Saturday, February 2, 2019

Drawing out meaning...

I can't honestly remember what I was working on.

It was late in the evening after a long day.

And then....

Accidents will happen...

A three quarters full mug of coffee was spilt over the table, the sketch book, narrowly missed the phone.

It was a sketch book that had already suffered having numerous pages ripped in two.

All that bloody art...lost.

A flight of birds shredded...

I find some consolation and inspiration in Kintsugi.

"Translated to “golden joinery,” Kintsugi (or Kintsukuroi, which means “golden repair”) is the centuries-old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with a special lacquer dusted with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. Beautiful seams of gold glint in the cracks of ceramic ware, giving a unique appearance to the piece."

A moment of joy, a moment of anger, a moment of grief...

In taking the time to gild the grief, I find new meaning in my relationship to what was and what is.

"You lose only what you cling to." Buddha.

Working regularly has made me less concerned about what has been done before.

I note that many artists destroy their artwork.

Deliberate destruction.

I find an article in ART  telling a notorious story of destruction:

"Our favourite story in the long history of art destruction concerns American pop/conceptual artist Robert Rauschenberg. Early in his career, inspired by the work of Marcel Duchamp, he decided he wanted to test the boundaries of what could be deemed a work of art. Could a work of art be created, he wondered, through the act of erasure? He started out by rubbing out one of his own drawings. It didn’t work. He felt that the destruction of a not very important work by a then not very important artist didn’t really test his idea sufficiently. Rauschenberg decided the only thing to do was to destroy a significant work of art by a significant artist. And so, he gathered up the courage to show up at the studio of Willem de Kooning, a Dutch-American painter. De Kooning didn’t approve, but still provided a selection of his paintings to choose from, believing that young artists should be allowed to experiment.
Rauschenberg then took one of the master’s paintings away and tirelessly worked on the act of destruction, eventually erasing all visible traces of De Kooning’s image. He then took the now blank paper to Jasper Johns, his great friend and fellow artist and asked him to create a frame for the piece. Johns did as he was asked and produced a label which read:

No use crying over spilt coffee...

I sponged up the coffee, put the sketchbook on the radiator to dry.

A couple of days later and I took time to inspect the damage.

Pages stuck together,

Sepia coffee stains had dried in weird patterns.

Suddenly I see the sketchpad and the accident in a new light.

Suddenly I see stories, landscapes, potential for play.

The deliberate accident in art.

After a couple of days of play, I find an article from the Tate museum on deliberate accidents and share it with my friends.

I realise that I have always worked partly in this way looking for meaning in apparent chaos.

I remember writing about how my mother would collect all sorts of objects with no obvious intrinsic value because she saw something in them., here in Driftwood curiosity:

"I am content you see no value.

I see myself standing on a beach.

You have left me quite alone.

Objects are washed up by the ocean.

Something catches my eye.

I bend down to pick it up."

Drawing means and drawing out meaning.

I am torn between drawing "well" from life and drawing out meaning from the abundant well of life.

I am torn between deliberate and accidental in my artistic acts.

I feel comfortable with what is accidental but also love the discipline of technique.

I find a quote of Camus.

"I said that the world is absurd, but I was too hasty. This world in itself is not reasonable, that is all that can be said. But what is absurd is the confrontation of this irrational and the wild longing for clarity whose call echoes in the human heart." 
Albert Camus