Things are getting more and more eccentric at Casa de la Swain. Changing styles in my textile work, falling in love again with painting and photography...and then there is the ever illusive quest for continuing creativity through working with Eric Maisel. Still on the road teaching, posting now at the Ragged Cloth Cafe and taking the pledge to keep handmaiden up to date.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Re-visiting an old post on art

I am reposting a question from last week because I have been pondering both the question and Lisa's thoughtful response. Do you think it is just me or is it the medium itself? My work is trying to remove my "ego" but not my opinions on the nature of man and the nature of nature. How we are all one and so often forget that. Please comment freely...the way we learn is be observing and listening...and I am always ready to tackle a new aspect of myself or the work.
So here is the original post with Lisa's comments....hope you find them interesting and thought-provoking. They have been for me.

Original Post

While Charles and Christy were here on Tuesday, we got into a conversation about art being evocative and self-revelatory. While he agrees that my work is very evocative, he does not find it self-revelatory.....that the human is missing in the work. My explanation to him is that was my goal to take my ego out of the work as much as possible so that the viewer responded only to the references to nature....the world we live in. What do you think? Am I hiding behind this imagery?

Lisa's reply

Interesting question.

First of all I'm not sure I agree - I think there is quite a bit "you" in the earth strata series. Having never met you and just knowing only what I have read on this blog these pieces just fit. To me there is definitely some self revelation going on here. I do agree that some of the more representational work has less of that.

But that said here's my take on the subject.

I definitely see your point about wanting to get out of the way and just let the viewer respond. But in the end don't you have a story that you also want to tell? Isn't that part of what being an artist is about?

You have a lot to tell us in this blog, and it is very interesting and relevant to your art. To also include that in the work, in my opinion, would only make the work stronger.

Maybe your ego doesn't have to "get in the way" but can instead add to the viewer response. Then the reaction to the work becomes not just a reaction to your references to nature but also to you as a person.

So yes - in a sense you are hiding when you don't put that part of yourself into your work because you don't have to risk possible rejection if the viewer doesn't like the work.

As is, if the work is unliked it can be attributed the the subject matter. If you feel you have put more of yourself into the work then the rejection is more personal and that's a scary place to be.

7:38 PM



Karoda said...

I agree with the first half of what Lisa stated. I'll add that our egos are fluid, not at times the base of who we are may need to shout and scream and kick or jump and other times our base ego is content, full, and satisfied with life and when this is so some other aspect of our personality or higher/deeper self can our selves are reflected in the work, your self is reflected in the work...the thing to weigh is which aspect of our selves needed the voice with each piece we create.

Mrs. Mel said...

Just try and keep yourself out of your art, ha! It can't be avoided. Every artistic choice you make is a reflection of you. It's ridiculous to think it is not going to exude YOUNESS.

And why would you want to keep yourself out of your art? You might as well make a commercial pattern exactly as written. As if!

Rayna said...

Not possible to keep yourself out of your art. As my shrink says, 'your art is you.' Of course, you are never the same two days in succession - you've had different experiences since yesterday and you may be feelng happier or more annoyed or sadder or more/less playful than yesterday. So while your art will express different things, your fingerprint (so to speak) will still be embedded in it. What else leads us to recognize a piece of work as YOURS? It's your voice, no matter what.

Valeri said...

This is very thought provoking! What I thought originally when you posted this was that some people are many layered and others arn't. So some collections of work are immediately seen as 'by someone in particular' because they work in one special way while others with more varied characters produce a wider and more diffused body of work. It is impossible to divorce yourself from your work, it is what gives it character. How varied a character depends on your thought processes. Oh gosh I'm finding this really difficult to explain. I hope you can get a glimmer of where I'm coming from.

jenclair said...

Maybe Charles meant self-revelatory in the sense of relating a detailed personal experience. Look at the difference in the Journal Quilts - some have a broader, universal appeal and some are intensely personal and restricted to a particular incident or experience. Not that one style is better than the other, but the differences are evident.

I think there is a similarity in literature where some stories are strictly first person narratives and others use a more removed voice to relate a universal experience. The author/quilter always reveals "self" but the purpose is sometimes different. My general preference is usually, but not always, for the kind of work that lets "me" be part of it rather than an exlusively personal experience of the artist. Gabrielle's work looks at nature from G.'s heart and eye, but there is also room for others to fully appreciate her experience.

Sonji Hunt said...

I agree that it isn't possible to keep yourself, your ego out of your art. Making art is all about ego. And as Karoda stated, the ego is fluid and ever-changing in its desire and needs. Sometimes I notice when people say that they are removed from their work or they are afraid to try something in their work or afraid to ruin what they have labored over on a work, they have fear of all those same things in some aspect of their life. I'm not saying that you are afraid of something in your life, so don't get me wrong. As I view your work, I see you constantly experimenting and looking deeply for something, which seems to parallel your life. Everything we do is linked together...the way we create, the way we care for our physical and mental health, the way we express ourselves, blahblahblah. We can't ever separate from our egos.

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