In fact, I need to get away from these people: they are taking over my life and my art. I am obsessed. And I am tired of working this way. I believe I need to work on design without content. Is this possible? Does content creep in even though we are not conscious of it? And is it necessarily a good thing??I had a discussion recently with other artists about the connection between design and content: is it art if it is ONLY good design? Or does it need content? And if a good piece needs content, can it be in the artist's head without necessarily being obvious to the viewer? Or, can it do without content altogether? Who determines content? Maybe the viewer can supply his/her own content - and maybe it is not even necessary. In fact, content does not equal art. How do we strike this balance? Food for thought, thanks to Gabrielle's musings. So, I am on a mission to make pieces with design/no content. Wish me luck.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Gabrielle's short discourse on art as social commentary
Last night, when I finally caught up with Gabrielle Swain's blog, I was captivated by her as-usual-pithy/intelligent/thoughtful contemplations. I was also stunned, as I read her post on art as social commentary, to find this paragraph in which she referred to my work (Oct 12 post) Now let's look at Rayna Gillman's work with the antique photographs...some might be from her family; others she collects from various sources. Is this a political statement? Only Rayna can answer that but it certainly is a social commentary. Rayna is revealing something to us about herself....what she is drawn to, what memories effect her, how the imagery expresses something within her emotional, spiritual nature. Yes, I will answer -- but it will amount to thinking out loud here (which is why I started a blog in the first place, as I recall). Is my work social commentary? Hmmm... I suppose it is. As it happens, I have been infected with the "oh, jeez. my work is crap and it needs to change" syndrome that has been rampant among many wonderful arists I know - here in Blogland and elsewhere. I was going to rant about it anyway, so now you give me an opportunity, Gabrielle, to try and make intelligent sense of it. Thank you. It is obvious that my work is intensely personal. Social commentary - yes. The focus on memory and a sense of loss, both in society at large and as an individual.The disregard for the past, and certainly for human lives. Personal and collective memory pervade my work -- through my use of text and photographs. Yes, some of them are my family. Others are anonymous people who had real lives but have been long forgotten. Like the collage belo, which I have just mounted for an exhibit. Who is this woman? Where is she that she is dreaming of freedom? And what kind of freedom? What is her story? It is the ambiguity that fascinates me -- and the mystery behind her. And it is this same ambiguity that touches the people who buy my work. You supply the story and she becomes part of your life. And this man: who is he? Is he the boss? What is his business and how does he treat his employees ( or is he, in fact, one of those employees?). Implied social commentary, I suppose. But more likely, human connection.
at 5:40 PM