How do we form our relationships to art, sound or the self? Is it all pre-conditioning or situational or does some part of it essentially come from some Platonic realm of forms or a divine spark we channel while in this mortal coil? It is a fascinating subject, a mansion-sized conversation with many rooms and theories to wander through. The answer can also be different for each individual, I’d wager.
Some of my earliest memories are of my father, artist Tom Vink-Lainas, having spirited and laugh-filled discussions about art and philosophy with fellow painter and friend Ernest Frazier. I think they may have met at the School of Visual Arts in the ’60s, but I can’t remember exactly how they became friends. Regardless, it was truly powerful growing up to be able to look up to adults in my life who encouraged art as not just valuable but something that it was very irresponsible to neglect if society was to grow in a progressive manner toward a better world. While both Frazier (who passed in 2004) and my father are both gone now, it is amazing how I can close my eyes and literally hear them talking like I was still a little kid at a bustling Woodstock dinner party.
I still believe with every fiber of my being that the arts can nurture the best aspects of humanity and allow room for us to pull forth out most complex statements of self. While I chose music and writing as my own form of self-expression, I often wonder if I would have ended up doing something devoid of creativity at all if not for overhearing those conversations as a child. Not to knock anyone who has a life outside of the arts, but I have to believe on some level inside I would feel a lot emptier and perhaps never know why.
The Lace Mill (165 Cornell St. in Midtown Kingston) will be presenting over 50 varied works by the late contemporary artist Ernest Frazier in the West & Main Gallery during the months of September and October. This is a can’t-miss show of profound works which speak to the deeper human condition and transcend boundaries. As a successful artist of the 1970s he struggled with the racism of his time. His paintings are owned by the Whitney Museum (who have exhibited his work numerous times) and by many other venues and collections. Open on Saturday & Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. and by appointment — call (845) 481-5402. The opening reception is Saturday, Sept. 7 from 5-9 p.m.
Speaking of contemplating mortality, Austin-based artist and musician Emily Cross, known as Cross Record, will be playing at Tubby’s on Monday, Sept. 23. She is touring in support of her new self-titled album, out now on Ba Da Bing. A former member of SubPop trio Loma, Cross has since become a death doula and performs guided Living Funeral ceremonies contemplating impermanence as well as full band shows. Check out her soothing yet somewhat lonely new video for the oddly titled “PYSOL my castle” on YouTube for an introduction, if you are unfamiliar. The name makes more sense once you hear the song and see the floaty sensory deprivation tank-themed imagery. It’s a good reminder that we all have unique experiences that make us ourselves or unique traits we share with others but that we all need to find ways to let go sometimes.
I hope you all have a positive week and don’t need to nuke any hurricanes until we meet again.