The Sea Essay

Submitted By MinneTan
Words: 1277
Pages: 6

The sea is a place full of wonder and mystery, where the hands of man have barely breeched her depths. It is also a place where you become completely vulnerable, where its waves either gently sway you towards shore or violently lash you out with the tide. These thoughts always seem to cross my mind once my bare feet have edged into any form of water. All water leads to the sea, and when I find myself standing on the shoreline of the pond in my backyard I can picture myself standing on a beach with brilliant blue waters surrounding me. It doesn’t stop there though, for all I know I could take a step back and suddenly be lost in the midst of a jungle with animals calling to one another and sunlight just barely peeking through the canopy of the trees. The possibilities are endless, and some say I am losing myself in my own imagination, but I like to say that I am lost at sea.
Walking through the halls of the Minneapolis Institute of Art was a unique experience I’d like to have again and again. Not every piece of work peeked my interest, but it was a trip well made. Nothing seemed to capture my attention more than Jantje Visscher’s Drawings in Light (Figure 1). The Drawings in Light were described as a “shedding light art” in its description when it was added to MIA’s collection in 2007 (Figure 1). The longer I watched the reflective lights twist and whirl upon the wall I slowly became entranced. I could almost feel myself be lifted right off the ground, as if a gentle hand had nudged me forward into the light show and I gladly welcomed it. I was entangled in this trance for what seemed like an eternity, which could have very well been true. The light seemed so prismatic that I couldn’t turn away. This trance was “a hypnotic, cataleptic, and ecstatic state” (Houghton Mifflin). However I wasn’t trapped. It’s not like the grasp that held me there was firm, but it was loose and gentle, which would allow me to leave at any time I wished and I knew if I were to return I would be welcomed with open arms. This piece intrigued me far more than I could have ever fathomed, but something also seemed extremely wrong. The absence of color left me with a feeling of cold emptiness, like if I were to plunge into the shimmering lights that were on the wall that nothing would be waiting for me there. I would be alone, with different shades and tones of grey surrounding me. The old saying, ‘all that glitters’, doesn’t pertain to everything that shines. The surface of the sea can be quite inviting, but what lies in wait is what entices my interest most. Anything could be lurking within the depths of the sea. When I use the word lurking, however, this doesn’t solely describe predation. Something wonderful or miraculous could be there, just hiding, waiting to be uncovered. All that it is anticipating is my actions and whether I choose to draw back the curtain or not. One thing I could uncover is Kyoko Tokumaru’s Cosmic Plants (Figure 2). This sculpture made me feel as if I was submerged with my body idly floating. I could almost feel my hair be warped as if a gust of wind was shaping it into a new design. The sculpture itself was made out of unglazed porcelain in the year 2008. This particular piece has such a “elegant rhythm of long leaves and twisting branches” which adds a “weightless, aquatic quality to the work” (Figure 2). I almost now picture myself plunging through the Drawings in Light and as I broke through the surface, I would open my eyes and the sea floor would be filled to the brim with this strange, aquatic sea life. I could picture myself kicking downward, playing amongst the sparkling coral and slick yet smooth seaweed leaves. As described by Lillian B. Rose, she describes almost perfectly how my heart is entranced with each stroke I take to proceed forward (i.e. The Sea): “The sea, the sea: our ally and friend. The seascape drawing us in. In triumph, two sweethearts together, creating minstrels in the sand.” (