Thursday, October 06, 2005

the natural order of things

Events are playing out as they should these days, which is a comforting thought on some level. Now that the players' strike is history, last night was the first Vancouver Canucks hockey game in something like 16 months (talk about upsetting the natural order for more than a year!) and they won, as they should, against the Phoenix Coyotes (Gretzky's first go as coach), because what the hell is a hockey team doing in the desert anyway?! Secondly, the teachers in this province are planning extensive and illegal strike action, something they've been too blind-sided by our current government to do for over a decade. (Go teachers!) All is well.

Then yesterday I got a note from Rosalind, the gallery manager of the Federation Gallery, that I hadn't included my artist statement with my paintings for the new exhibition. (I was secretly hoping she wouldn't notice...) See, this is where things in my balanced little world go awry. What are artists doing writing statements anyway!? They always end up sounding pretentious and rarely add to a viewer's appreciation of the work. I'm also a firm believer that using writing to describe art is an apples/oranges thing, like using cooking to describe music. Maybe I'm being belligerently anti-intellectual about it, or maybe just lazy, but let's face it: who reads them anyway?

Risking losing what little credibility I may have left as a blogster, here is what I managed to squeeze out today for the current show, Exploring the Series (mine are on page 3). If it sounds like drivel, I can take the criticism:

This series of mixed media paintings is inspired by a desire to express and visually diagram the layered or stratified nature of the earth and therefore of our own existence: a visual diagram of more than the physical but also the spiritual and temporal. I use simplified images and motifs within the stratified composition to express the idea that the plane upon which we exist is merely the surface of something much deeper and greater. I am trying to give the viewer a sense of the rhythm and harmony, yet complexity, chaos and layered nature of existence, using the random orderliness of the natural world as my template.

The title of each painting is a phrase or line from a specific poem. In this way I have united the language of visuals with the language of words to create yet another layer to the composition.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Steve said...

It is good. Your second sentence is excellent. Your line higher up about sounding pretentious is all too often painfully correct.

6/10/05 11:58 AM  
Blogger ChittyChittyBangBang! said...

Well said. I cannot agree more. Certainly puts yor work in the proper pespective, and no one knows that better than you.

6/10/05 11:59 AM  
Blogger christina said...

Andrea, your paintings take my breath away. "Here is the ancient floor" is so, so beautiful; my favorite. I think I agree with you about trying to use words to describe paintings. Yet the words you chose do describe them--though I got all of what you wrote from simply looking at the incredible stratta of each painting. The depth and vibrancy speak volumes about our layerd existance.

I liked knowing where the titles came from--unlike the other description which is sort of a translation of your art for the viewer, this tells something of the creative process that took place for you.

When I read the artist statements, that is always what I'm looking for--less of what they want the paintings to mean and more about what occured during the process of creating.

7/10/05 5:55 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

Thanks for your input. I read a few other artist statements at the reception last night and they were pretty good -- to the point and, for the most part, were able to stay away from the dreaded Artspeak. If I could re-write mine I'd pare it down more and use fewer of those cliched or borderline ostentastious phrases.

7/10/05 7:54 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

I agree with Christina - your last paragraph is my favourite. Statements are a necessary evil and usually either understate or overstate work. You have done a good job of a level headed one. My only advise would be to cut the words like desire and express, making it snappier and more confident :)

8/10/05 2:36 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

That is such a good suggestion that I immediately looked at the statement and see all kinds of things I can omit and tighten it up.

8/10/05 8:07 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

Don't forget to take out the word 'trying' because you 'are' giving the viewer etc. :) I would email ...

9/10/05 1:36 AM  

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