Hermit Brotherhood of Artists

TheHermaphroditeForrest Bess, The Hermaphrodite, Oil on Canvas

I fell in love with the Forrest Bess show at The Hammer Museum recently and so I wrote about it for the progressive Italian art magazine Droste. I was at the Hammer for their annual gala and while most of the guests were staring at Jody Foster (at the adjacent table to me), Will Ferrell, Rita Wilson and Maria Bello, I was obsessing over the exhibition of Bess’ work that I had just seen during the cocktail portion of the event. Weird little paintings reflecting a rich inner world untainted by socializing in modern society in the ’60s and ’70s – paintings born from a self-inflicted hermitude and consistent interaction with the soul and the images that take place behind the eyelids that are completely clear to those who strive to seek them out. Images born in the purity of silence where the ego gets accustomed to turning off because it doesn’t think anyone is looking or listening. It brought up connections to other sisters and brothers who have eschewed polite modernity for the internal caverns of their artistry like JD Salinger, stunted from the horrors of war and his beliefs that adults were all unbearably tainted, or Richard Tuttle in the desert with his nail, hammer, wood and string. In my fortieth year, this way of life has become highly appealing to me: being alone with my paper and pencil, my keyboard and prose, my scroll saw and wood block, and a handful of friends and family I can count on two hands. Creating my own world and seeing things like the corner potato tree rather than integrating with the current world and being seen has slowly over the course of this past year taken over me. My love for humanity is still there yet my lust for material and creation has usurped my faith that I can ever, or even want to, change people – instead I articulate my hope through my work. which is the only thing that has ever continuously sustained me.

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3 Responses to “Hermit Brotherhood of Artists”

  1. Hello Kimberly,

    I love your blog post for its candid revelation of where you are and where you are headed. And I particularly like the sentence, “Images born in the purity of silence where the ego gets accustomed to turning off because it doesn’t think anyone is looking or listening.” Such a brilliant insight into the workings of the ubiquitous ego! I also like the poignantly dropped suggestion, “paintings born from a self-inflicted hermitude and consistent interaction with the soul and the images that take place behind the eyelids that are completely clear to those who strive to seek them out.”

    You have become one of my avatars when it comes to this realm Kimberly! I am inspired by your commitment and dedication to your art, and I feel honored to be associated with you!

  2. Hi Kimberly,

    I just left a comment for you in response to your blog post!

    Mazlel Tov! Tom

  3. I’m always intrigued by your posts. It is too easy to get trapped in a world of constant stimulation. Someone or something is always grabbing for our attention (usually to temp us into buying unnecessary items). It is a busy world. Every person needs to escape, get away for awhile and just “be” part of the natural world.

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