Monday, March 26, 2012
Revising the artist statement
I'm reworking my artist statement to reflect what has evolved in my work over the last couple of years. Artist statements, while a necessary evil, are usually the last thing an artist wants to create. They have a reputation for being useless pieces of fiction, written only for galleries and collectors who don't understand them, but want the writing on the wall, quite literally, to become part of the aura of the artist.
My artist statement tries to be factual, brief and written in terminology that helps the viewer have a better understanding of why I paint what I paint. Its never easy to put into words something emotional and often something that even I, as the artist, don't have a firm grasp on the 'why' of.
As I drove home today, I glanced at a bank high above me on the highway. It was early spring dulled brown with just the lip of dried grass poking over the cliff edge and a fallen tree lying across the summit. In my mind, a sepia drawing flooded in along with detail of the rough grass, strewn rock and dead tree. To most people passing by, it was boring, and not worth a second glance. The artist statement challenge is getting across to the viewer, my vision of how something such as that dull piece of land can turn into art and why it inspires me.
Back to my artist statement. Its swerved from being tightly focused then broader, then more focused and now back to broadening once more. I think this is quite normal, as for each exhibition and focus a new statement needs to accompany the art to help the viewer see the artist's vision. Now my focus, while broader than gyotaku and even water has a common denominator of reflections. I analysed why I was drawn to the fish and the water and marbles, glass, etc. Its the play of light back from a surface. Its reflections. Coming to that realization was through an brain storming exercise where I wrote down everything that I liked about subjects, other paintings that drew me in, colour, landscape...almost like a storyboard of images, colour and ideas that helped me focus and drill down to what I was really thinking about in my art. Now to put it into words.
A little pre-used canvas, a little left over paint on the palette and ideas of reflections in my head created this 5 x 7 in oil of a marble. Simple and without overthinking, this took about 30 minutes.