Sunday, February 16, 2014

Complete?

Most of the time I know when a piece I'm working on is complete. I never really start a piece with a solid, predetermined image in mind. I have a general idea of a form, but nothing's ever concrete. When I go down the vague path of what I attempt to make, you'd think I wouldn't really know when the piece is finished. If I have no clear image of a final destination, how do I know when I've arrived? I can't really explain it, but I just know. I know when I'm there, at the ending point, the place of completion. Most of the time that is how my process works, but there are times I remain unsure of whether a piece is complete or not. This one's an example of that uncertainty.



Hmmm. Are you complete? Are you wanting? If so, what do you want?

When I have this uncertainty I step away from the piece.
I tack it up on my  wall and do something else. It's presence is there. I see it. I'm aware of it, but I'm not crashing my brain thinking of what needs to be done. It's kind of like having a close friend or family member in the room. I'm conscious of their presence and will be alert and ready if they need anything, but I'm attending to other things. After spending a few days with the image like this, I come back to it and engage with it one on one.

After about a week of this back and forth dynamic with this particular piece I've just realized it's done.

Unconsciously, I talked with the piece. I wondered what it needed, or if it had too much of anything. Finally, I realized it was not burdened or hungry.This is similar to Pat Allen's method of conversing with art pieces, and "witnessing" them in order to see where those pieces are trying to go. It's a form of personifying the piece. Not giving the piece an identity, but becoming aware of the piece's identity separate from myself. Does that sound a little crazy to anyone? 

It might, but I have recently come to see works of art as having a separate and unique identity from the artist. Kinda like children. I come from my parents, have some similarities to them, but have an autonomous, individual existence. Now, I wonder when, does that happen to piece of art? When, during the process of creating, does it gain an identity separate from the artist's? Hmm...

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