In 2-dimensional media such as painting, which I identify with, one is confronted with two things to start: a blank, typically white space, and the frame which creates boundaries around it. I’ve written previously about those who find the former terrifying, but have said less about the latter, which personally gives me the willies. Today I’d like to dedicate a few words on the topic of The Frame.
For those like me, filling in a void with anything and everything issuing from the imagination is a natural feat. I could create forever, blissfully ignorant (if not seethingly defiant) of those four lines hugging the void of infinite possibility. “Beyond here, there be dragons?” Good! I would love to travel to wherever to see them. In that case there would be content here, content there; but boundaries (the ones I’m talking about) are not created, but definite and given. Metaphorically, in our world they are Time, Body, and Death, the things you have no control over, but which have total control over you.
Their existence is good, because it makes you focus – knowing the finity of Time, one has to arrange Space in such a way as to have the greatest impact. Meaning is god.
It’s something I’m working on. Heretofore I’ve been very fond of nonsense. In my late teens I seized on Dada (mainly Tristan Tzara’s words) as the ultimate expression of art. Proceeding through my twenties, my process was subconsciously derived and spontaneously evidenced, as it still tends to be. But see, as soon as your work is Framed, it’s also necessarily “about” something. I’m quite happy for it to be about what it’s about, but knowing what it’s about is another matter entirely, and fitting it to purpose is something else again. This is why coming up with concept sketches and the like I find challenging. I don’t start with an idea. I start with motion. Motion leads to…whatever. Something I can’t predict. Fueled by inspiration rather than conscious selection. As you move along, though, there is that awareness that you’ll have to conclude eventually! And in concluding, in comes the About. A lot of other artists work this way, and it’s the down side of siding with Unknowing.
My issue is one of the reasons why didactic panels (the blurbs on the wall next to art) drive me nuts. Art works exist in front of you, and are really about whatever you think they are, based on reflected qualities. They are always a bit of a mystery, or at least are much more interesting when they are. Wondering is part of the pleasure that looking at art can uniquely incite. Reading theoretical motivations for the work can be intellectually appealing but as a matter of course rarely adds anything to my experience of the work, where it doesn’t detract from it. I generally can’t see how the theory is meaningfully evidenced in the work itself, while my private experience and sense of wonder are all but dispelled with a more exacting definition in place. The university-ization of art is part of the problem, but only insomuch as the very worst about theory is propagated in the minds of young, impressionable artists!
Wow. Now that was a rant!
And so for me, achieving resolution being a kind of spiritual exercise, I’d like to