Saturday, December 14, 2013

Roughly Constructed Work (Edited 12/28/2013)

The Boston Globe's art writer Sebastian Smee brought sculptor Nicola Hicks to my attention yesterday with a piece in G/Arts and Movies about her exhibit at the Yale Center for British Art.  I was particularly interested to read his thoughts on how she reveals herself through the sculpture she titles "Who was I kidding?" which represents a donkey losing a lion skin disguise and the consequent shame of being discovered as an imposter. 
The roughness of the work itself, as shown in an accompanying photograph, as well as Smee's suggestions regarding the artist's interior life are what interested me as I read.  I've always liked to think that making a series of marks on paper or canvas have a significant unconscious component revealed in each gesture. I wonder if the same is true for building sculpture?
In observing art it seems so difficult to separate, tease out if you will, intention in any equation which might purport to reveal the maker's plan.  Presumably, Nicola Hicks had some ideas about where she was headed when she started the donkey. Did the artist abandon some control as she proceeded?  Did she plan to create something which would appear incomplete in some respects? Is that what is going on?   For her, when was the piece "done"?
This is something I struggle to understand in my own work.  The rough work I do, mostly drawing, might leave lots of ambiguity in sight.  Maybe that's an opportunity for a viewer to solve her own riddles? 
I think "creation" occurs in the act of observation; the viewer's interpretation is so important to the work.  Interpretation takes on a life of it's own and the artist's involvement is, in a sense, static when contrasted with active observation.
These pieces are fairly recent and I feel good about them but I don't want to try to interpret them.  Think I'll leave that to any observers!

No comments: