2012 Sep 16, 1:57am
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Artist’s Statements, Part 1

Let’s start by saying that as I have matured over the years, I have also become less of a fan of artist’s statements – you know, those paragraphs you see in a show catalog or hanging in the exhibition that explain who the artist is, why they do what they do, and what their work means.

Too often they read like pseudo-sophisticated bullshit that’s tailored to self-stroke the artist’s own ego, to display an intelligence and mastery of the complexities of language, or are designed to appeal to some sort of elite art world ideal.

As I considered what to say about my own most recent show (Memory, Essence, Mystery), I went through a range of emotions on the subject. I considered not even having a written statement in favor of letting the paintings and drawings simply speak for themselves, but eventually decided against it because it was still important to make that connection with the viewer about the work.

When I create art, it’s like writing in a visual language; not everyone thinks that way – a great many people think in words, and there is a communication gap there. Coming up with something to say about my work – to bridge that gap and forge a stronger connection – became important again.

It was also important to speak from the heart because that is the origin of my art; I didn’t want to intellectualize it, and risk losing that chance to speak about my work in a way that would click with people on an emotional level.

The best course for me was to write more like I might speak, to honestly transcribe the words I could hear in my mind without dressing them up in fancy clothing. This is what ended up being printed in the show catalog:

My paintings always have some kind of personal story or significance. There has to be that connection, whether it’s something coming from deep within, an inspiration tied to someone in my life, or memorable experiences that have shaped the way I feel and think about the world around me. Most often it’s all of those things. I feel very fortunate in that regard – to be able to weave those threads together in my art, and have that sort of personal connection on all those levels, because putting that down in a visible, tangible form is how I talk about life. In the end, it’s about personality, what’s in your heart, what you love – you know, that’s what makes your art great, that’s what gives it feeling. Without all of that coming through, what’s the point?

Work from the heart – write from the heart.

Continue to Part 2


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