The change in climate
Warmer weather has rolled in. The sky is orange, then coral, then pink. Ponderosa pines sway in the shifting wind and hold all of the answers. I am thinking about my drawings and realize with each series I care less about the thoughts of the audience. Not a lack of respect – but instead an interest in a specific direction that does not need to be mulled over.
I have never been the practitioner of the ilk that installs the work to see the audience reaction and then “goes with” what receives the best response – a behavior that is a weak cry for approval. Now, with the market what it is and so few individuals knowing what they are looking at, the phrase “I know what I like” leaves a strong trail of the art viewer who has no interest in how to think and understand the art making process. A viewer is free to think whatever they wish. I hold the information; years of practice and study do not stop. There is no desire, on my part, to persuade someone about what it is I am doing.
Making work is about a response to an era and comes with honoring much that has happened before. It is within a specific discipline of the visual sciences that grows and morphs. It is organic but remains a process comprised of elements and principles that are manipulated and result within various contexts and times.
For all visual artists, writers, musicians – the serious makers, it is inexcusable to make work in accordance with any art market when our world is in such crisis and we are often the mirror of humanity. In addition to the art market we see our current political climate – a period of time filled with fear of the unknown more than anything else. That fear is leading to intense acts of aggression. If as a maker you truly embody your practice and you are working in accordance with the market – it means you are embodying the market – not your practice. Embodying the market is working with a set of principles that are antithetical to the practice of aesthetics. The practice of aesthetics should be occurring, not the practice of marketing.
While I write this – I am thinking of Thoreau and D.T. Suzuki. I do not care that they are men and I am woman. I am honoring the thoughts of men that influence my studio practice. The human condition is frail and fragile – it behooves us to take refuge in the brilliance and peace where the example has been or is being set regardless of gender, ethnicity or time. Makers of every culture contribute greatly to the discourse of the cultural worker that this young country knows little of and its artists even less. We need to learn from each other. There have been and are many who help illuminate a course of action for studio practice that our souls and hearts, bodies and minds should be engaged with.
It is an important time to connect with luminaries who help us manifest our work – whether on this plane or any other. Now is not the time to fall prey to a superficial studio practice that leaves you saying nothing. That is what we cannot afford.