Friday, September 22, 2023
HomePraxis Center for AestheticsThe Seer, the Seeing & the Seen

The Seer, the Seeing & the Seen


“The world’s big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” -John Muir

See the world with your own eyes or with the eyes of another. In each scenario, there is a new universe to be discovered. No two visions are the same, what you may see standing right beside me is nothing like how I experience the same moment. Our views of the present, of history, of what we hope will come to pass are inexorably singular and impossible to ever truly translate. We, humans, strive to put forth into the universe our version of events which are then seen through the lens of all the others shaped by their many thousand unique moments. There is much to be seen and no one person can take it all in. We rely on each other’s eyes and ears to inform our own of what they cannot see.

Cheryl Wassenaar is an artist based in St. Louis. Since her arrival there in 2001, she has witnessed a changing landscape as far as the arts are concerned. Today she says the city hosts a vibrant arts community. Presently Wassenaar is preparing to open an exhibit titled The Cabinet of Ordinary Affairs in collaboration with Stephanie Schlaifer, an artist and poet. This piece, their third collaboration, is based on Schaifer’s group of poems titled The Cabinet Ministers. The poems imagine areas of the brain as cabinet ministers and the exhibition visualizes this. Wassenaar’s own practice has been quite traditional and solitary so her collaboration with Schlaifer has been a big leap. Previously the two worked on an exhibition based on a collection of Schaifer’s poems titled Cleavemark. For this installation, Wassenaar worked through the ways in which the poems spoke to her, mapping the language within the context of the gallery space. She notes that there is a visual quality to Schlaifer’s poetry. In addition to her collaborative work, Wassenaar still works as a solo artist. She currently has a collection of objects that straddle the line between design, painting, and sculpture created from found material. She says she has always preferred to “build a painting rather than paint a painting.” Wassenaar’s object-based work is primarily exhibited and sold through Long View Gallery in Washington, D.C. To hear more about Wassenaar’s artistic relationship with found objects, listen to the full interview here.

Bridget Lowe is a writer living in Kansas City where she grew up. She appreciates her hometown for its affordability and an insular quality from the world in a sense. Lowe works full time for a publicly held company, a position she found her way into through temp work following the 2008 crash and subsequent recession. For Lowe, there was a security available that she couldn’t find in academia as well as a separation from a career that was inextricably linked to her work as a writer. Lowe’s first book At the Autopsy of Vaslav Nijinsky released in 2013 took her by surprise in that her original idea about how she would compose the poems in the book took on a life of its own and evolved by the time the book was completed. To hear Bridget Lowe speak about her approach to writing and listen to her read some of her poems, listen to the complete interview.

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:

To see the world through someone else’s eyes, to see the world through our own, these are the gifts of life and art and literature.

Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.

Books to Read

What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. Cheryl Wassenaar recently finished A Guide to Being Born by Ramona Ausubel. Bridget Lowe’s book At the Autopsy of Vaslav Nijinsky is available through Carnegie Mellon University Press.

Opportunities / Open Calls

Bogliasco Foundation invites visual artists (as well as others from a variety of disciplines) to apply for their spring, 2019 fellowship in Italy. Fellows and accompanying spouse/partner (there is a fee of $25/ day for spouse/partner) are provided with living accommodations and private bath. Deadline is April 15.


Weekly Edited Grant and Residency Deadlines – review the list here.



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