Saturday, 20 September 2014

Thomas Chimes: Not understanding, but enjoying.

The following is taken from a blurb published by Sarasota's Ringling Museum of Art, about an exhibition of the work of Thomas Chimes.
With the recent gift of important paintings and works on paper by Thomas Chimes, The Ringling now holds a significant collection of this American artist’s work. The Ringling and Thomas Chimes have had a long history together as the museum organized the first survey exhibition of his work in 1968. On view will be the impressive Ringling Mural measuring some 17 feet across accompanied by preparatory studies showing the artist’s working process, as well as a selection of characteristic portraits.
Thomas Chimes (1921-2009) was born in Philadelphia to Greek parents. Chimes enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1939 and then in the Art Students League, New York in 1941, where he studied with Frank Vincent Du Mond, the former teacher of John Marin and Georgia O’Keeffe.   The work of Thomas Chimes is included in many notable public and private collections throughout the United States. This exhibition is made possible by the gift of works of Thomas Chimes by Dawn Chimes.
On any other day the name Thomas Chimes would have meant nothing to me.  However I went to see the exhibit because his former wife Dawn Chimes lives two doors away from me.  She recently donated some of his works which she owned to the Ringling.  Her donation occasioned this exhibition.  I wanted to honour her.
After my visit to the Ringling I stopped by Dawn's home to tell her all about it.  She was (to say the least) delighted and thrilled that I had taken myself to the exhibit.  She asked me what I thought.
I began by saying that I thought the Mural to be "spectacular".  Her eyes brightened and she replied "so do I".  
I went on to say "I did not understand it"  (it's filled with symbolism). Dawn replied "I don't think that anyone understands it".
Then I added "since I did not understand the mural, I decided to enjoy it".
I went on to talk about some of the works she had donated, commenting favourably about a small painting called "Bread", and Tom Chimes' fabulous self portrait.
I ventured to say that I believed Chimes to be a mystic. Dawn agreed whole heartedly  (and she lived with him!).
You may read more about Tom Chimes here but you'll probably be none the wiser about his soul.
Nonetheless I am happy to know that I was able to enjoy his works even though I did not understand them (who in the world can understand beauty?) , and that I was able to honour my neighbour Dawn.
Part of the Chimes Mural
Chimes self-portrait

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