Trusting in Absurdity | art, absurdity, 20th century artists

Endless Summer works of Elizabeth Lallen

At the Beach, Elizabeth Luallen. You can buy this picture at Just click on the image.

In this Elizabeth Luallen masterwork, a brawny lifeguard carries a robust little lady; or does he? And if he is saving her, why is she fully dressed? Isn’t the man to her right really doing the heavy lifting? Garb suggests turn of the 20th Century. And yet, the man to the right, posing like an Abraham Lincoln preparing for The Gettysburg Address, is missing his pants.  Another woman looks on apologetically, lifted up by a couple. Everyone is posing for this picture. Everyone appears complacent in the everyday nature of this moment, even though it’s strange. A little man’s head protrudes from behind nude Abe’s left shoulder blade. A bird perches on the head of a stout woman who holds either a brownie camera or  a coffee mug. A young girl floats above, before a yarnball moon.

Disgruntlement, indifference, satisfaction, affection, aggrandizement, dutifulness, or awe: each person brings a different attitude to this imaginary photo.

The picture looks unfinished. Where sky and water end, so ends the picture. It evaporates at your feet. It waits for you to complete it. Without you, all of your feelings and opinions, it cannot be full. It waits for you to clothe it in meaning, significance, or beauty. Without you it hovers, like the girl, in a half-life of obfuscation, or like a statesman without his underwear.

We all face the absurdity of life. We try to understand, then end with a piece of the puzzle. Something is always missing, though. But what? Some of us believe we have found the missing piece. But its shape keeps changing. What was weird is now just another day at the beach. The strange things in life are simply experiences which patiently await our understanding or acceptance. We need to decide whether to trust that our own experiences have reason to exist, by virtue of the fact that they happened. We need to acknowledge that the mystery of faith lies in the belief that something matters not because it exists, but because we have finally rendered it whole through our own personal experience.