15 March 2009

Beach: Water and Fire

Saturday, Joel, Clara and Kathleen (a MICA painting senior) and I went to Cannon Beach (where part of the Goonies was filmed). It was pretty blustery but it ended up being a really wonderful day in spite of that. We walked along the beach and got completely soaked from all the water in the air. I wanted to take pictures but thought better of it because I didn't want to mess up my camera.

So after getting completely drenched we went to a sheltered picnicking area where a Russian family had built a fire and they said we could hang out too. One of the boys in the family was carving "CCCP" in the tabletop, which seemed to go along with what 12-year old boys do, I think. :0) So we brought our lunch up and ate and dried off.

Our feast:

I made welsh eggs and bread and Clara and Kathleen brought vegetables and fruit. It was a really nice and filling meal. Then we toasted up by the fire which made our clothes steam (even after leaving the fire they still steamed!) and Clara found a nice little area to huddle into. Luckily she didn't catch fire! And neither did anybody else.

We found a seagull interested in our food so we threw him tomatoes. He loved chasing these (though I'm under the impression he would have enjoyed running after any food we had thrown) and then after gulping them whole we could see the little tomato lump go down in his throat.

After a couple hours we braved it back to our car and drove in town for a light dinner at a brewhouse and I got a delicious red lager and to finish our little meal we shared a molten lava cake. The restaurant was really nice and relaxing, very unpretentious as I feel often is the case with brewhouses. There was a wood stove burning and all the booths and tables were made of wood which lent it a lovely calm feeling. All in all it was a good day and we all smelled wonderfully smokey for it.

On monday I had my first Wood crit. Yes, my first, we only have two projects the whole semester but as a medium, wood is very time intensive. Since I'd never worked in wood before I didn't feel confident in making anything until I'd seen my professor make something, then I felt like I knew what I was doing. It was kind of crazy not knowing anything about this seemingly common medium. When my professor showed us how to turn wood I felt like a door had opened for me. And this is what I made:

The caps are red maple and the middle core is turned from narra. And the outside is basket woven reed. The narra is a really beautiful wood from Australia that turns like butter and when you lathe with the grain it gets a wonderful natural sheen to it. This photo doesn't show how red it is but it shows the contrast. There's no real meaning behind the work, it was more about form and line and working with those elements intuitively.

A lot of people have been griping about my work not having a meaning behind it, specifically in my wood and intermediate sculpture class. However, those classes are really open ended and not having anything to interpret is difficult for me. I do better when I'm translating a basic concept that I then elaborate on and then make my peace accordingly. That's why I do much better work in my Theory in Context class -- because its theory. And I understand that.

What I don't understand is why art can't have no meaning, or no direct meaning. Can art not exist as its own entity that interacts with space and deliberately exploits form and line but not 'meaning' or 'symbolism'? That is frustrating to me. In a gallery space, there is only so much text the artist can give. If I were a real artist I would probably never speak to my viewers, because I wouldn't have anything to say that work doesn't say. Does that make the work weak? I'm not sure. This is something that I am still wondering about and working on.

1 comment:

jen brown said...

I think that some people think about their work too much, give it too much meaning, and become too attached to what it symbolizes to the artist. like me, this can be stunting, but it can also be very rewarding. I have noticed in my observational work, simple studies, eventually I realize that there is more to them but just a series of chairs, for example. I also know other people (also visiting artist Petah Coyne, check her work out!!!) who say that they work intuitively and then look back to really understand what they have been trying to tell themselves through their work.

whether or not the latter is the case for you, I'd say don't worry so much about it now. Artists do NOT create anything arbitrarily, even if they cannot articulate, or are totally unconscious of it, they have something to say, and it is just a matter of time.

tell kathleen i say hey.

love you, thanks for the stationary, you bet I'll be writing to you soon all over it.