Exhibition-Catherine Constable

Poet­ics of Cre­ation

Octo­ber 3rd to Fri­day, Octo­ber 23rd, 2015

A Reflec­tion on Poet­ics of Cre­ation
Mov­ing from one to anoth­er of Catherine’s Constable’s pho­tographs, is to accept the invi­ta­tion, in her own words, to “pause, to slow your heart­beat… and look clos­er for all that each pho­to con­tains.” It would be easy not to linger with any one pho­to­graph and assume we already know what is there. How­ev­er, as art should, as poet­ry should, these images are intend­ed to height­en our sens­es, our minds and our hearts to what is often over­looked. We are being invit­ed to be atten­tive and aware. Whether clear­ly por­trayed or per­ceived, whether of land or water or the skies, it is dif­fi­cult to escape the hori­zon in Catherine’s work. It is a con­ven­tion of art, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the West­ern tra­di­tion, to speak of the hori­zon line, this line being an impor­tant fea­ture of con­ven­tion­al lin­ear per­spec­tive and of order­ing our envi­ron­ment and world to human needs. Any line is drawn to sep­a­rate, to dis­tin­guish this from that – so too with the hori­zon line. The line how­ev­er does not actu­al­ly exist; it is our inven­tion. In truth those things we choose to sep­a­rate and desire to com­part­men­tal­ize, are in fact meet­ing, min­gling and in a rela­tion­ship with each oth­er. As we pause before these pho­tographs we may become more attuned to the hori­zon that sur­rounds us — and in all direc­tions. Look­ing at any of these pho­tographs one is quite right to assert that the pho­tog­ra­ph­er had to be look­ing for­ward, ahead to the scene before her to take the pic­ture. How­ev­er she may have actu­al­ly paused and looked back to ter­rain already trav­elled, or to the side. Indeed the pos­si­bil­i­ties of the angles and degrees to which she could turn, to which we can turn — are infi­nite. Amidst a feel­ing of won­der, per­haps awe, some­where between those slowed heart­beats, we are also invit­ed to expe­ri­ence a pang of lone­li­ness – a sense of dis­tance from some­where, some thing. Our lives are expe­ri­enced as lin­ear; time we under­stand as lin­ear. The life of the body is one of a pas­sage through time and space: from a begin­ning and to an end. Stand­ing amidst the open space of nature, stand­ing beside and with Cather­ine in poet­ic moments, we are indeed invit­ed to con­tem­plate dis­tance and to expe­ri­ence silence. Silence can be often mis­tak­en­ly asso­ci­at­ed with absence. Yet, through the the­o­log­i­cal lens, through grace, we expe­ri­ence the hori­zon, the infi­nite and eter­nal, as pres­ence. We may in our bro­ken-ness and dis­tract­ed­ness dull our bod­i­ly and spir­i­tu­al sens­es to it, but that which is all lov­ing, all for­giv­ing and Life giv­ing, is with us and holds us. Per­haps it was with great inten­tion that ancient saints of the Church chose the Greek word poi­etes when writ­ing of God the Cre­ator. “Poi­etes” being poet. How extra-ordi­nary to think of a God who cre­at­ed and sus­tains us and all Cre­ation, as a poet. How apt that Cather­ine chose to title her exhi­bi­tion Poet­ics of Cre­ation. There is some­thing of poet­ry, of all art and cre­ation that is the essence of mak­ing new mean­ing and forg­ing rela­tion­ships. Paus­ing with these pho­tographs we find Catherine’s great­est gift to us is the invi­ta­tion to feel and know our­selves as part of God’s great poet­ic work, and as such to know the good­ness of this Cre­ation and of the Poet who sur­rounds it, holds it, and cher­ish­es it. Ian McK­in­non, Octo­ber 2015