The Splendor of Walking

/ Rachel Wolfe

Being, the act of doing nothing, is horrifying. Thankfully there is walking. Walking is a splendid act of faith. The bare practice of walking illuminates the visceral tones of action and movement-the basis of the unknowable, which is experienced through being in a body. Placing a foot on a surface presumably stable enough to launch forward from, to transfer the privilege of the support of the body from one side to the other, in a continual back and forth act, walking becomes a simultaneous free-fall, moving through a multi-dimensional space.

Walking goes hand in hand with faith as serving among commonly misunderstood pursuits a human can partake in. The acts which serve basic functions for human beings are often taken for granted, or taken to serve a fashion or fad, which are ceaselessly unreliable, shifting as rampantly as thoughts or emotions. But there is a lasting quality imminent to walking that I seek.

Middle-aged men walking miniature dogs, smoking cheap cigarettes and wearing flip flops. An abandoned cereal bowl I dare not peer into sits perched atop a ledge next to a dollar store book. Sprinklers spitting vapors that smell of chlorine, form meandering estuaries on the pavement. Groups of teenagers litter the darkened corners of parking lots, pining for the liberation from simplistic acts of rebelliousness. The fragrant stench of what one hopes is an animal outpouring and not the remnants of a drunken act. Sticky lines of thread from the hind sides of spiders I talk myself into believing to be far from the scene of my entanglement. These encounters are the dancing stimulus of walking through any given evening on the Westside of Los Angeles. The apartment buildings and light fixtures are reminiscent of the copies of copies of architecture in Las Vegas. The prized symbols of achievement in Los Angeles confoundingly rest parked beneath the shabby architecture, done up by signs of dignity or class, awaiting a disaster should the next big one hit the Richter, perhaps the metal bodies would provide additional cushioning. The aura of cheap parfum masquerading in designer labels and plastic topped bottles makes the solar plexus feel woozy. The oppressive realization not a single soul cares where I am or what I am doing settles into my bones. This outward-to-in experience robs me of the splendid act of walking in an all-too-easily-overlooked faith that must be reclaimed to enact a subtle body of force exerting upon the world.

The first step to navigating this subtle space filled with immense power begins with the choice of walking at night. I move my body when I want to move, and the privilege of having that choice is something I enthusiastically drink in on these night walks. Indulging in the proof I have granted myself a most desirable existence to partake in, walking is a grounding reminder of the faith I must put into the unknown, so all I love and desire to create in life may come forth from the force I have full responsibility for, and appear on the path.

Society favors the night to disempower the body from action in the world, as if the night brought out more hazards than the day. You see, it is the day that is plump with tasteless grizzle, the masquerade appears more convincing, the tantalizing sensations more distracting, and so it is taking this first step into the darkness that is a crucial effort in maintaining an honest practice as a person and artist. Society can act like a quicksand beach, made from transporting material from another area, to give the appearance that what looks like is there, was always or will continue to be. Another favorite activity society likes to partake in is the myth the night is where inspiration strikes. Inspiration is an entity readily available in every aspect of life, material or temporal, and can be used to create whatever it is we decide worthy of making. I ascribe the conditions in the world of warfare, among discourses of economy, race, religion, governments, or any other form of difference as evidence to an insistence human beings are not yet willing to embrace the enormity of the gifts life has to offer us. And so I practice seeking a way to allowing more of the splendor of life into my experience.

Continually, I return to walking alone, in the night. The darkness or solitude is not what is essential to gaining access to the richer aspects of a walking experience, but simply that sharing in walking with another brings with it an completely different dynamic of existence, one of acceptance requiring one be securely situated within the force of Love. A companion in the night, is a high achievement to behold in this life. But a companion is not someone who fulfills a fantasy or plays a role in a dream as a companion. These conflations are easy to make, but with effort in reaching toward the richness of the act of walking, one may grow sturdy enough to allow another way of being to inhabit the most intimate spaces, those of which are most essential to the basics of living in a body. The simplicity is so gigantically confronting, the energy impulses radically dynamic, the experience can easily be horrifying and grotesque, and so the other is pushed away. The pushing can become a mindless shuffle to and from one purposed companionship to another, never gaining the real experience, because in shuffling from one to one, it is really a being alone with intermittent distractions from the abyss of splendor available in engaging fully with the simple acts of living. This makes walking a fantastic practice toward developing the tenacity to encompass the qualities essential to expanding the space within the self, to experience the splendor of the unknowable qualities of life, and share those with another.

Worthy Of Loathing

/ Rachel Wolfe

I have got enough beef with the art world, old enough to make jerky, to feed the homeless population in Los Angeles. The volume of jackassery I have come to witness, catch second wind of, or nearly be sucked into, spills over like the gurgling gag of walking into a public restroom stall to meet someone`s horrible afternoon. The gnarly situation with the jerks is the more I try to chew on it, the more rotten the taste grows in my mouth, and I fear if I allow myself to swallow the mass, my bowels will evacuate, producing yet another experience in the long chain of nausea for someone else to walk into. You might think I`d be raising such a stink over some kind of event horrifying enough to make the Fox news, but I am not. I am in a deeply loathing and lasting encounter with the phony show, particularly of the false notion there is a singular world of art, and that world of art can best come to be known through Los Angeles. It is difficult paradox to exist in, and navigating the fake laughs and kisses, the celebrating of an ability to talk endlessly about assumptions has me dashing to corners of a room, or to someplace in nature, whatever I can do to get space enough to breathe. The weight of the hot air is oppressive and reeks of cheap wine. Nothing wrong with cheap wine, there just isn’t enough of it to quench the loathing I have for what many in Los Angeles consider the art world. The time we live makes the world accessible, and many worlds existing within, and I would like to invite those drunk on ideas of an art world in Los Angeles to step outside the bubble and recognize there are places where art does not have to be talked to death, is welcome and alive, instead of swimming in a simmering stew of banal stink. Additionally, the focus on the celebrity of an individual to produce the marketability of a persona of an artist is something I detest because it is for this I hate being what I am. A petite woman, whose voice is either too passive or too bossy, that genuinely cares about things like empathy, compassion and the well-being of others. And so I have to stop hating myself and take a stand in this manshit of having to get to the point in half-a-breath, or to keep a cool austere aura about me. To somehow find a way to make the bull kneel down, instead of charging into the beast waving the antagonizing flag as an acceptable way of art making is annoying. I hate that using words like masculine or feminine has become taboo, as if we did not understand the difference between having a penis or not, and that so much focus is given to deconstructing notions and worlds, as if that is the only way to make room for something new. And this is a personal stance, sure, and that I feel I have to even say that is another thing I hate. But anyway, I believe in creating-not problem solving, and the world and the art world is fixated on problem solving, which perpetuates this desire to deconstruct everything to the point of banality-hate it. The whole world gets so riled up about what is in each other`s pants, versus the work they are producing in the world-disgusting. I am so mad at the bullshit I am not sure I have much time to hate because I`m too busy being angry. Or maybe the hate of it all makes me angry, and so I stop. I call myself to a halt, because whatever it is that I hate, that energy can be put toward producing. So I stay in my studio; I stay to myself; I express exuberantly in my speaking with someone one-on-one, like letting the fizz out of a shaken soda bottle. The hate is the explosion of a shaken soda- shake too much and every drop will go to waste. So I let the bubbles settle, stick some chocolate in my mouth and continue my practice. The bitterness of a one-hundred percent chocolate bar, the buzzing numb of an American Americano (twice the dose as in Europe), the long solitudes, these are far more tolerable in plentitudes and keep me alert enough to dodge the shit when I see it coming, or keep my mouth shut so no one has the opportunity to shovel more at me. Would I rather give someone a genuine hug, sure, but honest niceness is something that left me stepped on more than anything. So I will go on loathing these conditions, keeping that niceness about me in some way, because I have to have faith the art world will someday be ready for what I can share-love. Maybe trivial sounding to say, or boring because people think love is simple (it`s not), but that is what I keep down inside of me, dodging the shit flinging all around me.

"The pressures of the world do not become less. We simply learn how to edit and build the energy needed to maintain balance with what is currently in play. Love. Do that. More."
R. Wolfe
endless reveal © Rachel Wolfe
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Another portrait of Delia Perez © Rachel Wolfe
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Artist Portrait, Marissa Johnen © Rachel Wolfe
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Artist Portrait, Delia Perez © Rachel Wolfe
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Yellow convergences  / Rachel Wolfe
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Disco and wine / Rachel Wolfe
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