Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ways of Working

I had a heated discussion with a friend the other day about art practice. He suggested my paintings are more exercises than Art, because I’m working out my ideas on canvas. He can’t understand why I stay with a series so long (my current series is at 22 paintings, although I’m getting ready to shift my interest, I can feel it).
My friend also doesn’t understand my disinterest in my previous work. And it’s true, I fixate on the problem at hand. My best paintings are my current ones. My previous work? I don’t want to see it, talk about it, or refer to it. It’s stored, I don’t have it up in my house. My friend thinks this may be proof that I’m not making Art up to even my own standard. No, I didn't punch him...
Many artists don’t “practice” this way, especially sculptors or conceptual artists. I understand this, sculpture can be very expensive to produce—it takes time and money to find or make the perfect parts. Idea must often be complete before the “making” starts.
Both art-making processes are valid, but of course I’m more interested in my practice and that’s why I work the way I do.
I was at an art opening the other day, and the big guns were out, and collectors too (I don’t know why, with the economy as it is, maybe everyone just wanted to be morose together). The academics were all talking about how scared they are about job security.
In this crowd was an artist I truly admire. I didn’t introduce myself, only thought about it later, that I wished I’d engaged him in conversation. He’s someone who works the way I do, in “exercises”, steadily producing a huge body of work. Finally, in his 70s, he is getting recognition from the larger Art World.
Need to write him a letter.
(image above is a Giorgione, lovely)

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