Friday, June 20, 2008

for the curved arc of the sky...

studio floor feb 2008

as we finish installation and move towards my opening on saturday, i get a chance to stand back and see what i've done in neutral territory (has anyone ever called a gallery neutral territory!). when the work leaves the studio it seems somehow different, less my own and perhaps i have a little more distance to see it not just as the maker - which is difficult of course when you make things that mean the world to you. for me it is always enough if they are honest, and i can feel a bit like i'm following my own path.

my dealer mentioned yesterday, that at art fairs, people tend to remark about the work relating to folk art, which is interesting because what they are really saying is they don't see its relationship to their own social culture... and they are right, i haven't made it for them. the fact that they can't connect these with the things they see in magazines, means on some level i am on my own path - and of course, has something to do with the fact that my own inspirations come from things similar to what i post here, as opposed to academic discourse and the contemporary culture of the artworld.

the difference between the idea of contemporary art and idea of folk art, is mainly about production (i'm not talking about the bogus contemporary folk art market either...). there are really two paths of production an artist can take. one, you work by yourself in your garage or studio; or two, you run your studio like a business, with assistants, fabricators, and a production schedule. i'm not interested in judging or discussing either approach, as much as i know what side of the fence i've wanted to stand on since i began... the thing i've striven to protect more than any other aspect of my work, is the way that i make things, and to insure that the making is wholly my own.

recently, someone unknowingly sent me to the poetry of pierre jean jouve (one more thing i am grateful for). i think this short poem says everything i want to say about production...

to himself

write now only for the sky
write for the curved arc of the sky
and to no black letter of lead
resort to wrap thy writing in
write for the odour and the breath
write for the sheet of silver leaf
let no unlovely human face

have glimpse or knowledge or rumor thereof
write for the god and for the fire
write for the sake of a beloved place
and may nothing to do with man intrude.

1950, translated by david gascoyne

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