Yesterday I walked to Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery, a place that is familiar and is full of 'go to' exhibits.
Deliberately, I set out to see the museum afresh, accepting a floor plan from the steward, then, after a quick lunch from the coffee shop off the main hall, I enjoyed an organ recital, lots of familiar tunes that linked to other times, places and people. Then, having consulted the floor plan, I chose a couple of rooms to visit before wandering around some of my favourites, such as the statue 'Motherless' (above, seen from the rear).
This depiction of grief is poignant and beautiful, but coming at it from behind offered new things to ponder. I love the attention to detail in the fringe of the blanket, in the battens in the back of the chair. It also made me think how often, in life, we don't encounter things neatly and face-on, rather we find ourselves coming at them from an angle, having to wait to discover what is actually there. From the rear, this could easily be mistaken for a man reading a book, or even dozing; it's only as you draw closer and move alongside or around it that full revelation becomes possible.
It also struck me how easily we - or I at least - can settle into such familiar patterns of looking that we/I no longer see beyond what we/I expect. Deliberately approaching from a new angle, and trying to set aside pre-existing ideas, can be really valuable.
I discovered something new to me in the art gallery - of which more another time - for now though, I will try to remain alert to the way I encounter and view things, especially those I think I know well.