I look at this piece of art, “Shack,” by Elizabeth Murray every day. It hangs large and loud on the wall facing me, and over the past four years, I have grown to love it. I can look at it all day and notice new things. Can you see her? She kind of looks like Olive Oyl.
It is called “Shack” for a reason, of course. The woman’s world is a scattered chaos, her home in shambles, disorganized organization. So, the artist deconstructed the art and put it back together in this three dimensional masterpiece in order to tell her story. You can see the walls of her home, layered but still recognizable. You can see the cobblestone path leading to her shack, and I have also heard it described that the path can also be the chain that binds her to her existence in the home, connecting her down the chimney of her brain to the soles of her feet. She has been violated in some way, and so she has blocked entry to her innermost parts. You can see where her heart belongs, and although her home, her life, is in shambles, the light of the sun, or I like to imagine the Son, still shines through.
Murray’s work has been described as resonating struggle and pain in her own life, and this piece certainly shows that.
But it also shows the sun. It is up to the person appreciating the beauty to decide whether the sun is rising or whether the sun is setting. And, whether it is the sun or the Son.
The message resonates with me…
I am grateful for art.
I am grateful that even though I am completely uneducated about art, I can appreciate it for the gift it is to me as I look at this piece each day.
I am grateful that my employers love art and chose this piece to share my space in the office.
I am grateful that even though the artist’s message may have been very different, the message that her work speaks to me, fills my soul and tells a small part of my story, my shack.