To Identify an Aesthetic Sanity
So many things do not need to be said, to be examined, discussed – or attached to. Many spend their days gripped in verbal and mental discussions that are about everything outside of the self. This is a way of demanding attention.
To focus on this moment and what can be done – what is of relevance and is of importance; that should be the goal. How does this manifest in studio practice in contemporary art? It manifests in creating objects and experiences that stop the mind of the viewer long enough for true sanity to seep in.
An artist cannot stop the mind of the viewer if their own mind is in an unceasingly discursive state.
Making should manifest in sharing an open, peaceful arena in which to think. To provide physical and psychological space for one to be clear. To be aware in a moment. To embody and remember directly or indirectly within one’s muscle memory is to understand a way to be in the world. That is what art does. Art is a practice. It is not something to be taken lightly. It is of the mind and body and takes years – decades – to truly embody. Its history and life need to be honored. It lives and breathes as we do and is an extension of our physical body – the reflection of the time.
Art is to be made with no other intention than that of personal expression (meaning, not for therapeutic purposes). To thoroughly understand the practice of making, the artist must study extensively. Never stopping; that is why the term “practice” is used. Practice continues. It is a continuum of investigation of artists and their work; those who have come before and who are working now. It is a field of study that is alive. A science – as noted by the Bauhaus which referred to the study of art as the study of “the visual sciences”. That is the practice of fine art making.
Not everyone is or should be an artist. This should not be confused with the fact that everyone can be creative. Being creative is not the only thing necessary to be an artist.
An individuals desire for attention and validation perpetuates mediocre work; as does work made for the market. Using studio practice as an opportunity to exhibit one’s neurosis is useless. The practice of making work is a process of revealing and transforming with no intention of recognition.
“Don’t expect applause”
There is much discussion about the artist’s ego because it gets in the way of authentic artistic practice. Many confuse the market practice with the studio. The market is an artificial construct that changes at the whim of the time. Valid work stands the test of time; it lasts long after the artist who few actually know – yet spend a tremendous of time projecting upon.
Each of us really knows nothing – nor do we actually know anyone. To try to “know” someone is futile. The more one pushes to know the more fleeting the understanding of the individual will be. You will never know. Time in the studio is better served focused on the practice of art making than on projecting into the minds of other artists, envying what they have done (envying as opposed to honoring) and then creating work that becomes an imitation of your projection of what you think the artist was doing.
This process makes a studio practice a sick fruitless game that keeps the maker from making real work. Many do this, part of it is a growing process – but then the artist must “jump off” – to carry the new vision. The artist that works in a visual language that ultimately repeats another artist should stop their practice. They are wasting their time.
The truest contribution is innovation and reflection of the time. Holding the practice in respect, acknowledging the lineage and providing an open space for the viewer to think, reflect, to be moved – to identify sanity.