Friday, November 21, 2008
One thousand arrows point to the uninitiated
Freedom is available to you if you want it. If you will allow it in. Freedom is so revered and yet so feared. Most of the obstacles I put in my life are of my own creation. Most of the limits I put on my art are as well. Realizing this is a huge step and at the same time it seems so obvious.
I know I am free to make and do any type of art I want and that you the viewers, the readers, the gallery owners and the patrons will go along for the ride. The work will either be appreciated or it won't- and that is all there is to it.But now what to do? Sometimes all this freedom seems too much.
Right now everything feels like a riddle as I paint the works for my show "Fire and Noise." The original goal was to create art with more "me" in it or more meaning that was personal to me. People have encouraged me to express what is within, but they also offer conflicting advice to try it this way or think of it that way, use these colors but not these, remember this and explore that and don't rely on this familiar device but do make it easy on yourself, let go but perhaps just not like that.I know they are trying to help me reach deeper within and offer guidance as well as new ways of thinking about the problem.
They sense that I am frustrated and searching or that I am holding something back, and they are not wrong. One of my favorite Interpol songs, has the line "I have seven faces, thought I knew which one to wear..." and this has always resonated with me. When I am painting I tend to try too hard to maintain just one of the seven faces and I box myself into a corner. With the knowledge of true freedom comes the ability to put on the other six faces. I worry that if left to my own devices my work could become inconsistent or groundless and this is uncomfortable to me. I then start listening to all the voices around me and become overwhelmed.
Just as things seem to work on a Monday, they can also fade away by Thursday and I am back at square one. What am I after? I sometimes feel like an actor asking "now, what's my motivation?"
As I was working yesterday, trying to express something (something = the true problem, it seems my signal got jammed this week, it started off questionable and bleak, then moved into useful and familiar and then got so filtered and watered down that somewhere I lost it), I found myself attacking the surface with pencil and scrubbing pad, marks and words.The surface was absent of color, and it was so many things I wasn't, so unsatisfactory. The end result was like a piece of forgotten homework left in a mud puddle. Tomorrow I will go back to retrieve it, and I will attempt to return to the pure state I used to know, where color meets color and perhaps nothing more.
I will step once again into the fire and noise, and attempt to deflect all one thousand arrows...