Secret Chord

Secret Chord • dye on fabric • 13″ x 13″ • ©2010 Jennifer Libby Fay

Dear photoboy,

Remember in March when you and Flanagan and I had our solo shows at the Underground? For a whole month it was all about us—we were on the radio, in the newspaper and magazines, there was a party every week—and remember when we invited all my fans on facebook to lunch at my studio and no one came? So the three of us ate the delicious cheese and bread and olives and drank the wine while we discussed important philosophical questions like, What are the ethical and artistic differences between taking a photograph of someone who is aware they are being photographed,

Luca • ©2009 Don House

and someone who is not?

Barcelona Street • ©2009 Jennifer Libby Fay

Good times, man, good times.

The best part was we believed our work mattered, and we knew if we just got ourselves out there more—maybe to a different audience or a new gallery, all would be well. Our discussions were encouraging and motivating and I seem to recall we agreed to meet every month to review our sales and marketing strategies with the hope that we could maintain our momentum…

By the way, we should, um, schedule that meeting, yes?

So you know that weird feeling you get when you receive a letter addressed to yourself by yourself? There’s those couple of surreal heartbeats when it doesn’t make sense before you think, oh yeah, whew, self-address stamped envelope. Well, I got one of those the other day which reminded me of another agreement we’d made back in March. We were each going to enter our work in something—a show, a magazine, whatever. Seems I entered the Artists of Northwest Arkansas Sixteenth Annual Regional Art Exhibition—and then completely forgot all about it. (I’ve been a little busy)

Guess what? I got in! My piece, Secret Chord, was accepted! And, can I tell you a secret about Secret Chord? You won’t believe this, but it started with an episode of the Oprah show. I know, I know, but it was last winter and we were having a bad snow storm so I decided not to go into the studio. I stayed home and did some hand stitching on a few new pieces.

I had the TV on to keep me company—okay, who am I kidding? I love Oprah, I think she’s smart and beautiful and amazing. I have learned many things from her shows and her magazine, so I can’t really pretend like this was all an accident. I usually tape her show, but this day, I was home, she was on TV, and Celine Dion was the guest. So here I have to tell the truth again—while I am aware of the extraordinary talent that is Celine Dion, I don’t actually own any of her records, nor do I listen to radio stations that would play her music—but she undeniably has one of the most purely beautiful voices on the planet, and whenever I see her interviewed, I just like her.

So there I am stitching away, half paying attention and they get to this:

I realize I could damage my rocker girl reputation by admitting this, but I love this song, and I love this version of this song: the surprise factor, the powerful beauty of her voice combined with the voices of the tenors, the fact that they step it up a notch when she shows up, and then the finish. I love it. Okay, here’s my redemption—the song, Hallelujah, was written by Leonard Cohen and you can’t get much cooler than that. Right?

The next day I went to the studio with a fantastical goal in mind: to make art as moving as the song Hallelujah. It is a good goal to have. I think I can spend my life pursuing it.

So if you are around on Saturday, July 10th from 1-3pm will you come by the Arts Center of the Ozarks for the reception? It would be lovely to see you.

Warm regards,

6 Replies to “Secret Chord”

  1. Well I just adore this post… start to finish… and your work is sumptuous as always…I will now go back and listen to the video but first BRAVO BRAVO for the wonderful surprise…wish I could hop over to ACO on July 10.

  2. Jennifer–Wonderful approach to a post! Its got me wanting to hear more about the story between photoboy & clothgirl…

    Congrats too on your acceptance. Wish I could be there!

  3. Jennifer. Goodness me! I was captivated by the image of “Secret Chord”, then I watched the clip…Now I’m teary and in awe…of you, the Canadian Tenors and Celine!! Thank you for delivering such a moving moment into my otherwise very ordinary morning!

    That was a moment of inspiration to cherish for a long, long time….

  4. Thank you Hannah, wouldn’t that be great if everybody could come?! Photoboy promises a response…

    Tracey, I am so glad someone else gets teary-eyed too—gets me every time. I am glad you found it inspiring.

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