Gardening in the Rain

'Gardening in the Rain' by Brian Kershisnik
A few days ago I was talking to my cousin, who is an artist seeking to become fully professional (and who I would link to here if he had a website), and he told me I needed to go see an exhibit at the University of Utah’s UMFA by this painter that had “huge paintings” that seemed like they filled up the whole of the large three floor gallery in the center of the building. I could not remember the name of the artist, but I did remember my cousin’s enthusiasm about these paintings.

So on Wednesday afternoon I was goofing around on the Internet and decided to check out the UMFA’s website to see how much admission to the museum costs, since I’m not a student anymore and can’t get in free. To my surprise I discovered that the first Wednesday of every month (which happened to be that very day) the museum provided free admission. In a rare show of getting out of the house and doing something, I drove over there right then and saw the exhibit. It really is quite spectacular.

The painter’s name is Brian Kershisnik. And his paintings are great. What struck me most about them were some of their spiritual qualities. One of his main themes seems to be the intersection of the holy with everyday life. His paintings are visually very simple, and as my cousin said, have a folk-art influence, but they are soaked with meaning. At the risk of getting in trouble I have included a couple of them in this post. If you are Brian and you don’t like that, I will remove them.

At any rate one of the things that really struck me is a little quote they had from the artist on a plaque on the wall, in which he talked about his need for personal goodness and morality in order to receive artistic inspiration and express himself properly. It made me realize how little I seek for inspiration in my writing. If I want my writing to be truthful and project goodness and be beneficial, I need to be truthful and good in my life, I need to seek inspiration.

So I started a new journal, with the only parameters being that I must be honest and sincere and seek inspiration. I have always limited or compartmentalized my writing into different areas, but that is over. I’m going to be open to writing any type of thing at any time. Hopefully this freedom will help me figure out what it is that I really want to write and what I should be writing. Hopefully if I am open and diligent and honest, it will start to come together. I immediately started writing about this certain character that has been in my mind for years. I kept pushing her aside because I didn’t feel like that is what I wanted to work on. But I realize clearly now that I have been resisting inspiration.

'While Walking' by Brian Kershisnik (2007)

So Brian Kershisnik is our artist of the week here at the Froz-T-Freez. A link to his great website is right here, where you can see many, many images of his paintings, both current and old. And besides being a very interesting artist he may even have helped change my life.

'Treading the Basilisk' by Brian Kershisnik

You’ll probably never read this, but thanks, Clint!

0 thoughts on “Gardening in the Rain”

  1. Josh, I stumbled across your blog as I was having a daydream/fantasy that I was going to take the paltry pot of money that I’ve been saving buy Brian Kershisnik’s “While Walking” rather than a car that actually has air conditioning; I can’t stop thinking about that painting since I stopped in on the free first Wednesday (cheapskates unite!) in June. I got as far as googling it then got lost enjoying your writing; good stuff. I was so enraptured by that exhibit and Kershisnik’s comments that I took notes. Here’s the quote you referred to: “I make few demands upon myself except to work very hard and to maintain an appropriate moral compass, because I want to do good.” (after all, if it’s gonna change your life you might as well have the exact words, eh?). I loved these phrases as well, “I know the substance and power of art is spiritual.” “Painting, like dreaming, is a way of processing things bigger than we are…” “[painting is] as like to inform my life as to be informed by it.” “My intention…is to wonder [yes wonder, not wander] about as truthfully as I can and see who shows up.”You’ll enjoy this one too (note from Lexie Chidester, age 10, hand written in the comment book at the exhibit): “Brian, I like your work because it makes you wonder why the people are doing what they’re doing. My favorite one is ‘Gardening in the Rain’.”Keep up the writing; it’s an inspiration to those of us not yet brave enough to blog. :)Virginia

  2. You can get a limited edition print of “Gardening in the Rain” (comes in 2 different sizes) from either the Two Sisters Fine Art Gallery (Utah) or via a catalog company called “Artful Home”. The prices are the same at both places — $175 and $475.

    The process is described as a “pigment print”, which supposedly gives it a special quality.

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