Windows of the Future

July 28, 2015

by Eva Mantell

“My favorite journey is looking out the window.” ~Edward Gorey

I’ve been staring out the window quite a bit as I help to organize Windows of the Future, a day of painting on antique glass windows that will take place this fall. A juried group of artists will paint outdoors in the foothills of the Sourland Mountains, during the Healing Science of Art Conference at Carrier Clinic, in Belle Mead, New Jersey, on September 24th, 2015.

We’ll be using 100-year-old windows repurposed from the renovation of several buildings on the campus. These elements of historic architecture embody a link to the past, while the art of transforming them represents a vision of the future. Staging a live event where new works of art emerge throughout the day will highlight the idea of embracing creativity as an exciting and important component of health care.

Windows have long been a favorite subject for image makers. Light through windows shapes and informs in subtle ways. Think Vermeer or Edward Hopper. Still and composed, caught by the light, framed by a window which is then framed as a painting. Think Alma Thomas, who painted the leaves and trees shuffling in the light outside her window.

Windows define a connection between a private world and the outside. Of course windows are filters too. We all see differently. A connection between inside and outside might feel reassuring or disjointed and alarming. Think Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window.

Windows can be regarded as another set of eyes, abstracted from the body, with a point of view that needs to be reckoned with. Think Rene Magritte. In The Human Condition he shows us a painted landscape propped on an easel in front of a window through which you see, startlingly, the very same landscape. The two views line up precisely. Reality and representation. That both are fictional results in a feeling of being unreal.

Today’s windows are far too real. Our computer screens, TVs, and smart phones are windows that collapse private and public space. These windows follow us everywhere. We may turn our eyes away, but these windows are not capable of being shut. If windows are like another set of eyes, these never seem to blink. There is no down time, no sleep to heal and wash away the clutter.

In this brave new digital world, a tactile, hands-on art practice is more than welcome. Contemplation, a meditative-like focus. An open and relaxed mind that can become nimble and responsive — to memory, to emotion, to ideas. Through play and process a voice could begin to emerge from within and open up lines of communication. These lines of communication could be life-lines connecting us to ourselves and to one another. I think spending so much time staring at digital windows only increases our need to reconnect with the practice of art. Art has the power to heal and restore the feeling of wholeness.

The Healing Science of Art Conference should be a fascinating look at this subject from many angles. Windows of the Future will be an exciting live event that highlights the transformative power of art.

Register for the Healing Science of Art Conference here.

3 Responses to Windows of the Future

  1. Johanna Furst

    Beautifully written.

  2. Martha

    A fascinating project and a lovely, clear-eyed essay. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  3. Martha Otis

    This sounds like an amazing day for art making, for healing and for the mysterious connection between the two.