I know, I haven’t written a blog post in a long time. But it is because I have been spending time in the studio making new work and experimenting. Experimenting, you ask? What is there new to do? Ah!
As we journey along in our creative endeavors, it is important to keep questioning, keep discovering and experimenting to get there. Is this the best way to do what I do? Can I change course just a bit to make it different–more unique, more intriguing? What methods or materials will help me do that?
This weekend I saw a fantastic exhibition at the Clark in Williamstown, Mass. entitled “make it new, abstract painting from the National Gallery”. Most of it was work I knew well, some I hadn’t seen in person and some I had never seen before. That is the stuff that gets me excited.
All it takes is one piece that sparks an idea–not to copy but just a new way of looking at something that starts all those gears in the brain spinning out of control. For me, that was a piece by an artist whose work I was not familiar with–Lee Bontecou.
Although this is not the piece in the exhibition, it is similar:
What is so extraordinary about this piece is that it is dimensional, that black hole in the center is actually a hole in what looks like a hill rising out of the surface of the piece. It is constructed of canvas pieces on a steel frame. And looking into the hole (the poor security guard was practically vibrating as I moved close enough to look inside) it appears to be an endless void. I can’t get this piece out of my head.
This does not mean I am about to start doing Bontecou inspired or derivative work. But it does have me wanting to experiment with the notion of that black void–the idea of dimensionality and looking into nothing. I love that. Do I know what I want to do with it? Sort of. But the idea needs to percolate for a while until I wake up in the middle of the night with a plan to start playing with the idea.
Right now I am playing with another idea for my solo show that has been percolating for some time now and I think I know how to go about it. But what works in my head often doesn’t do exactly what I expected in reality, which is where the experimenting comes in. Sometimes a failed idea just needs a tweak. Sometimes (and these are the more exciting times) it leads me to something I hadn’t even considered before. That is what gets me all excited.
So if you are feeling uninspired–play, experiment, push the envelope and stretch to try something you hadn’t tried before. If you like the results, figure out how to integrate it into your artistic style. The experimenting and stretching of your creative muscles is what gets your adrenalin going. Remember, it is all about the journey. So go off the well traveled road for a little diversion!