Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Shut up and draw

(Carroll Dunham, Another Island, 1989-1999)

What can I do? I set out to draw rocks, trees and mountains, which I fantasized would be great metaphors, and nothing but cartoony tribal figures are coming out. At best they’re Saul Steinberg, or maybe Carroll Dunham, but I fear they’re really more Bart Simpson.

I can’t say that I like them, but I’ll continue, because I have no choice. That’s what’s coming out.

To remove the discomfort of not knowing where this is going, my initial urge is to immediately try to explain the work, categorize it. If I could show off a range of knowledge about how contemporary artists depict figures, about why some chose realism, about how choice and historical awareness is important, then what I’m doing becomes valid. So I think. But what really happens is that the drawing blocks.

Shut up and draw.


BlackMomo said...

Reminds me of something I read recently, something John Cage offered to an uncertain Philip Guston. "When you enter your studio, everyone is there, the people in your life, other artists, the old masters, everyone. And as you work they leave, one by one. And if it is a really good working day, well, you leave too."

Hope you are finding that freedom!

Molly Stevens said...

I read that too and took it in! I believe it was the Chris Martin/Joe Bradley press release.
Thanks for writing BlackMomo.