Sunday, July 27, 2008
Last night I was talk'n art smack with Dan Barney and I worked myself into a rather deep dither. I'm not sure what a dither is, exactly, but I'm in it. This dither thing happens when I think too hard about painting and my relevance as an art maker today. Here's the thing, I don't live in Italy in the Renaissance. If I were a painter there and then, my paintings would have a clearly defined purpose. Of course being female would have presented a problem, but that's another topic. Painting is what I want to do. Conceptual art is interesting to me. The theories and reflections and connections teach me to see, give me an awareness...but I want to paint. I want to explore different narratives and use symbolism to paint layers of meaning. It's not heavily philosophical or super sophisticated artwork. It's somewhat indulgent and pretty. Sheesh! How can I become the patron saint of painting if my life's work is indulgent and pretty? Thus, the dither.
Later on, I was reading an interview in this summer's Art Forum with art critic, Peter Schjeldahl. He was asked if he felt moved by the basic nobility of artist. His reply was this. "It's a great privilege to be an artist. You get to discover the outer limits of your talent and freedom. You get to see the world from a high place. If you flop and end up with a square job in Dubuque, you will already have a wealth of knowledge and experience that 99.9 percent of humanity can only dream of. Do not whine."
So okay, I should stop the whining and dithering but then I started thinking about another thing he said.
"I'm a believer in that great book by Edmund Wilson, The wound and the Bow ,which relates creativity to psychological damage. Artists are unhappy people, or they wouldn't be so desperate to make the world different. That's common sense."
...and now I'm up to my neck in dither AGAIN.