Housekeeping on the dashboard of this blog, including deleting a few rubbish comments from spammers and grappling with editing pages and gallery images for the first time in a while, I found several titles of uncompleted post drafts, including the above heading with absolutely nothing written next to it 🙂 Whatever was on my mind a few weeks ago, I was interrupted and didn’t resume it. Never mind, it seems apt for today’s post.
Yesterday I composed an artist statement on the work “Land Marks” I’m providing for the invitational part of Judith Trager’s “75 Exhibition” in Boulder this coming August.
“Land Marks” 2016, detail
The statement for this piece reads: “Erosional forces acting on the Earth’s surface produce distinctive shapes and textural patterns in every landscape, changes which have come to mean a metaphor for the physical changes we all experience as we progress through Life. Additionally, on every continent are thousands of sites featuring ancient hand drawn, painted and chipped markings of patterns and symbols on rocks, cave walls and even out on vast plains. Styles vary and we do not always understand their symbolism; but we always recognize them as man-made.
Recently I have found myself faced with an irresistible challenge to use unconventional materials in a quilt-like way. In this work, Mylar coated nylon shapes were covered with hand-drawn patterns and machine sewn onto mock-patent leather vinyl fused to a cotton fabric backing, thus technically fulfilling the function of ‘quilting’. The fusing process produced unexpected wrinkling, which I feel is a plus, as such things can sometimes be. “
There’s no doubt that writing a statement about a particular work pins you down mentally, forcing you to think and even re-assess how a particular piece fits into your overall body of work. People who know me well have heard my opinion that the best artist statement about a work is an apt single- or two-word title. As I make each piece, I keep a list of contenders as they come to mind. I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve settled on that lazy cop out, “Untitled’.
Just now I had the notion that I could work around the other way – that is, draw up a list of words such as these key buzzwords frequently found in statements and titles – journey, markings, stitch, cloth, inspiration, texture, pattern, patience, media, environment, media, assemblage, arrangement, response, hand-dyed, textile, embellishment, eco print, designer, pure, mixed – select one, and proceed from there. I could easily find many more, and I suspect the choice would influence the outcome of the design and the craftsmanship. Come to think of it, I could just randomly select a word from any dictionary and go from there …