Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Something new


I took a few weeks off from making any art and it was a nice break, but I was ready to get back to it last week. I showed you some leaves a couple days ago. This is where they ended up—backdrop for a bowl of apricots. All the fabrics for the bowl, apricots and leaves were patterned by rubbing over textured things and the rubbing plates I have been making. I made rubbing patterned background fabrics too, but they seemed so boring. Not enough pattern for me, so I dug into my stash of commercial batiks. This is a little 12" x 12" piece. I seem to have internalized that size. It just turned out that way.

I finished this and felt like I have gotten into a rut. So many pieces that are so similar and so similarly meaningless. Predictable. Dull. Decorative. I have been thinking about this and wondering where to go next. I felt a little better after I read the Robert Genn email newsletter this week. I'm not the only one who thinks about these things. I liked when he said,

"...there will always be believers in the difficult business of ...delivering life-enhancing objects of beauty and personal passion. Further, popular collectorship will continue to find a need for landscapes, figures, florals and portraits. And while there are plenty of seriously dark concerns out and about these days, there is not much wrong with the sunny side."

I do, pretty much, stay on that sunny side. Maybe that's where I belong. Maybe I just need to give it all some more thought. I am going to be part of a panel discussion later this month about "finding your voice." Ironic, isn't it?

9 comments:

  1. Mr. Genn also said that if one feels the need to get gritty once in a while, there's a good catharsis in that too. Perhaps you need to throw some paint around or rip something up, or take on a touchy subject just to see what it feels like -- knowing that the sunny side is always waiting to welcome you back with open arms.

    :-)

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  2. Is there anything wrong with opting for the sunny side? Right now, when I look outside the window, it is grey, rainy - fall is here . I don't want to reproduce this in my art, honestly ... Therefore, I like your bowl of apricots exactly for what it tells me: to remember fondly the taste and the smell and the touch of - summer. And if I had to make a choice - I would always prefer a "happy" picture in my surroundings. For a darker picture, I just need to turn on the news on TV ;-))

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  3. I think of your work as being more contemplative. I look at it and see what it is and then look longer and see what it means; what it says.

    You put a great deal of time into these pieces and you are thinking about things as you do the work and these thoughts are caught up in the paint, thread and rubbings. I hear your voice in every piece.

    There is sadness in this piece as well as happiness.

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  4. I love "your voice" no matter what key you are in. This made me sigh with pleasure and using the rubbings to create your own fabric is just perfect.

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  5. I think all artists, in every media, struggle with the idea of their work being predictable and decorative. I certainly do. Sometimes I look at my things and think they are completely ordinary and uninspired. Then I look around and see folks working in outlandish materials with strange concepts and creating absurd things I would never want in my own home. But there is room for all kinds of work, and it always helps to remember that others struggle with the same issues I face. And after looking around at others for a while, I feel ready to tackle my next project with the voice I have had for a long time. Your work is superb, Terry, and we all envy the clarity and precision in your voice. Keep talking!

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  6. I agree with Joanne in her view that there is something contemplative in your work. Yes, they are very pretty and pleasing, but there is a simplicity to them, a finding beauty in ordinary things, that I think of as Japanese in style. There is something quiet and humble about this piece that makes it more than just sunny and pretty.

    And I also don't think that there is anything wrong with the piece, for you, being more about the PROCESS of working than the actual result.

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  7. So much of what my friend Jackie Gardener said resonates with me. Keep on doing what you're doing, Terry. It's a gift to everyone who comes in contact with it.

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  9. There are lots of things that could be discussed on this subject, but I won't get into it.

    I will say that I think you have definitely found your voice already, which those of us who follow your blog enjoy. If what you made makes you happy, then I think that's all you need to worry about.

    You're pieces are very well designed and well-made. I don't think it would matter if it is decorative or non-objective. There is definitely something zen-like in your pieces and that is part of your style.

    It seems like you tried something new, in this piece, with doing quite a bit of rubbing on different fabrics.

    That's still more than I wanted to say, but I think you do the work you need to do and it will find its place in the world.

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