Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Handsome Man's Eyes

Downtown Tacoma, Ted our GPS, leads us straight to the Hotel Murano. We park in the Valet parking area and get out of the car for a stretch. The hotel is noticable because it has a huge work of art that stands several floors high bolted to the front area. I've never been a descriptive writer but it's like the tail of the letter q as drawn by a small child who then filled in the bowl with green coloured crayon. The crayon part is replicated by beautiful green glass. Its a WoW piece of art.

Inside is even more spectacular, glasswork canoes hang from the ceiling and there are display cases of glass scuptures, structures and creations along the walls. The reception desk stands behind a long piece of glass brilliantly lit in radiating colours of the rainbow. I've never seen anything like it. We chat at the desk. Every floor is dedicated to the artwork of an artitian from around the world who works in glass. On our floor, when you get off the elevator, there is a huge glass panel that has quotes by the artist speaking of her work. then there is a display of one of her more famous pieces. Along the wall to the room there are pictures of her at work, creating.

I've been in a million hotels over the years and have never seen anything like this. We plopped down in the room and then I stunned Joe by suggesting a trip to the bar downstairs. I had noticed that the bar had this incredible fireplace but also that there was more art to be seen there. We splashed water on our face, thus refreshed, and headed back down.

The only disappointment to the place, which is pretty wheelchair friendly, it that the bar is up two stairs and it's necessary to take a ramp up towards the spa, make a turn at the top of the hallway and then enter an 'employees only area' where they store bar supplies and then through another door into the bar. It kind of takes away from the experience of the hotel. But the warmth of the staff combined with the opportunity to see new art was cool. Spun glass oars hung over the fireplace and on the far wall were two huge glass fishing lures. Man, this place is just cool.

When we got to the bar, Joe ordered a bud and I ordered a green tea (I am here to lecture after all) and I noticed a painting hanging on the wall beside the fireplace. It's an arresting piece. A man, young, handsome with terror in his eyes, looks out through distortions in the paint. There are so many questions in my mind about what the artist intended, and more importantly what did the man see when he looked at the world with beautiful face but fearful eyes.

"Ah, you've noticed the painting," said the bartender who seemed eager to get into a conversation. "I often help the artist through the same doors you came through and we chat about what people see when they see that picture." She then goes on to what one customer thought then another. "So the artist is in a wheelchair?" I said. She stopped, nodded, and said "Yes, he comes into the bar the same way you do."

I saw her look away and smile. A 'Mission Accomplished' smile. From the get go she wanted me to know that some of the artwork was done by artisans with disabilities. That 'one of mine' had work there hanging proudly alongside 'some of theirs'. At first I didn't know how to feel about that. Having him centered out. Having me centered out. Part of me wanted to get huffy. But that part was drowned out by the feeling of 'cool' - 'cool, it's great to know that artwork which drew me in was created by another person in a wheelchair. That the muse, the touch of talent, didn't skip the crip. I looked at the picture again.

And understood the young man's eyes.


rickismom said...

It seems to me that since disability generally will affect one's outlook on life, it is only natural that being disabled would affect one's art.
At one point in my life I felt imprisoned due to family dynamics that I could do little about, and I did not have the material resources to flee (unless I felt I had NO choice.) (Today, that problem has been worked out satisfactorily.)
During that period I saw the artwork of a young gentleman who is quadreplegic. One painting caught my eye... it had a road with a row of birches on either side. Something in the way the trees were drawn, I instantaneously realized that the trees were prison bars. He aparently (at least when doing THAT painting) felt somewhat captive , whether by his disability or something else. I suspect that if I had not felt chained myself, I would not have noticed the bars. My life experiences, whether those of dealing with my relative, or the dealing with turbulent emotions after Ricki's birth, helped me view the painting from a different perspective.
I have no doubt that the painter painted differently, and you viewed differently, due to your disabilities. (I mean, we SHOULD learn from our experiences!)

linda said...

sounds like a great place to see. I'll need to check it out the next time we're in Seattle. I suspect the hotel is named after the island of Murano near Venice, Italy which is famous for its glassworks. Absolutely beautiful stuff is made there.