Compassion



Jeffrey Hayes
"Compassion"
Oil on panel, 8 x 4 inches (20 x 10 cm)

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I don't often engage in overt symbolism, but it does seem fitting and organic sometimes. For most of my life, I've disliked the word compassion, probably because I've always equated it with pity. Pity implies a real disparity between subject and object; one doing the pitying looking down on the poor suffering one, with an implicit sense of superiority. Somehow that attitude seems objectionable to me... maybe even a little smug. Thinking some more about compassion, though, I've come to see that it arises not from a sense of superiority, but from a genuine sense of solidarity; an authentic recognition that on some deep level we all share the same predicament; we all hang from the same string.

One other thought; although our aesthetic goals differ somewhat, I have to make an obvious tip of the hat to the wonderful Mary Klein. I enjoy seeing her delightful and distinctive work often.

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