12 February 2013

Working in series (painting olives?)

A suitable subject for art??
A thoughtful article about working in series has me thinking about my Olives series. (Writing this post sent me to the internet to see how painters had treated the subject of olives - and lots of them have!)
"Olive jars" by Jennifer Stengel (image from here)
The bit in the article that particularly caught my eye is this:

"The idea of working in series or in distinct purposeful directions is actually the opposite of condemning oneself to a life of sameness or repetition. The process is not about repetition at all, but rather about being able to explore, investigate, examine or address particular ideas, themes, compositions, concepts or topics in deeper and more meaningful ways and from a greater variety of perspectives than from just one or two."
"Olive Shot" by Caroline Marine (image from here)
And also:

"The knowledge and experiences that accrue from contemplating or considering a well-defined set of parameters from multiple perspectives allows you to nuance your compositions more thoroughly, accurately and in greater detail, and to thereby communicate the results or conclusions of your observations in more impactful, compelling and consequential ways. You're able to more convincingly get your points across and to more profoundly connect with your audience. People have an easier time understanding, appreciating and being moved by what you're up to when you make an effort to explain it to them in detail (through a unified body of work) rather than give some snappy answer (in one or two works) along with the impression that there's not much more to say."
"Olive Branches" by Robin Maria Pedrero (image from here)
What's there to say about olives, then? What parameters have I defined, and how can they be examined from multiple perspectives? Will there be "impactful conclusions" arising from whatever points I'm trying to get across? More basically, is an exercise like the journal quilts in the same league as making "art that communicates" or "art that expresses feelings"?
"Olives all decked out for the party" by Elizabeth Blaylock (image from here)
What I want to say about olives is that they are more than a nibble with drinks. They are an important foodstuff, mainly for their oil, and a common factor in the life and economy of many countries - they are worth knowing about. Olives and things associated with olives can be visually interesting - they are worth looking at more closely.
"Olives and martini shaker" by Joy Argento (image from here)
Parameters - this buzz-word usually means boundaries, or variables, or things that can be measured. Based on the shape of olives, and their range of colours, the work will also include context, ie non-olive shapes and colours. Or maybe those non-olive things are the "multiple perspectives". I'm truly unclear on this bit. Nor do I expect impactful conclusions, either on my part or on the part of the viewer - possibly those conclusions are actually my starting points.
By Lutz Baar (image from here)
As for the matter of JQs being an exercise - well, they can be considered that way - a means of building up a repertoire of resolved samples of techniques, or of "interpretaitons of themes". Or, each is an art-making opportunity in its own right - a chance to compose, harmonise, highlight, focus, emphasise ... perhaps even for a hidden quality to emerge, which will inform the rest of the series. If not a hidden quality, such a series lets the maker find what it is that interests them - for instance, I'm starting out with anticipation of using green and purple "olive colours" but perhaps that won't be the thing that emerges as worth continuing to work with once this series is done with.
By Jeff Hayes (image from here)
One further section from the article, which elicited different thoughts:

"Most people don't get it the first time, whatever it is. They need to have it explained, approached or presented in more ways than one, from multiple perspectives. Simply put, redundancy works-- not the same exact thing done over and over again, but rather stated and restated in different yet interconnected ways. Your job is not done until viewers can say, "I get it; I see your point; I know exactly what you're thinking, where you're coming from, why this is important to you, and why it's worth my time to consider." "
By Demetria Kelly (image from here)
This implies that your work, or series, will be seen all at once and looked at with attention, with a view to being "understood". And that it really does contain "meaning" - rather than being work you make solely for aesthetic reasons, or to "express feelings". Maybe "meaningful" work isn't your agenda. Or ... chilling thought ... maybe without meaning of some kind, it isn't really "art"??
By Stan Fellows (image from here)


5 comments:

beatrice De said...

Je reconnais bien là ton goût pour les cobcerves comme tu les faisais à Minorca.

I can recongise your test for * conserves * as your where making in Minorca.
Love from Lausanne.

Connie Rose said...

I adore these paintings of olives!

irenemacwilliam said...

I think the article about working in series is aimed at the commercial market of making a living through selling work.
The quilt world seems to encourage innovation and does not set out to present work in a marketable manner or to encourage "work with meaning"....

JAQUINTA said...

I like the painting by Kelly

Robin Pedrero said...

Thank you for sharing my art