admiration, and the presence of something that transcends boundaries of our how we view "art" and its various "disciplines."