When Sue and I went to Old Town Arlington last week, we saw this guy outside of a building whose name I don’t recall. We had just left the Torpedo Factory. The Torpedo Factory is an unprecedented art gallery. Fantastic! If you suggested that I go to an art museum with you, I would grit my teeth and my any means necessary politely decline. I don’t do most art. Not that I don’t admire the artist, but unless you’re using words, I’m pretty lost on meaning.
When Sue and I blew through the front doors on a pre-storm gust we nearly tripped over a gentleman with two longhaired dachshunds. A wall of open doors confronted us reminding me of Alice in Wonderland. Each door offered a peek into a brightly colored room bedecked with shapes and textures and mediums of all kinds. The artists were in most of their own rooms anxious to explain their inspiration, muse and means.
Sue and I hovered outside one closed door, glad the artist wasn’t inside. Under our breaths, with no discretion we expressed our dislike for the monstrosities on every wall. The paintings were hodge-podge, collages of elements from different centuries and different worlds. A centaur was juxtaposed to a naked woman, standing on an elephant in an old-fashioned circus next to a gargoyle. A snake wrapped itself around the image in contorted frame. I’m probably not remembering the painting precisely, but it was disturbing.
“Excuse me.” An eccentric, short lady with an adorable dog stood behind us, her keys jangling in anticipation. “I’d be happy to let you in.”
“Are you the artist,” Sue asked. Much to my chagrin, she was. Oops. We followed her into her room to be polite, so I decided to ask her what her art meant, if anything. I’m not sure if she was insulted that I didn’t know or honestly thought I was blind or ignorant. Either way, she did seem surprised that I failed to interpret her art.
Sue and I continued up the stairs. I turned at one point and caught a glimpse of an open door into an empty room. Empty except for one butterfly on the floor. One butterfly, trailing one more and one more a little higher. Each butterfly strung just behind one more up to a cluster of Monarchs on the all. From outside, it appeared that the entire room was devoted to the butterflies. It was beautiful.
There are four floors in the torpedo factory. We set foot on each one, but barely absorbed a fraction of the color and creativity. Perhaps it was the company, but I can’t wait to go back either.
Finally, back to the picture. This gentleman plays glass. He plays Mozart! He has played with goldfish in his bowls too!