The Fringe

the fringe

This drypoint print titled, ‘My Secret is Out’ (original in colour),  is by Shana James (my print making teacher).  Just as we can learn much from listening to other people’s stories, so can we gain surprising things from art and the stories that emerge and evolve when we sit with and explore an image.   These are the stories that showed up for me around this print …. thanks Shana.

‘Coming Home’.

Shana’s art titled, ’My Secret is Out’, for me personally strongly reflects the struggle of ‘fitting in’, of feeling like an outsider, but also the comfort and content of being alone with one’s self – in your own space and world.

People on the ‘outside’ are often viewed, as is their existence there, as inferior, less significant—small.  But this image reinforces for me the relevance (and beauty) of that space. Small and undefined as it may be, it exists, it’s relevant—as are those who dwell within it.

The image also gives rise to the notion that perhaps being an outsider has its own power.  Perhaps there are benefits to living ‘in-between’ worlds—or within a world of your own.  A place from which to quietly observe and reflect on the darkness and then to the bright offerings—and their trappings and confinements.  An advantaged place where you become the watcher—not the one being watched.  A neutral space where the pull of ins and outs, ups and downs dissipates, the loudness quietens—the scream subsides.

And then, when I trace the glow of aura around the cage up through the bird, it feels like there is a lid to this space for leaving and   returning home again.  There’s a great comfort in the movement—the comings and goings.  A place where you are no longer stuck.  You are nestled snugly in your own world.  Your own space.  Your own self.

And this story called, ‘The Fringe’…

Within the aura that surrounds the cage, ‘My Secret is Out’ seems to offer an ‘in-between’.  A visual divide between worlds.  A ‘barely there’ space that exists so temptingly between the spotlight, which can feel cage-like—and the darkness, which can be all consuming.  Both of these spaces, these worlds, strongly influence who we are and how we feel. To be able to escape them, in ‘the fringe’, is deeply consoling.

’The fringe’ with its lack of definition, makes me wonder if we really need to construct such clearly defined spaces (or zones of safety) within which to be ourselves, live our lives and feel a sense of place.

‘The fringe’, although it seems to have movement, isn’t straining towards the temptations of the highly illuminated world (its trappings and traps), nor is it pushing back hard against the darkness.  It is its simple existence, between spotlight and darkness, that seems to offer an infinite sense of potential.  A realm for drawing from all that surrounds us perhaps, while maintaining an  individual presence.   A place to move and grow in unspecified and unconstructed directions to unexpected, unknown places.  A strong sense of space and place.

The ‘glow’ of the fringe, feels like a power source within itself.  A current of potential, and provider of energy to harness, hold onto and grow it.

The bird seems to also have a place within ’the fringe’, and its presence here seems to be offering a pathway, via its aura,            perhaps to another existence— beyond what we see, and know and can ever imagine.

And when you look into the bird’s human eye, your mind opens wider too, and you wonder if it’s symbolic of its own evolutionary journey from the mergence (or clash) of worlds.  Its escape.  And you imagine it’s perched to take your secrets under wing – loosening their grip.  With the release of the secret and the halt of the whisper, hope rises.  Your mind opens to another world, another way—and the bird invites you to travel ….

See also previous posts…. ‘Lost Stories’  (similar to ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ below) about a lost artist and his stories.  A beautiful short film called, ‘Lost and Found’.  And another about a book eating boy here.