I have a fascination with time. On the one hand, I'm slightly obsessive about it and admit to being one of those people who leaves way too early for things in order that I'm not late due to a marauding band of circus elephants that have broken loose from their trailers and are rampaging down the streets, blocking my route. Seriously, it could maybe sort of happen ... if metro-Vancouver experienced a rip in the space-time continuum and we were plummeted back in time to say, the late 1800's when circuses caravanned their cages on wheels, down city streets! Stranger things have happened! ... Maybe not. Despite being held captive by my wristwatch, I'm at the same time enthralled by the notion that linear time is a human construct. That all time exists at once but our piddly little human brains can only process time as passing in a linear fashion. That the past can be influenced by the future as much as the future influenced by the past, and that all of it is essentially “now”. I've already arrived even though I haven't left yet. Talk about a brain pretzel!
In my alternate reality of paint, I don't follow the linear time mode. Perhaps that's because when you're in the zone, or in “flow” you lose a sense of time passing. If the clocks are still in one piece, they're stuck at 11:11. (Just for my own twisted amusement, I schedule my blog posts to be published at 11:11am) More often than not, the timepieces I paint will be broken altogether as a symbolic gesture to the eternal now. When you take that step across the threshold and out of the ordinary, all bets are off. The rules of reality and linear time just no longer apply. If you've ever been held hostage by a seemingly irrational emotion, you've just time-traveled into your past. For that moment, no matter how brief, you ceased to be in the present moment and were instead in your 2, 8, or 12 year old self. You were living your past in your now. Trippy, huh?
Painting watches and clocks as broken or stopped at 11:11 feels like I've visually frozen time, sealed the moment for eternity, as if in a formaldehyde-filled glass jar in a dusty old cabinet of curiosities. Sort of like the way TV crime writers have the murder victim's watch break at precisely the moment of death, giving the investigators a window into the time the crime was committed. (How often does that happen in real life? Seriously?) The broken clock halts things and allows the viewer to step out of the reality of forward moving time and view the moment from all angles; taking in every tiny detail at their leisure, seeing what could be missed in the blink of an eye. Things happen in that space between the tick and the tock; betwixt and between the past, present and future. Art captures those winking moments in time and preserves them to be relived and relished in perpetuity.
And I'll leave it at that because I'm sure I'm about to be late for something even though I may already be there. I should check the traffic report for escaped elephants ...