Thursday, May 25, 2006
back to the studio door
Liz Berg e-mailed me the other day to say she had finished reading Ted Orland's "The View from the Studio Door" and wondered what had happened to the discussion we had started here about 6 weeks ago. Well, first we had to give people time to get the book and read it. Second, I finally had time to finish it today when I had the LUXURY of sitting in the beauty salon without any distractions. Aaaaah - time for ME! So I fed my soul by finishing the book and making notes. I haven't underlined so much since I was in college - and you don't want to know how long ago THAT was. Liz said she found the book very interesting and thought-provoking (me too), but she says she is still trying to figure out what art-that-matters is. Ted - I like what you say -- "The art will matter when you say something essential about things that you truly care about." On the other hand, how do you know when you are saying something 'essential'? And in fact, just because you truly care about it, why should it matter to anybody else? (Understand that I am playing devil's advocate here). Does this mean that art is art only if it has content? And does the content (overt or not) have to be political or ecological? MUST it make a statement? I can only talk about this subject in terms of my own work, which is about memory and a sense of loss. Personal memory as well as collective memory - which are inseparable in my work and in my frame of reference. While memory and a sense of loss are my themes - and while not always visible, they are always beneath the surface in my owrk - I believe there is something universal there because people have told me how my work has touched them, and those who buy my work are those to whom it has spoken. Not to make this about MY work - I believe it is important for us as artists to know what our work is about. But it takes time, thought, and some self-assessment to see what patterns emerge in our own work as it progresses. Ted -- have your reassessed what matters in your work after having put together the photo album for your son Jon? Has what matters changed? Or are these parallel tracks? What do the rest of you feel about making art that matters? Let's start here.