Taking Stock

Where am I in my art practice? Where am I outside of my art practice? I am in limbo. I am in no place, at least, no place that I have defined as my own. Is this definition necessary? Were it not necessary, I would logically be working with the ideas of other people, not thinking as laterally, or as originally, as I would be if I were in my own defined area. This would not be problematic were I stable in my ‘exterior’ life. Since I am not, and since I don’t believe in the artificial distinction between the life of an artist and the work they do, I must therefore look clearly at who I am at what I do.

The act of looking ? The act of seeing.

I have been interested in: boundaries, separations, distance, art history, art ‘myth’, self-identity as an artist, mark-making with the body, the line between the artisan and the mass-produced, the form of the book, conventions of presentation of art, the act of moving oneself in relation to the art-object, the act of looking then seeing the art-object, the act of reading, balance, an appreciation of industrial imagery, the questioning of the notions of beauty and ugliness, repetition and variations.

I will try to extract the most essential concerns from the above list, and perhaps more importantly, from the even greater list of ideas I didn’t explore.

I will also try to draw out the works from the past and find a common thread, if there is one, between the past and the future.

THINGS I LIKE IN MY ART (or: why does it look like other art?)

Sequentiality, repetition with variations, modality.
Binarism – mirroring of positive/ negative; black/ white; up/ down; left/ right; inner/ outer; dark/ light; industrial/
artisan; small/ large; beauty/ ugliness; ‘male’/ ‘female’; rough/ smooth; primary/ complementary colours; night & day; near/ far; order/ chaos.
Odd numbers, esp. 1, 3, 5
Lines, esp. pencil lines from up to down.
Fingerprints, footprints, handprints ? traces of the body.
Text – word games, single words, single letters.
Signs – hazard signs, conventional signs, pre-fabricated signs.
Prefabricated materials.
References to other artists’ works – direct and indirect.
Discrete objects, e.g. paintings, books, small models.
The square, the triangle, the circle ? simple geometry.
Boxes – especially to be opened, walked around.
Interaction with a work of art – from manipulation to simply walking around it.
Complex geometry (esp. mathematical rotation and repetition).
Scale, perspective
Perpetual paradoxes – a play with vision.
Portraiture, using some or most of the above.
The ‘modernist’ grid. Open grid, closed grids, grids in perspective.
Three-dimensional grids.
Certain colours: black, white, yellow, orange, primary and secondary colour, chrome, silver, grey.

Certainly I am interested in space, in our place within it, how we perceive space, the paradox of an enclosed space, how long it takes light to travel across space.

I like very much the idea of the evolution of writing from original visual pictograms. Perhaps language came before the ability to draw, and writing merged with language before it was actually writing.

The act of communication, how and why we communicate. Speech versus the written word, both obviously valid.

Reality/ fiction ----------- reality/ non-reality ---------- reality/ virtual reality
Reality/ fantasy --------- reality/ falsehood ------------ reality/ unreality
Sense/ nonsense ----- sense/ senseless
True/ false --------------- true/ not true ----------------- true/ untrue
Is/ isn’t ------------------- was/ wasn’t ------------------ will be/ won’t be
Will have been/ won’t have been ---------------------- should be/ shouldn’t be
Makes/ doesn’t make ------------------------------------ verifies/ falsifies
Experience/ imagination

I like the idea of non-linearity – 2 senses of the word:
(a) technical non-linearity e.g. videodiscs,
(b) narrative not existing.

Think of an open-ended visual practice, which aims to present objects, images and environments for the contemplation of various aspects of human existence, of thought, of experience. A humorous approach to questions of philosophy, ethics, politics, aesthetics, language, cosmology, cognition, psychology, etc. Think of a slow accumulation and mutation of thought, not of big leaps in understanding.

Who am I doing this work for, ultimately? I can’t answer that, but for the moment it is me.

Disrupt the function of an object. Why? Why the function (through the form)
attitude –
irony --------------------------- ironic
gloom ------------------------- gloomy
pessimism/ optimism ------- pessimistic/ optimistic
cynicism ---------------------- cynical
satire -------------------------- satirical
humour ----------------------- humorous
anger -------------------------- angry
parody ------------------------- parodic
bathos ------------------------- bathetic
inquiry ------------------------- inquisitive
philosophy ------------------- philosophical
play ---------------------------- playful

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