began working in oil this week. I took a class many years ago and never liked it- particularly the clean up. this week Pink Soap and conditioner left my brushes clean and supple. free of that worry I felt like experimenting- so I returned to 2 pieces and to a theme I love. madonna misericordia is the “lady of mercy.” in medieval art she’s often pictured with her arms wide, cloak open and harboring all who come to her for help.
i’m drawn to the symbolism, themes and images in medieval and early renaissance art-
For me, the desire to make is always there, and it’s especially pressing after coming into contact with the creativity of other artists, whether in the theater, a museum or book. But to actually make something I always have to scale a few obstacles.
#1 It feels wasteful to make more than I can storeI because I live in an apartment, use one room as a studio but storage is minimal and I’m a frugal, recycling kind of person.
#2 The feeling that art-making(includes all art forms) can’t possibly matter in a world so full of suffering.
I recently heard the Turkish writer, Elif Safak, tell a story on The Moth, where she mentions her struggle with #2, that push pull of whether or not to make art. It’s always heartening to hear another artist mention it.
So is there ever a need to refrain from making? I don’t know. I can’t answer for others I just know it’s a question I ruminate over.
This world of dew is but a world of dew and yet…
This haiku was written by the Japanese master, Kobayashi Issa, after the death of his infant daughter. Everything in 12 words. A poignant expression of the constant tension between knowing the truth of things- the insubstantiality of all experience and the need to live deeply engaged.
Below, four new works.
Byzantine Cross, 15×15 inches, oil, ink, paper on board.
Coal Cross, 9x11inches, ink, gouache, collage elements on paper.
I made these drawings the week before I met my mentor, Tomer Aluf, last week in Brooklyn. They were the ones that caught his attention.
The following are the main points that came out of the discussion/review of my work:
work on white canvas/paper for a while as my main practice
work with paint, either oil or acrylic
I don’t have to abandon making collages, drawings etc. but for a while focus on working on a white ground
At Tomer’s suggestion I’m reading about Eva Hessa and looking at her paintings. I’m also reading about Philip Guston and Susan Rothenberg for their paint handling and how it conveys the emotional content in their work. I’m looking for emotional content and meaning in my work. I’m tired of the work on old paper I was doing prior to starting this program. I’ve lost interest in working that way, but where I am now is limbo. Occasionally I feel excited but only if I’m absorbed in making/using materials. When I step back I wonder what the hell I’m really doing, making, thinking–
I believe making art is important but I need to understand why. I can’t just make when I feel like it as I did before–I’m challenged me to make even when I don’t know why–even while I doubt whether I should be making at all.