Art Attack – The art of Art Speak
I often ask myself why I have this deep need to work on a conceptual art piece – devoting endless hours, cash and energy to a project that I know full well won’t make a penny, will have a limited audience with many scratching (or shaking) their heads, all the while stressing out as it gets closer to “Showtime.”
My understanding partner of 20 years asks the very same question – only more often.
And so it goes with “Graven Images” (insert shameless, self serving plug here) a large-scale installation and exhibit I’ve had in the works for more than a year and, if all goes as planned, will be actualized at the end of this month, starting Good Friday.
For many artists, explaining one’s work – the dreaded artist statement – is more difficult than producing the work itself. I have yet to master the art of “art speak “ and am in awe of artists who can whip-off an artist statement that’s intelligent, enlightening, concise and most important, not too pretentious.
People will see what they want to see, but a well worded, to-the-point artist statement can help inform the viewer of where the artist is coming from, at least from his or her perspective. With a contemporary, conceptual art installation, a well-fleshed-out artist statement is imperative, lest the observers leave clueless.
Graven Images is a collection of found objects (tchotchkes) collected over a long period of time at flea markets, yard sales and thrift stores. These plastic and ceramic bunnies, Santas, angels, unicorns and snowmen, etc., grow out of my fascination, maybe obsession, with Jungian archetypes and motifs, childhood innocence and parental “white lies,” the indoctrination of religion, Bible stories like Moses and the Golden Calf, idolatry, shrines, indigenous animal totems, Paganism, commercialism, kitsch and artists like Jeff Koons and Marcel duChamp.
My artist statement needs to convey to the observer why a large collection of objects or tchotchkes arranged in a large space is art, and not just a bunch of tchotchkes arranged in a large space. Or at least why I believe that to be the case.
“Graven Images examines man’s innate need to create icons, and the cultural effects modern day idolatry plays in society, by exploring the spiritual, emotional and commercial responses evoked by these archetypal motifs.”
Close, but I could definitely use a class in Art Speak.