Last week I had a studio critique with my amazing studio mate, Ashley. We looked at and talked about our work, and generally offered support and encouragement. I looked at her new series of portraiture that combines photographically based images mixed with linearly drawn accessories such as tiaras and necklaces. We also looked at my new pieces that are combining (awkwardly) taped off lines, diagonals, and spray paint.
If you don’t have someone to speak to about your work, I encourage you to rectify that situation forthwith.
One of the topics we fell upon was the idea of how pattern clash, a term mostly used in the fashion world, seems to have crept into art and particularly our art. The idea that we are forcing disparate elements into our work, and putting them together in combinations that may seem shocking and disconcerting, seems to almost be one of the main driving factors in our work.
It was something I hadn’t quite thought about in my newer paintings, but it definitely exists in the work. I find myself partitioning the canvas into areas based upon the text, and then approaching those spaces as independent of each other. This leads to the notion of pattern clash in the work. And it is something that I hadn’t put into words until the critique.
As I had never considered this particular aspect of my work I struggled to find a way that this fits within the zeitgeist. As I stammered, Ashley made the connection with the socio-political climate today. Everything seems so divided, and perhaps even broken, that it is not such a strange idea that we find ourselves falling apart as well. Perhaps the broken spaces of my canvases reflect the broken politics of my two countries, the broken identity I feel within the culture, and the fears I have as I try and raise a child in these times. I had spent so much time thinking about the philosophical ramifications and explorations that I partake in when making these works that I have ignored the underlying anxiety I find in the world. No matter how much I attempt to avoid the news and ignore the uglier sides of our cultural discourse (and believe me I have tried VERY hard to ignore everything after we elected a clown to the highest office in the world) it has seeped into my conscience (or perhaps sub-conscience?) and into my moods and into my work.
So beyond the musings on the rhizome, and meanings found in and around terminologies of text and paint, I will have to maybe consider the breakdown of unity in my current work. I will have to let my movement towards new paints and processes continue and trust that the visual incongruity that I am producing is valid. I will continue to let the sprayed paint and strange color combinations to layer up and up, while I let other spaces remain sparse and empty. These new spaces are frightening to me, but maybe they are just reflecting my underlying fear.