Saturday, December 18, 2010

Looking and understanding

It has been a big week of art viewing for me. I admit that I am a homebody and I almost never travel. I get so overwhelmed by life and its many details and commitments that it's all I can do to deal with what's right in front of my nose.

But last week I finally had the time, energy and determination to look at art. Not just any art, GREAT ART. Wednesday I saw the tremendous exhibit of George Segal's work at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Art Gallery, curated by David B. Boyce, who was a personal friend of and model for the late Mr. Segal. And Friday I went to visit galleries in the Chelsea district of New York City, where I saw much that was great, including exhibits by Anselm Kiefer (Gagosian Gallery) and Brice Marden (Matthew Marks Gallery).

These experiences have truly changed my perspective, not just realizations about adaptations I want to make in my daily life and yearly goals, but also deep-rooted discoveries about who I am, what I want to make of my life and how I might go about doing so. Such is the power of art!!

And returning to my studio and looking at my latest works with these recent art-viewing experience fresh in my mind has given me direct insight into what I'm currently making and where it has the potential to go artistically.

Among many other things, I realize that I have been far more focused on resume-building than on art-creating. I don't mean time-wise, because I certainly paint many hours a week, especially for someone who teaches as much as I do. But as far as vision, as far as long-term focus, I realize I haven't been letting my art come from as deep a place as it could, or say as much as it could. I've been settling for short-term considerations, for work that's not bad but not fully developed.

I've been too afraid of what might happen, of ending up like someone I don't want to be like, instead of spreading my wings and seeing how far I can fly.

Time will tell how this new consciousness manifests itself, but I feel greatly changed inside. A wonderful way to end what has been a year of great progress!

Image shown above is a number of pieces from my new series of works on paper.


Ian MacLeod said...

great post Catherine - great insight.

Catherine Carter said...

Thank you for reading and responding, Ian. I never expected that I'd experience such a dramatic reaction, but I feel like a changed person. (A little Ebenezer Scrooge thing going on here!)

Lynette Haggard said...

It's a good place to be, a little scary but fun too! Good luck, thanks for the post and happy Solstice!

Rebecca Crowell said...

Thanks for writing about this very interesting experience. It's true we never know when doors in the mind will be flung open to give us a new view. It's important to pay attention to the message...energizing and perfect for entering a new year. Best wishes, Catherine--

Tamar said...

We each need to shake things up from time to time and I've often found that seeing work of others we find particularly potent can start the process. Hold on to that feeling! I look forward to seeing where you take it. Best wishes for an energizing year ahead!

Nancy Natale said...

I think looking at art is just as important as making it in many ways. It's a valuable way to get outside your own head and get flashes of what other people are thinking about. Having just come back from a marathon couple of days of arting in NY myself, I'm going to be blogging about how an artist develops their work but only sees what's happened in retrospective. It's a lot easier for the art historians than it is for the artists. They're working from back to front while we're going in the other direction. There are many turns along the road and staying on the path can get tricky.

I'm glad you had such an inspiring vist to NY, Catherine. Best wishes for carrying that inspiration forward into the new year.

Catherine Carter said...

Thank you for reading and your comments, Lynette, Rebecca and Tamar. Best holiday and New Year's wishes to you too.

Nancy, I look forward to reading your blog post on that subject (and any subject!).