Friday, February 8, 2008

Orange Zest

At first, I thought these would be part of my I Ching series and I even threw the coins for titles. But they just didn't seem right. When I put them up in the studio to photograph them, the name "Orange Zest" popped into my mind so that's what they are. It's interesting; they are small (12x12) but do look larger. I feel very free in working in this size - with collage, scraping things, layers of paint and images, yet when I try to work with an abstract format in a larger size, I freeze up and the pieces never seem to work well.

I also worry about going back and forth between abstract painting, more "realistic" work, calligraphy and photography. Sometimes I think I'm all over the map and then, at other times, I think - well, who cares? Nobody's looking. Then, I feel like I'm too cynical and negative.
It's not only young artists who are afraid to experiment. Sometimes us older artists are afraid as well. But I don't want to be a one-trick pony and I like working in different mediums. But I found this on Carol Diel's site and immediately felt vindicated for being more eclectic.

"Artworks must be consistent for a final review, to show a dealer, or for an exhibition. “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson. I’m not sure where this reverence for sameness came from. Even though its usefulness has been flagrantly disproven by two of the most famous artists of our time, Louise BourgeoisGerhard Richter, it persists among young artists who are afraid to experiment because their job, as they see it, is to produce a “body of work” with a singular character. Sometimes I have to remind them that what looks like a big difference to the artist is negligible to the viewer, and that their work is unified simply by being theirs. But even if the leaps were huge, so what? While I’ve never been to an exhibition where observers complained that the work was too diverse, I’ve been to plenty where it was criticized for being too similar.

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