Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Questions, Maybe They are all the Same

On Wednesdays at Maine College of Art, I teach a class called Sketchbook as Document and Impetus.  When I first began the class it was meant as a way to encourage the use of the sketchbook as a sort of playground, a place that fostered development through making mistakes and a spot for keen observation.  I spent three semesters working through the class only to find this, the fourth semester,  contains a class full of individuals who all treat the class as a sort of salon, an ear to bounce ideas off of, a forum for the exchange of information.  The class has become a community of artists rather than a class that I feel I am in control of.  By letting go of the control of the class, it has been allowed to become so much more than I could ever make of it. 

Today I shared pieces of my animation project as well as the horizontal additive pieces that I have been working on for my application to the CMCA Biennial.  The class was very receptive of the work and the conversation progressed into a discussion of learning methods, children, and the burning questions that we had as children. 

One student admitted that since he was eight he had been asking himself the same question.  He had spent the last fifty years or more traveling, creating art, and reading all in efforts to find some sort of answer to his question.  The question still remains and it still fuels his work.  Another student in class referred to her experience as a mother and as a daughter.  She found herself asking some of the questions that she asked herself as a child and then being sidetracked to the way that her mother raised her and influenced her as a mother in the raising of her own children.  She claimed that the most important thing was to eat dessert first.  I am not certain that this is the idea that I connect with the most, but it has deep meaning to her and how she lives her life. 

I was left with the thought, "I often stand and look at the sea wondering what it was that my father could see."  I have often wondered what this life is, what it is that we are supposed to experience, how it is that I am supposed to understand life.  I think that creating art probably serves as a means to attempt to answer this question.  What is this?  This question is not about what life is about.  Life goes on every day and is beautiful in so many ways, but what I do want to know is what it is.  I don't really know, but I think that I am starting to arrive at something within my animation and also within my newest series of grouped panels.

The animation is a study in minutia, much like the James Joyce novels that I am think about while I create it.  The grouped panels also carry a little bit of this deference to the insignificant, as I combine all of my imagery which is comprised of such simple objects, experienced in the everyday, in groups of objects interacting to make unique conversations.

Here are a couple of images from the two newest pieces in the series.

I am still asking the same questions I always did.  I still wonder what my father sees when he looks out over the water, mimicking his father before him and our ancestors from Wales before that.  I think that perhaps what is different about me attempting to answer the questions now is that I am starting with honest information.  I am not trying to create anything which talks in metaphors.  I am more speaking in earnest.


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