Conversations and finding words

I’ve had several interesting conversations this week: one with a theatre producer about the challenges of making a living as a creative person in Wellington (or anywhere for that matter), another on receiving useful criticism of your work and a third touching on the challenges of how to communicate shifts in your practice.

Showing someone one of the new drawings I’ve been making (email #424) elicited a positive and surprised response – the work being perceived as a large leap from my flat, hard edged work of the last view years.

I forget many people who know my work aren’t necessarily aware of what I was making before I started my Masters, let alone before I came to New Zealand. While these new drawings feel quite familiar to me, a natural development of my previous work, I can see how they may be alien to people.

As I find the words to go with these new works part of the challenge is placing the new drawings in context of my existing practice, acknowledging what people already know (or don’t know) about my work.

Watch this space…

Some things I know to be true

It’s about the work, not the money.

There are no shortcuts worth taking in painting – you have to get in the studio and put in the hours.

Travel every couple of years (ideally overseas) is good for me. A change of scene opens the mind as well as the eyes.

Go and see the best art you can, as often as possible.

Never paint drunk.

Scaffolding (and the power of art)

Dried figs and sunshine. Coffee machine coffee in brown plastic cups. And some scaffolding.

It changed the way I saw the world.

Gerwald Rockenschaub Échafaudage, 1992 Metal 300 x 1650 x 610 cm Villa Arson, Nice, France

Presented in the monographic exhibition Gerwald Rockenschaub, Villa Arson, April 4 - May 14 1992

All rights reserved Gerwald Rockenschaub and Jean Brasille, Villa Arson, for the photography

No explanations

I’ve been listening to Autechre over the last few days. Sitting at the experimental / “intelligent techno” end of the music spectrum it’s not always easy listening. While doing so I came across the following in Gregory Heaney’s review of EPs 1991–2002,

“What really ties the set together, however, is the packaging. Stark, minimal, and austere, the collection has a physical presence that seems to embody the spirit of the band, offering no explanations or assistance in the way of liner notes or even a detailed track list that points out what songs come from which albums. Instead, like Autechre themselves, EPs 1991–2002 simply presents the listener with the music the band has made and lets them come to grips with it on their own terms, allowing them to draw their own conclusions about what they’re hearing without any unnecessary assistance from its creators.”

Such reduced presentation has strong parallels with much contemporary art, with work often presented as is, with little if any explanation. Titles, medium, date listed on a room sheet and that’s your lot.

This got me thinking: how does this approach sit next to being open and transparent about my practice? How open do I want to be? How much do I want to share, how much do I want to hold back? How much is it necessary to hold back?

I realise it’s not necessarily an either/or situation, but is worth some thought.

Image via Creative Review