3.01.2012

CHILDHOOD, SKETCHES





There is a great deal that, as with any medium, I find quite limiting when it comes to photography, and particularly when it comes to sharing photography online. So inundated are we, perpetually, with the imagery & creations of the countless members of the globe, that I feel there can be a bit of a numbing effect on the experience of viewing. I find this often happening with myself, as I am undoubtedly fully spoiled in my ability to see, almost daily, the creations of my friends and those artists whom I most admire. The question of impact can by remarkably vexing, especially when creating conceptual work. Though I am quite passionate about the art of language, and most times the ability to articulate my ideas and feelings does not evade me, I feel very strongly that a medium should stand on its own, and so as a well-written story or poem should not require a photograph or drawing to fully communicate its meaning or intent, nor should a photograph or drawing require a statement elucidating all the symbolism and context within it. I could, and often do, go on about this ad infinitum, as my feelings about this are quite vehement, really, but let me instead move on to the point. This is the challenge, then, you see. How does one create an "experience" with their work? How does a conceptual artist create something with resonance?

Last spring, my husband and I attended a performance of Bella Figura by the Boston Ballet. This profound, phenomenal performance left me in shudders, tears. I was struck by how the fleeting nature of the performance enhanced its impact upon me. Knowing that I may never see it again (and no, videos of it online do not capture it in the slightest) created an heart-wrenching amalgam of emotions within me, and it made me feel so fucking small and inconsequential as an artist in the best sort of way. I kept thinking to myself, "Not good enough. Try fucking harder." 

With sharing photography online, there is an advantage to the viewer that, for the most part, you may be able to return to that image at any time. You click on it, you comment on it, you move on with your day or onto yet another image. Not good enough. Try fucking harder. This leads me back to the very projects that I initially intended to pursue in art school (which no, I did not finish): multi-media installation and performance. I approach my conceptual shoots in the same way, creating a scene with the appropriate symbols in order to communicate my thoughts, beliefs or experiences, with the hope that it will prompt some sort of intellectual or emotional discourse with the viewer. But there is something about a performance, painting, installation, or any other artwork that involves great investment of time and coordination that really tugs a bit more at any patron, as it causes them to ask (albeit sometimes incredulously), "What is it that the artist wanted so badly to tell us?" Obviously the question of why we as artists need so badly to communicate our thoughts and experiences warrants a discussion on its own, but here I will keep with the problem of how we choose to communicate these things. It is about carefully selecting the right medium for me. Sometimes it is a photograph, sometimes it is a painting, sometimes it is a story, sometimes it is a song, but sometimes none of these is enough. 

I was getting to the point. What was the point? These photographs above, taken this morning in my home, are beginning sketches for a project in a medium I have yet to explore: performance art. I have a couple of performances that I have begun to flesh out in my mind, which will help to combine my desire to perform, choreograph, act, and direct a small choral ensemble. I probably shouldn't speak in such specifics, as these things require small, quiet steps forward from where I now stand, but this is what I am speaking nonetheless. All of this only to tell you this. I am not here to debase either you or I by telling you what this "Childhood" is about, only to announce that it has birthed, it is growing, and that I will let you know of its evolution. 

Is that enough?

2 comments:

  1. i lack the words to articulate my delight and adoration for these photographs, but please know i sit here hiding away in my little montreal apartment, looking on these tonight, utterly happy.

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  2. Annie! I know I sent you a note in response to this elsewhere, but I am so pleased to have finally discovered that I can comment (if I use a browser other than Chrome), so here I am to offer you my gratitude again. Your respect and support mean so much to me.

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