I’m drawn to materials and methodologies that evade strict control. Or––it’s possible that I avoid controlling the materials and methodologies I use. In any case, I always allow for randomness and ambiguity within the images I produce.
The concept of mastery repels me. I believe that if a work is perfect, is masterfully produced, it doesn’t need (or want) the contributions of the viewer. All that is required is admiration (not exchange).
Tomorrow I’ll install a number of drawings in the Faculty Show at Emily Carr University.
I’m always ambivalent about showing my work in the same place I teach. Showing work as an artist-teacher is even more fraught than showing work just as an artist. Should I choose something that will explicate my teaching practice? Is that even possible? Will my students assume that what I do is the only kind of work I’m interested in, or even worse, what I hope they’ll end up doing themselves?
I know that I do my best teaching when there’s continuity between what I’m teaching and what I’m doing in my studio. Working with and through ambivalence and doubt is an important part of my creative practice. I hope that this is part of what I am able to communicate to my students, both within the classroom and the gallery.
One of the classes I’m teaching focuses on the production of meaning and intention within drawing. This week I intend to discuss a number of issues that relate to popular myths of artistic creation.
Inspiration is typically imagined as something divine or, in a post-Freudian world, emerging from one’s troubled unconscious. In either case, it is seen as something beyond control.
The idea that artists experience a singular moment of inspiration has nothing to do with the reality of how artists actually develop their work. In fact, ideas are conceived, considered, discarded, edited, tested and modified in a complex process over time.
The success or failure of a work has little to do with its fidelity to external reality. Verisimilitude does not create meaning. A work’s success lies in the meaningful interplay between the formal elements of the work and the ideas that emerge in the process of making.
I believe that every decision made about a work of art needs to made with the intention of deepening one’s engagement with the subject and meaning of the work.
In the end it doesn’t matter if the viewer understands the concepts developed by an artist in the production of their work. We don’t have control over how our work will be perceived. Every viewer understands the same thing in different ways.
When we are deeply engaged in the process of making our work, when we question and test that process, this engagement surely communicates itself to the viewer. Our engagement stimulates the possibility of the viewer’s engagement. The artwork is not the endpoint of a process, but a point of transfer in the process of meaning-making.
While the majority of representations of Frankenstein’s creature depict him as mute or inarticulate with limited intellectual powers, the emergence of the creature’s language and intellectual abilities are crucial to the narrative within Mary Shelley’s 1818 originary novel.
When the creature first reconnects with his creator Frankenstein, he laments: “All men hate the wretched; how then, must I be hated, who am miserable beyond all living things! Yet you, my creator, detest and spurn me, they creature, to whom thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us.”
While I continue to develop representations of the creature’s face, I am also exploring ways to represent his words. As I do so, I ponder the reasons we prefer our monsters speechless.