Beginning September 3, "Let Color Be Itself"
Posted on 8.1.12
Story by LEAH SHAPIRO | Photo by RENA LINDSTROM
After painting prolifically in the central mountains of Mexico, Rena Ruark Lindstrom moved to Asheville in June of last year. In Mexico, she was a satisfied painter, full of vigor from the dramatic landscape and culture there. However, she felt displaced back in the states and yearned for inspiration.
“I was trying to push through my painting block,” she explains “and I needed a ‘project’ to get me working again after completing a body of work in Mexico …. [However,] it turned out to be much more than that.”
She experienced the jolt she needed in December at a concert at the Black Mountain College Museum and Art Center, which was part of the center’s annual conference called “John Cage: A Circle of Influences.” Cage, interested in Zen practice, used chance operation in composition, often relying on the I Ching, an ancient Chinese classic text also known as the Book of Changes. “Randomness” became a concept that Rena began to contemplate.
“I am always trying to discover a reality beyond actuality, to make visible what is invisible, traveling in a deeper stream of consciousness.” For Rena, painting is the vehicle by which she can surface ideas and images for readerly interpretation.
From September 3 through October 7, a dramatic field of color will cover the wall at West End Bakery. The panels will hang in the order they are painted. On the reverse side of each panel, the I Ching hexagram for that individual panel is recorded. “[The I Ching] gave me structure to work without getting all tied up in my feelings, which were impeding me,” Rena explains.
The concept of Rena’s art installation is allowing color to “be itself.” Color would be the variable in the project, changing from panel to panel. The “chance” portion of her installation is that Rena would throw the I Ching and depending on where it landed, she would assign a particular color from The Oil Painter’s Pocket Palette by Rosalind Cuthbert for each of the hexagrams of the I Ching. She then painted 12” x 12” panels in the color selected. West End could only accommodate 48 out of the 64 possible hexagram panels, so there will be 48 squares of color.
This chance process is uninfluenced by Rena’s preferences. “Sometimes a color I love would come up and sometimes one I didn’t particularly like came up, but I could not pick and choose,” she says. “There’s tremendous freedom in the restriction as it forestalls my prejudices.”
At the end of the exhibition, the panels will be distributed. Again, this recurring “chance process” theme is seen. There are paper slips that people can fill out if they would like a panel. “The whole purpose of the gift economy is to establish and strengthen the relationships between us, to nourish community.”
As Rena did not have a space large enough to display the panels before the installation begins at West End, her initial view of the art will be left to chance, as well.
West End Bakery is located at 757 Haywood Road in West Asheville. For more information on the I Ching hexagrams, visit ichingfortune.com/hexagrams.php.