Friday, July 31, 2009
Update: 100 Flashes of Memory
Oh where to start... my pet project merging my photography with a type of poetry, conceptual art, and music has been very interesting and a bit frustrating for me so far. A lot of thinking, talking, and writing has gone into it, without many results. Many experiments, but no real results; and many rants to my dear friends about this lack of results...
While I am writing this, I have another set of "experiment" blocks (I think this is the third set sacrificed) on the table in the other room, waiting for the next step. This fabled next step that will turn them from mere assemblage into art. This is the final step that has been going awry in all my experiments so far. As I write this I am feeling a bit more hopeful, that perhaps I have learned a few things in the past few weeks and that I am streamlining my process and that tonight might be the night. Truthfully, I am a bit scared to take the next step as I don't want to be proved wrong and go back to square one again.
I also know that this project is becoming a metaphor for my life. I am at a crossroads, I have the concepts but I am not sure of the next step. I find myself feeling a bit back at square one. I am a little scared and a little excited.With the recent gallery closure, and an overflowing inventory, I do wonder sometimes about the gallery system and if it can sustain me. I enjoy promoting my work, and I like having a certain amount of control in that process. I have seen many younger artists really maximizing use of the Internet so that they do not only rely solely on the gallery system. I have tried a bit of that route as well, as you know. Anyway, without getting too specific, I feel like I have many options that are available to me, that perhaps I have pushed away, because I was tied up in galleries or I assumed the gallery would take care of that for me. Don't get me wrong I am not knocking any galleries that represent me and my work. I am just saying that I have dropped the ball a little bit here and there and because of this, sometimes my art career has felt like it veered off the road. However, I keep correcting and keep on the path.
It is all a big experiment. I do not know the answers. I try some things on the path and learn a long the way. Perhaps I have gotten a bit complacent, or afraid to try and take much needed risks as they might have yielded only failure. Or not even failure but the experience of just trying something new. It is that feeling of not knowing what the hell I am doing that is so uncomfortable but yet is also so worthwhile. It is so easy to become stuck in a rut, producing the same work day in and out, just because you know how. At the same time you may not be challenging yourself enough to keep motivated, to keep learning. It is hard to find that balance.
Anyway, by working on these blocks I have been learning all sorts of things about the project and about myself as well. I forget how second nature making my kind of paintings has become and while that doesn't make them less than, it does keep me locked into a type of comfort zone. My safe abstract world, of color, texture, shape and form.
Today, I was in the studio planning on just being around my things and not working. I looked at one of my abandoned paintings on the easel and it just opened up before me and told me what color it needed and where it needed it. This was something that took me only twenty or thirty minutes, but the feeling I had while listening to that painting was so reassuring. It wasn't about fighting against the tide, it was about just being there, listening and following. It felt so good. I didn't finish the piece and I didn't push on, I just listened for those few minutes and felt the pleasure and relief of painting.
I am not sure if I would have had that experience, if I hadn't been fighting against these blocks. They have been challenging me in different ways, so that when the painting called I could relax into it and go with the flow. Then tonight when I got home, the blocks also seemed to open up just a tiny bit and tell me where to go next with them.
I have tried many things with the blocks of 100 flashes of memory, copper and silver leaf, distressing the leaf, printing photographs on opaque photo paper and gluing them on top of the leaf, printing the photographs on self adhesive transparency paper, covering the blocks with epoxy resin, wax, glue, and now the leaf has changed to silver spray paint, and I am about to build a mold of sorts and plan to try the epoxy resin yet again. I have written on them, have rub off letters for them, and now an inky pen is seeming better to write certain words or fragments around the edges....this has all included many trips to art supply store, and asking people for advice.
I still have not done the crucial last step, (the coating of the blocks) but I am feeling hopeful. I have to remind myself the end result isn't always the goal, but the process of working, just having my hands moving, my mind thinking, just my headphones on and flowing is really the best success.
I am learning this slowly. I will forget it again as well.
But for today, I remembered.
I dedicate this post to you, on the days you remember and on the days you forget.
selections in progress from
100 flashes of memory
before the final step
© 2009 Megan Chapman