Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Artist's Statements WHY!

My tribe feels obliged to "make a statement" about what they do. Most of them are not writers nor even very reflective.  They do what they do.  But somehow some weird aesthetic spirochete bites them and there a rash of words:   examples of what happens in this state of near delirium:

1.   “ The allure and wonder and physicality of working in a variety of mediums to resolve aesthetic considerations, studying the way light and atmosphere as well as surfaces in our environment have become my vocabulary, a challenge that never repeats itself.  It heals and defines the spirit, a passion I hope my art communicates to others.”

2.   Here's a recent announcement from a local college:
During the winter break between the semesters, the arts faculty has taken on the challenge of creating artwork while focusing on the topic, “What is the fabric of your process to create?”.
"THE FABRIC OF YOUR PROCESS"???   Is this translated from the Chinese?  How can one "focus" on gibberish?  I'm going to a presentation on it tomorrow, Jan 30. (Good as promised!)

 3.  A local artist recently sent an email with this title:    An Article about me!
It was a link to a blog by a writer who hires out to do articles for/on artists.This artist let us know how pleased she was with the article/blog:  
"I think I like me, the way placed images and worded things that I feel and think about creativity, my life and my work is so poignant."

4. "I never know what magical 'stuff' will serendipitously find me in the piles of vintage printers' wood type, toys and games, kitchen utensils and industrial findings  that were once useful or entertaining and make them come alive again as my art."                   Who's doing What to Whom?

Well, time to walk the walk.  I've had to do one of these:
Dan Mack's 2013 Artist Statement

Looking at a collection of made things one can ask:   What’s happening here?
Too often maker’s answers start with the word “I”  
“ I have always been fascinated with…”
But biography is a very partial and low-level answer.
It doesn’t honor either the unseen  forces at work nor the crucial importance of the object to take on life ONLY when it comes in contact with an Other.

The maker, aware or not,  has at least two elusive  roles:
to go deep into the old, the unspoken, the messy, the ambiguous, the irregular
to go out, bridging to the sensibility of others. 
Down and Out.    Out and Back. 
It’s a changing rhythm the maker sets up and some people respond.. 
The maker is never quite in control of this rhythm.  There are parts beyond control.  Because accident, chance and coincidence are powerful, ever-present  and humbling forces.   

The down,  for me, is the realm of the marginal, the common, the regular.
In sticks, bark, leaves, logs, stones, feathers, bones
The hunt for the sacred in the profane.    Is it there??
The Gnostic Gospel of Thomas puts it this way:
Split open a log and I am there; Lift a rock and I am there too.

This leads to an interest in folk, outsider, the raw, the found, the surreal
The word “foris” has appeared.  It’s that place outside the control of the  authorities; where the knights become demented.

It keeps me tied to decay and fleeting materials: Testimony to Impermanence

It impacts technique too.  
Just how much fussing is necessary to make the point?
When does flourish of technique get in the way of the connection?
It’s always so alluring to make it more perfect, more admirable
… and more remote.

And for that impact on Others, Duchamp said, maybe, “Don’t do as I do, Do as you do.”  Just go find stuff and put it together.
Daniel Mack
May 16, 2013

1 comment:

  1. Amen brother Mack. We are on the same page; I do a lot of thinking and work around challenging the need for "seamless" work and find that what is done is a celebration of "just going to find some stuff and put it together'...what a gift to be able to see that and let the wabi sabi hang out in all of its ephemeral glory. Thanks for being there and doing this ground breaking, root bearing work! So sorry we missed meeting up a while back. I am not going away. Georgia O'Keefe wrote: "If it takes more than a few hours, don't bother doing it...." I can't find the quote anywhere and have looked everywhere, but I trust what I read....right there with what you are talking about and I know in my heart to be true for this era and for me (and that comes from a custom fine furniture maker, who know the other side very well). Freedom from the bondage compulsive seamless description and that high art which often is, as you say;because of the compulsive seamlessness and perfection....remote. Thank You for verbalizing that exactly the way I think it.