Thursday, August 27, 2009

Catch and Release

Piles of trial proofs ,documentation, collage material, proposals and random paper

** This summer I've been contemplating clutter. Specifically the capital "C" clutter and accumulation that resides in my art-making locations around the house. Accumulation with the intent of a future use or recycling of objects into art. The accumulation is difficult to categorize as much of what I collect seems to have no specific context as it is collected; it simply "is". I have no preference in mind as it is collected, although there are unformed themes jotted in sketchbooks that may influence what is collected.

The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful? And very shortly you discover that there is no reason.
John Cage

Perhaps the gathering of material is a form of map making in which I accumulate the possibilities of alternate paths. An alternate route of different or no preference.

Sometimes the objects find their way into a mixed media piece or onto a scanner bed for reference, but more often than not they eventually find their way back to insignificance through neglect.

Earlier this summer I was inspired by a terrific piece on this topic; the Song Dong installation at MoMA. Song Dong has installed the entire contents of her mother's house on the second floor atrium. While more about transience, the contents are transformed by their neat arrangement as artifacts for us to observe. Culturally our disposable world seems at odds with the mothers waste not want not collection of possessions.

Confession time. I probably shouldn't call my studio a specific space. Art making seems to manifest in different locations around the house and property depending on the the particular spatial demands of the Art.
One of my favorite rooms for art making is an office size room with my computer, scanner and printer; as well as several tables and flat files. The way I use this office-like room has necessitated moving anything having to do with office-like activity OUT. Bills and bill paying has migrated to the kitchen table. (consumption area?)
This was the room I had to de-clutter this past weekend. My art work with digital collage depends to a large extent on scanning a variety of found objects and digitally recombining them with my photography. The tables tend to fill with "stuff", either waiting scanning or never disposed of. (attachments?) Plus a fair amount of trial proofs lie around in piles. Add to the mix the paper, adhesives, paints, inks...well... Eventually it gets to the point where I'm reminded that it is impossible to thiiink. So a scorched earth, nothing is sacred attitude is adopted to clear everything to bare surface.

Longing - observing - collecting - processing - art making - purging. The Cycle.

Worktable empty! After latest purge.

This accumulation/purge theme must be in the air because I visited blog author's Rosie Kearton's Ruminations-Rambles-Reflexions site to follow the packing and moving of her studio. A visit to her blog (she also references the Song Dong piece) contains a link to artist Michael Landy, the British artist whose latest work consisted of destroying everything he owned.

So while it was cathartic to clean out this one area, there is still the shop where I do mixed media and and my basement framing area. Plenty of clutter (or unmanifest objects) to occupy myself until the impulse to purge overtakes me once again. Alternatively, I can take comfort that on the studio clutter scale not many can compare to painter Francis Bacon.

Francis Bacon's Reece Mews studio

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