Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Artist Statement Anxieties

I'm going to start out by saying that I'm a fairly decent writer. I give all credit to my high school English teacher. I can crank out an eight page paper in a weekend, and the first draft is always pretty close to the final product. I even enjoy writing at times, I wouldn't keep up this blog if I didn't.

But. . . . . I hate writing artist's statements.

Never in my life have I been so sure of what the work is about, and I could not be having a harder time putting it into words. And, I have about 50 quotes from people who say it far better than I ever could. And I'm terrified to start my actual thesis paper. I'm also terrified by the fact that I haven't started yet.

Here's what I've got so far:

This work is driven by a deep personal interest in the science of stones, rocks, geologic processes and the shaping of the physical earth. There is spirituality as well as beauty in something so magnificent and so unspectacular as the earth beneath our feet. Rocks, sand and dirt can convey as sense of sacred space. A stone worn smooth by tides can be soothing to the soul as well as the hand. A humble prayer bead becomes a pearl.

Spirituality also dwells in the very act of making. If one is open to it, each part of the creative process can be a step in the long inner journey towards enlightenment. Repetitive action becomes meditation; each piece becomes a prayer. This work is a reflection of my own inner journey, a consecration of both the mundane and profound, and my search for transcendence.

I swear, next time I'm going to make work about something that's easier to talk about. Like firetrucks.

I'm going to go start breathing into a paper bag now.


FoFum said...

Sounds really good. Artist statements are a product of academia and the supporting gallery/patronage system. The artwork should stand on it's own, and yours does - statement or no.

Amy Tavern said...

Artist statements are a crucial component of the work we do as artists. We must be able to put into words what our work is about because it doesn't always speak for itself, unfortunately. Being able to articulate in simple terms information about our process and ideas for most anyone to understand can be a challenging task, but we know our work better than anyone and so all the tools we need to write an effective statement are at our finger tips.

Liz, your statement reads well and I think you are on the right track!