My Memory Festival project, All that was left, uses text extracted from the other festival projects, but only uses those parts of the text that don’t convey specific meaning. Something has been said or is about to be said, but the message is lost.
The installation is up and available for viewing at the Roundhouse Community Centre until Sunday, Nov 18. The opening celebration takes place this evening (Nov 14) beginning at 5:30 pm.
Here’s what the stacks of text looked like before I started the installation on Monday:
All of the images I use for my wall drawings are photo-based and drawn on paper first. I draw them multiple times to see what needs to be emphasized and what can be left out.
Of course every drawing is different, but it’s interesting to compare the two versions. The drawings on paper are generally smaller. Paper is much smoother than the surface of the walls, so the walls are more forgiving. It’s almost impossible to erase and correct something on paper, whereas I can usually redo parts of the wall drawings (even though I try to avoid doing this). I can tell, and I imagine other people can as well, when a drawing has been overworked. I love working with (and against) the inconsistencies of the wall surface.
These drawings have been adjusted to the same size. The one on the left is on paper, the one on the right is on the wall:
I just found my notes for the artist talk I gave at the Burnaby Art Gallery earlier this month. You can probably tell that I decided to emphasize the provisional nature of this project. As noted elsewhere in this blog, I’m conscious of the perils of discussing my work publicly. I don’t want to over-simplify my process or get in the way of the viewer’s interpretation.
I don’t usually use the notes I’ve made when I speak. It’s enough just to have written them out and have them nearby.
I’ve learned, the hard way, to be cautious when I share stories that relate to my work. When an artwork is based on a story, or relates to a story in some way, it’s easy for it to overwhelm all the other aspects of the work. The formal decisions that go into the development of a work become insignificant compared to the seduction of the narrative. The story takes on a life of its own, independent of the artwork. The work’s capacity to produce a range of possible meanings is foregone.
This may be obvious, but there’s something deeply satisfying about having my work on display in an exhibition.
My blog is subtitled “negotiating doubt” with good reason—as I’ve noted elsewhere: “The process of naming oneself as an artist is perilous. My identity as an artist never remains fixed and constant. It fluctuates according to my work schedule, the professional opportunities I’m given, or the time elapsed since I’ve last completed a work.”
Having my work in a gallery is an important acknowledgement of my identity as an artist. I don’t stop being an artist when my work isn’t being shown publicly, but the process of identification is more tenuous and subject to doubt.