Sunday, August 22, 2004

Oh! I must tell ...

say something about Thursday evening's reception at NIAD, (National Institute for Artists with Disabilities). Dorian's work is just phenomenal! She's working on interesting surfaces; huge 4'x8' canvasses and old discarded quilts that she gives new life to. This is such a wonderful program that should be emulated everywhere. But having had Dr. Ellis Katz and his wife create this wonderland of possibilities for people like Dorian is enough to be ever grateful for. Richmond is so much the richer for its existence, and for the exceptional group of artists who've devoted their lives to freeing the souls of those whose bodies and minds have so limited their capacity to live as fully as the rest of us. Under their patience guidance, this is changing dramatically for those fortunate enough to spend the hours and the days as "artists" in every medium possible (ceramics, painting, textiles, jewelry-making, block-printing, etc.). It's such a magical place to "BE!"

Loveliest part was that Dorrie's much-adored brother, Bob, came up from San Juan Bautista where he's lived for many years, just for the occasion. She was ecstatic! He was beaming with pride at her accomplishments, and she knew it. He was surprised and delighted and Dorian and I were equally so in response to his obvious joy. She had one piece in the exhibition, "My Flower Garden," that was a lovely pastel made from a block print. But the dramatic almost Day-Glo-colored quilt piece that hung prominently on the spacious studio's wall was the breath-stopper. It was oranges and pinks in many shapes of many sizes, but in the middle was a blue "blob" that she described as "mom." Amazing! There was nothing but the color to represent me, no faint image of a feature or suggestion of an action. Only the blue in a sea of brilliant reds and oranges. In one corner there was a vague representation of her two cats -- ears, whiskers, etc., but in rusts and browns and recognizable. Only "Mom" was a deep blue shape with well-defined edges. Nice?

It was so wonderful to have Bob with us even for that brief visit. The character of the visit, the honest pride he showed in his sister and her work caused me to escape to a corner of the gallery for a quiet moment alone and a search for a napkin from the buffet table with which to dab the accumulated pride from the corners of my eyes ...

Her brother, David, called to offer his apologies to Dorrie -- couldn't find a replacement so had to work that evening. He's arranged to visit the gallery tomorrow for a private tour with her tomorrow or Tuesday.

Maybe I'll photograph some of her work and post it at some point.

She is bursting with expression and color and light and pure unadulterated joy!

Returning to live at home has been a good thing. One look at her unrestrained freedom -- daubed and painted and glued and sewn into these magical pieces is so affirming of our lives together.

And, she's now sold two paintings. Okay, so one was sold to her mother earlier in the summer, but it counts, right?

The art world is the richer for a new talent. NIAD's staff has accomplished wondrous things with her and with the others under their artistic wings -- others who are doing such remarkable work in an atmosphere of such caring... .

Life is good.

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