There is a hush that enters the body when we respond to beauty. It quiets the noise of everyday life, we can set aside some of the troubling realities of being human and arrive at a place where we feel totally present. The magic of beauty offers the gifts of opening to what is before us with a sense of celebration and delight.
That is what I experienced when I visited Leslie Barnwell during her exhibition at the Smithers Art Gallery. It is evident that Leslie’s life as a professional artist shows itself with her sharp eye for contrasting shapes and rich colours, whether it be the hidden circuitry of veins on petals, the fuzz of surrounding stamens, or water droplets cupped in the curves of a leaf, her sensitivity for detail emerges. But there is much more.
Leslie’s offerings ask us to “come face to face with the heart of a flower – its essence.” In order to do this we must stop and truly look beyond how they appear in mass groupings of colour or how they combine with other flowers. This takes paying attention.
Leslie does not take our ease within the techno savvy world lightly. She writes that “the ability to easily enlarge things in an act of exposure. As we draw closer to bring their beauty, their strength and vulnerability in detail, this is an act of opening to the intimate.” As she speaks of respecting the secret life of flowers, I am left with the depth of her offering. She is inviting us to look deeply into the heart of all things. The art of seeing is possible and relevant to how we witness not just the natural world but our own relationship within that. How we respond to life that continually opens itself, where we must slow down to appreciate the depth of what is before us is the deeper truth. In doing so we allow a space where beauty can emerge and shine forward in increasingly surprising and unsuspecting ways. Thank-you Leslie for these beauties.