Thursday, September 30, 2010

Creativity in Hospitals

I spent the day yesterday in the hospital as the escort to my husband who had surgery. It was a surprisingly dull day, only enhanced by the occasional visit of worry. And then there were the posters on the wall, mostly picturesque landscapes.

There was one, a fall mountainside in pastel that included an unusual orange-yellow – something like this image above. It was in fact comforting to see. The color took me out of there. Art can really be a sweet friend.

Most of the other posters didn’t skirt tacky as well, especially when they had words on the bottom like “serenity,” or in one case, “creativity.”

Perhaps only more misguided than using the word “inspiration” to describe an artist’s process is the word “creativity,” as in “I’d like to express my creativity.” It implies a state where everything you do is beautiful, worthy, perhaps even touched by a greater force; in any case, it implies a person’s better side. That’s just not how a (good) drawing comes out of the pepper mill.

That artist didn’t choose that orange-yellow thinking, “let’s be creative.” That hue was something he saw or, in all likelihood, it resulted from the reproduction process.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Realistic fake

Talking about trees, check out this 1984 sculpture by Judy Pfaff up now at Ameringer, McEnery, Yohe. First, we’ve got those nice stylized trunks providing strength in multiple directions, like vectors; then we’ve got the suggestion of bark, not its faithful and laborious imitation. This keeps up the lightness. And then the sharp-edge chops clearly remind us that light and serious can coexist (and should, in my mind).

How do you get a realistic depiction of "nature." Unnaturally, I think.

That’s all for today, folks.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Does lyricism sell?

(Installation view of Edefalk's work at Gladstone)

On view now at Barbara Gladstone is an installation by Cecilia Edefalk of tree barks standing like figures on a table. I have a very soft spot for work with trees, even though most are a flop, succumbing to generic poetry. This one did in the end for me because of the exhibition title “Weeping Birch” and then because I heard an employee describing the piece (to a collector) as the result of a “profound” experience the artist had on an island during a storm. The combination of the words “Weeping” and “profound” was just altogether too self-important. The employee then pointed to a group of three or four barks on the table, and said they were $35k (or was it $40k?).

Personally, if I had the dough, I’d prefer to buy Kippenberger’s 1990 installation combining birch trees and pills titled “Now I’m going into the big birch wood, my pills will soon start doing me good.” I don’t need anyone to tell me it’s profound, it just is by virtue of what's there.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Krump drawing anyone? (moi, moi, moi)

I’m one of those people that must move physically. Sometimes it becomes restlessness, sometimes impatience and often anxiety, but it is, at core, an electricity that quickly stores up inside me.

This is not a concentration problem. When I was in high school, they put me on Ritalin, but lack of focus was a misdiagnosis. The classes were deadly dry. And they had me pegged as an unserious student. I think if they had let me pace around the room, I would have been able to focus on their boring lessons.

When I watch crumping or b-boying, I feel vicariously expressed (you’ve seen the movie Rize or Planet B-Boy?). I just love the spasms, the jutting, the angry thrusts and I admire the control. I’m too scared to try it for myself though. And also, I’m pretty heady, although I’m not a brain. Drawing is a good way to convert the surge, and so is writing, because I’m using my hands and mind at the same time. With drawing, I even get to walk around the table and back and forth to and from the wall.

So, if only I could make my drawings look like krumping.