Thursday, May 27, 2010

thesis + antithesis = synthesis

Cloaked in Tradition   Charcoal/Mixed on Paper   30 x 18
I am fascinated by word etymology.  These three words are just perfect to describe the process of becoming oneself, personally and as an artist.  We begin with the thesis...who we are at present.  I believe that at this stage we are influenced by many others and we go through many stages of "wannabe".  Gradually, over time, we begin to discover who we are not....our preferences.  We end up with a synthesis, our own small pinpoint on the continuum of artistic being.  Hopefully, our particular dot does not intersect with someone else's.  For me, that is the ideal...the notion that my work can only be done by me.  For example, I cannot tolerate many hard lines in my work....lines, to me, are fences that stop, boundaries put in place...boundaries that are confining.  This notion is totally autobiographical, totally me.  I adore organic line, an ephemeral feeling and a merging of the pieces/parts.  I have come to know that.

"Cloaked in Tradition" was begun as a drawing from life.  The model was a young Asian woman who arrived wearing a lacy corset-top and black lace leggings.  For the session, she was asked to wear a silky kimono of green and border-decorated with chrysanthemums.  I saw the conflict between who she is and the person she became while on the stand.  Working on a large piece of watercolor paper given to me by a friend, I used a combination of pastel and water from a very large brush.  Later at home, I used printers ink and an uncut linoleum block to print over the drawing.  A smaller block was cut with floral shapes and printed on a horizontal band.  The final pass was to merge all of these processes.  My tendency these days is to err on the side of underdone, as that pleases be more than going too far.  I also felt that the paper was slightly unforgiving.

This work was presented at last evening's critique.  The leader felt that the head needed more description, more solidity, and that the measurements were off a bit.  The fact that she appears to be sitting without a chair or support was also mentioned.  I realized at that time, that I prefer standing myself and don't spend a lot of time sitting down (fidgeting problem), so chairs don't seem to fit into my own scheme of things.....what with all of those hard lines and such.  I hoped that the kneecaps, protruding into the stretched lace leggings would preclude my need for a chair.  As always, these thoughts from my colleagues will be considered, but in the long run, it is my definition, my aesthetic, that must be played out.  I don't wish to collide with someone else's dot.  (more on "shadow tag" later)

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