Tuesday, December 29, 2009

As Promised

A Sample of My Morning Ideas in Action
(Thanks, Kids!)

Following this idea of modular art: Why modules? There is an implication of progress in modular art, of infinite variety; the possibility of rearranging and discovering new color combinations, new tensions and harmonies. There is continuity to it. Each piece has a few characteristics in common: three colors, the use of pattern, a border of some sort, and some aspect of collage. Unlike more individual, more focused and “serious” artworks, there is a lightheartedness possible here, a potential for play and manual manipulation that ultimately creates new work from old. In the process of taking ourselves and our artwork lightly, we can allow our innate abilities to flow more freely and create work we might otherwise subdue with self-imposed editing. Here, there are only those four rules: color, pattern, border and collage. Everything else is fair game. And though it seems like we might be limited by those rules, they ultimately allow us creative freedom.


Is it the rules that free us, or the acknowledgement of the rules and the ability to work within them? In a world without rules, given unlimited possibilities, a young artist can be overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of choices s/he must make in order to create a work of art. Each decision looms large, and seems mighty important. Given smaller, multiple bites, modular work with given parameters, those decisions seem less ominous.


As I write, I see so many parallels to child psychology and the educational process. We begin with simple bits of information and close structure, such as learning the alphabet, then move on to sorting consonants from vowels. As the years progress, and the child is taught more and more of the structure of a subject (such as language, our current metaphor), s/he is allowed more choices, and more varied parameters. Eventually, having internalized all of the structure, having mastered the grammar and the syntax, the rules of composition, the concepts of metaphor and simile, the student of language can begin to play with the subject, can begin to make art. Poetry becomes possible. Novels, expository writing; the rules, while present, can be artfully bent to the will of the writer, and conscious genius can begin to emerge.


We can extend the metaphor to our own personal growth and development as well; life as art. We begin with structure and the comfort it brings, and then learn to use those things we’ve learned creatively as time passes. And therein lies the fascination.


I believe I am entering a time of possibility in my life, a transitional time. I believe I have learned a great deal from the parameters I have created for myself, and am beginning to see some glimmer of the possibility of a more creative venture ahead of me. It’s still emerging, like a distant horizon in the morning fog, but I’m coming closer to it; it’s there.


What will it be?

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