Crisis

24/01/2021
I've been going to the studio fairly regularly, at least once a week for several hours since the start of September last year. Apart from December, I've put in quite a few hours. In that time, I've focused on completing earlier projects, such as finishing the Diamond Stripe I'd left in 2017, and doing more Circle/ Grid paintings and more Destructed studies. Today I even completed a new Modernal study.

However, while I've got several ideas for new projects and individual artworks, something is missing. I feel as if I am treading water and waiting for some inspiration to come to me - something to relieve the feeling of stagnation I have.

The problem is that I'm just making 'art' for the sake of making something. I'm not really involved in any important motivating idea or project that has a reason to exist. The work I'm doing now is formal - merely formal. To my eyes, it suffers greatly because of this.

In my recent readings on Duchamp's work, I can see his motivations for actually making work are specific yet impenetrable. Why did he do what he did? I think there's a certain horror of boredom - a typical upper class dilemma both then and now. In contrast, my motivations are too general and too obvious. I'm not saying I want to take Duchamp as a model for my art practice - I don't. I originally wanted to read more about him and his work as a way of gaining insight into my own work. But I can't see that happening now - I can see myself learning much more about Duchamp, but not much more about myself.

Again and again I find myself trying to pin down my interests, all in the hope of finding some connection with my output. Am I trying to justify it all to myself? I make lists of "things I like" or "things that interest me". None of these lists is exhaustive, of course. And so many things interest me in this world, so how can I recognise something as being of "core interest"? I can't obviously. I seem to lack some significant part of the ability to be introspective. I'm always looking inwards, I have no problem with that. I just can't learn anything - as if I have no real insight into myself. This throws me back onto my artwork in an even more frustrated state, and so I write another list, try another bout of soul searching then look at my work and feel I am going nowhere. And always there is the feeling of having reached a point, a crossroads in the past where I chose the wrong path. If I can only retrace my steps, surely I'll find the right way forwards...