For more than forty years, we've been collecting quotes and poetry that support the practice of process art. We're happy to have this space to share some of our favorites with you.
The Way It Is
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
"For life — I am sure of this — is not transforming energy, but transforming person. Energy is the means. Being is not what but whom. It is Presence in whom and before whom we show ourselves. Let us ride our lives like natural beasts, like tempests, like the bounce of a ball or the slightest ambiguous hovering of ash, the drift of scent: let us stick to those currents that can carry us, membering them with our souls. Our world personifies us, we know ourselves by it. Let us then speak to each other in our most intimate concern."
No matter what comes up—aching bones, boredom, falling asleep, or the wildest thoughts an emotions—we develop a loyalty to our experience. . . . We don't run screaming out of the room. Instead, we acknowledge the impulse without labeling it right or wrong. This is no small task. Never underestimate our inclination to bolt when we hurt.
The sense of failure is one that may arise. Can you sit in failure itself? Can you feel the roots of failure without moving away? Do you feel the somatic reality of failure? Can you allow yourself to fall into failure—and into the color that moves you toward that falling? Can you find the shape, form, and gesture that carry you into that most tender core where failure finally ceases to have any meaning at all?
Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there,
To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,
You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at where you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.
Radical vulnerability. What’s that? It’s following your work into its darkest corners and strangest manifestations, revealing things about yourself that you don’t want to reveal until your work requires you to do this, and never failing in only mediocre or generic ways. We all contradict ourselves. We contain multitudes.
Art is what we call . . . the thing an artist does. It's not the medium or the oil or the price or whether it hangs on a wall or you eat it. What matters, what makes it art, is that the person who made it overcame the resistance, ignored the voice of doubt and made something worth making. Something risky. Something human. Art is not in the . . . eye of the beholder. It's in the soul of the artist.