Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Starting a new assemblage. I took notes as I worked and some photos.
My first choice was a different work, but I'd misplaced the seed pods I wanted for it and, having only limited studio time, I opted to shift gears instead of searching. (I found them later on.)
Every piece begins with an idea.
At this moment, it's more like the pupae of an idea, as yet not named and not fully developed. But I have a good sense of what I want to say. I'll have to trust the details and words to come later. I can, because that's usually the case.
So with that in mind, I gather objects. I have a lot to choose from. I pick things up wherever I go. People send me things too, odd little bits. I'm always thrilled to find a little box or envelope in the mailbox with a bug, bone or odd bit of metal or wood.
Next I'll start to sort the objects into groups. The sorting can be challenging.
My first instinct will be to treat them like specimens, ordered by physical properties/shape/materials.
When I collected seashells as a child, I tended to sort them this way.
The sorting is also governed by visual aesthetics - color and form.
And finally by metaphor, emotion, story.
The sorting isn't so much a means to an end as an exercise. Sorting and handling these things, placing them in relation to other things is part of the process. I find connections between them, become aware of the history behind the objects, some of which are to memories of people and places. Finally I'm able to see them out of context, having no relation to anything I know. That's a tricky part. I can best describe it as being similar to "seeing" an optical illusion. This is the "real" work.
Once stripped of assigned values, the objects become an alphabet, capable of visual stories. It can be overwhelming, but I keep my focus in place. A title would help but I don't have to have one yet. For the moment, I begin to know what fits and what doesn't.
I have to trust my feelings, Luke.
God, I'm such a nerd.
I keep the objects in motion. Eventually groups form- things that want to work together.
It's a process that isn't at all...linear.
I begin to add two dimensional bits to the whole. Bits of hand painted paper.
Prints of paintings, pages from old cookbooks and Galaxy.
All these things are spread over years and geography and exist for various reasons.
The stuff that does it for me, that makes the work feel like play, is finding a way to put these things together so that they make some kind of sense as a whole. Eventually (if I do it right) it will be an odd sort of story. If I do it right, other people will be able to "read" it.
That's it for today. It has to be. It's what I did in the time I had. I reluctantly let it go. There are other things that must be done. I've put this work off for far too long, hoping for a big block of time to devote to it.
That's not my present reality. Those blocks of time don't exist.
So for three hours I completely immersed myself in an embryo of an idea. On the surface, there's nothing to show for the effort, but when I come back, the work will be evident and might even surprise me. We'll see.