Trying to Find Order
“Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together”. John Ruskin
An artist’s work reflects who they are and what is happening around them. Much of the art we see in museums is a historical statement, in that it is either an emotional reaction to, or a factual statement of, the life and times of when it was painted, or a reaction to the human condition, personal or social.
I have always been a very organic painter. As I have frequently said; nature is what motivates my work, whether it is realistic or abstract.
Occasionally however, I will find myself in the “zone” and when I am done, I look at my work and it appears more geometric than organic. I think…that was fun, but where did it come from? This week I had one of those days. As I looked at a piece I was working on in class, I asked myself that question out loud. A student suggested that maybe I was trying to put order in my life. That was a very perceptual observation!
Since May my life has been somewhat chaotic, and my work has been a series of geometric structures, angles, and hard edges. The deviation has probably been my way of trying to bring back order and structure to my world: from the personal, to the political, to my frustration with the cyber world, to the loss of my teaching space to hurricane Mathew.
Testing this theory, I flipped through my files of work, and picked out the more structured work. Each of those pieces correspond to events that caused tension in my life.
Many abstract artists like to make chaos and then find the composition. Other like to start with a format and build layers into, and above it. I am a format painter usually. I like working with that strong under-structure, so I am free to play on top of it, with very organic shapes and soft edges. Now I find myself trying to find order in old chaotic starts. It is interesting to see how what is happening around us, and to us, is reflected in our work, and how we work.
“Art is an accurate statement of the time in which it was made”. Robert Mapplethorpe