Why Power?


He looked at me with such astonishment and confusion. It was like I was telling him the sky was purple…

“What do you mean I’m NOT King of this house?”

This was a true, honest question from my five year old son. He was under the erroneous assumption that he was in control and that he had all the power in our home. Huh…..wrong buddy.

Before you laugh at this preposterous idea, let me ask you how often we do the exact same thing in life. I know I have made this mistake. In fact, I still make this mistake quite often. I’m not in complete control. Unlike He-Man, I don’t have all the power.

This is why I felt I needed to do this exhibit. I felt a inner urging to talk about this and so I went with it, despite how uncomfortable it made me feel and how uncomfortable it would make others feel. No one wants to address their vulnerabilities, but art does that sometimes. That’s usually how you know art is working…..it causes upheaval at times because that’s exactly what is needed.

The issue of power infiltrates our lives on so many levels, from the time we are small to the time we struggle against the power of death as we fight for our last breath. We seek power over ourselves, our relationships, and the world around us. If we take time to look, we see it everywhere. If we don’t acknowledge its prevalent place in our lives, it can go unchecked and lead us to places we never wanted to go. I’ll talk about my own struggle with power in an upcoming blog post, but suffice it to say, I speak from personal experience.

You may be wondering why I focused on the industrial tools used for harnessing power. The idea came from watching another artist use trash as a vehicle for speaking about the needs of our environment. After watching him work for several years, the flippantly discarded bottles and cans I would see along the sidewalk started to become more noticeable. I started seeing them differently because of this artist bringing attention to a commonplace object. My vision changed and with it, my attitude.

We tend to do the same thing with power lines, pump-jacks and solar fields. They are just there and we pay little attention to them. But what if they somehow turned into constant reminders and memorials for more important ideas?

What if, instead of seeing a power line, we are reminded that our words have power and through them, we can make a difference since we are so connected.

Instead of a windmill, we are reminded to surrender and work with the One who makes the wind.

Instead of a pumpjack, we are encouraged to use the little we have for the most good.

Instead of an abandoned mine, we are cautioned against the abuse of the power.

My goal with this show is not to have a charged and controversial discussion about the use of various natural resources. I’m simply putting on display a visual of our innate desire for power. I want to focus on the heart and how we all, individually, need to address this insatiable hunger. What do we do with it? Some control and some power is needed, but it so easily gets out of whack.

My hope with this exhibit is that it can start conversations about how to deal with power in a healthy way. Communication and open dialog is needed if we are to make any progress on this sore subject. Let’s start seeing rather than ignoring. Discussing rather than defending and arguing. Being honest with ourselves rather than living in denial. This is where real power starts.

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