Respiri (Breaths)

An investigation of the application of monastic principles to art-making in yet another form, Art Monastery co-founder Betsy McCall sits in silent meditation before her paper, brush in hand, ink on brush. Sitting until the breath moves her arm, McCall considers these paintings portraits of the breath. This installation at Colle di Costa, Labro, Italy, of contemplative paintings on paper is part of a continual exploration of the creative, contemplative, communal, integral life of the artmonk. Associate Artistic Director Liz Maxwell says, “Betsy's installation of Respiri this year was another major milestone for the AMP. As the first major installation of Betsy's work in Labro, it was such a pleasure to present her work to our local friends and supporters there, as well as promote it to a larger audience. I never tired of watching people study carefully the heavily patterned works, draw connections among the smaller series, and breathe so delicately and consciously out of respect for the work. I also found myself deliciously alone in that space several times during that month - for me it transformed the theater, a beautiful historic stone building in the monastery, into truly an ART monastery in such a vivid, clear, tangible way. Admiring the contemporary paintings against the rustic stones in the wall, I would go in there specifically to collect my thoughts and breathe myself for a few moments, before heading back out into the noisy world.”