Has anyone else had this moment of epiphany before an artwork?
I had a very similar experience to Anne Truitt, an American abstract artist working in sculpture. I was 19 years old. My father had died 6 weeks before. I was in Brussels, travelling alone and entered the art gallery to a huge, or what in hindsight may have tripled in size, red Rothko painting. And there I stood; for what may have been hours or minutes. But it expressed all the tears and grief that I had inside of me that were caught there. At that stage grief had caused my neck and jaw to lock and I could only open my mouth a little and was not able to turn my head at all, in fact I think the Rothko may have healed this as I have no recollection of this afterwards.
That moment changed my life. But it was not just the seeing, it was that a gallery staff member who came up to me and asked if I was an artist. Oh me? “Mais non”, but every part of me was thinking - yes! How did you know what I myself did not even want to admit to myself, because the idea of being an artist is so hazy, so unreal, so illogical and spacious in its intent. “Well”, said the lovely suited man, “You should be”.
The epiphany must have spoken louder than I realised. Maybe I cried? Maybe I really was there for hours, whatever it was I felt it resonate so deeply it still rifles there. The intense redness stirring my blood and my heart and my tears and will not allow me to let art go; as much as it hurts me sometimes trying to work out what it is I am doing.