ALWAYS SEE THE DEALER
November 4, 2021 - Joy Reed Belt
Elizabeth Hahn, "Keep on Truckin'," Acrylic on Panel, 12 x 12 in.
When I turned on the ignition in my car yesterday morning, the dash lit up with several indicator and warning lights including the “Check Engine Light,” “Low Engine Oil Light,” “Charging System Warning Light,” “Tire Pressure Warning Light,” and most frightening of all, a message I had never seen before: “See the Dealer.” Thoroughly panic stricken, I drove very slowly to Bob Howard Toyota in Edmond. Although the service attendant who checked me in was very reassuring, I could tell he was somewhat perplexed by the sheer number of symbols and warnings that had been activated. As requested, I went to the waiting room and started my daily routine of reading texts and emails and listening to voice messages. In about an hour or so a service attendant came out and asked me who had last put air in my tires. I told him that an employee had after my Tire Pressure Warning light had come on when the temperature dropped. The service attendant told me that instead of 38 pounds of air in each tire, my employee had put 80 pounds in each tire. Hence all lights became activated signaling that something was wrong. The attendant highly recommended that next time I have someone who knows more about cars than art manage the air in my tires.
That incident reminded me of how many signs, signals and illusions appearing every day in our lives go largely unnoticed, or are misinterpreted. We ignore many symbols, like stop signs, and can be oblivious to emotional signals from a spouse or other family member until the relationship begins to deteriorate. One of the roles of a therapist is to help us identify, watch, and interpret those signs. Likewise, an art dealer has to be able to interpret the symbols and signs in the art they represent. In my experience, most artists are acutely aware of the signaling they incorporate in their paintings. They often talk to me about how they rely on symbolism when creating their art and seem to enjoy showing me the allusions and symbols embedded in each piece of art they create. But that symbolism is not always transparent to the viewer.
Caroline Farris, "California Dinner," Acrylic and Oil, 60 x 48 in.
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