The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) has been my personal temple for many years. It began decades previous when my elementary school took my class on a perfunctory field trip there. It was then that I was exposed to art, and the great artists. I would like to report on this blog how I was in awe and my reverence began that day. On the contrary, I was the typical obnoxious student making slightly inappropriate and immature remarks to my peers. But, something did stir. It was more of a ruffling of my feathers in the gentlest of breezes. A small touch of an awakening, much like a touch of a cold, like the sniffles.
The DIA left a mark on me, even through my pre-adolescent glaze. It wasn’t until I was an undergraduate student that I returned to the halls, and galleries of the DIA. By then, I was hooked on the paintings, sculptures, murals, relics, and photographs. It had in my twenties become my mecca.
I recently returned after a lengthy hiatus. Children and a full time job would do that to the best museum goer. I decided a few weeks ago that I needed to run away from my hefty adult responsibilities and return to the DIA. I yearned for a psychological and spiritual reprieve. There is no better place to reconnect with the deeply felt artistic and spiritual energy revolving within me than the DIA.
The pervading silence was perturbed only by the occasion adult also shuffling through the galleries and the boisterousness of children mirroring my first DIA visit. And, as I spent the afternoon in a mostly empty museum, I began to understand where my reverence was originating. It was from the works and artists themselves. I was unencumbered by the necessity to communicate with a friend, and so I could hear the voices of the artists, through their works.
I felt them reaching toward me in the imprints made by their hands and brush strokes. The artists spoke to me, and by my viewing, I reciprocated that relationship, in the deep communicative reverence of artist to viewer. They whispered through the aesthetic halls, not in words, but in waves of impressions across time, space, and language. My soul heard those whisperings and I was filled with an equally intimate relationship as any house of worship. In the silence, I felt the presence of artists, long dead, still speaking through the impressions of their visions.
I am thankful for such places as the DIA, where time wavers and melts, and whispers from generations past are heard from the artists’ voices.
“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and viewer.” By Ansel Adams