Attentive Silence. Witnessing together. Sally L'Estrange
Watching a woman called Alex listening with selfless unselfconscious attention. Jaw soft, eyes intent. In the moment there is a sensation of colour, a vibration, an aura. I wanted to paint that expression.
And then. Copying Giotto's work I found many images of witnesses and understood the importance of witnessing and being witnessed. In Giotto's frescos there is action and then witnesses to the event. Frequently these witnesses are in pairs. A shared moment. Confirmation.
Then I started taking photos and making drawings of people who witness the world together over a sustained period of time.
Two people witnessing together. Sharing a particular relationship, like colleagues or brothers, each still responds in their own way. We know ourselves through shared interactions in time and place. This relationship of witnessing together sets up a mood peculiar to the people.
We know ourselves through our reflection in other people. Friends, father and son. I was interested in male friends when I did Didier and Patrick. A rich, sustained friendship.
Then Martin Buber reappeared. I'd read him in my teens and returned to his philosophy of existential spirituality. To address and experience the world through an I- Thou relationship rathe than an I- It relationship manifests the divine in all experience.
He proposes an engagement with the world through an Attentive Silence.