25 June 2014

Mud and sky and art and life

Kathy has written about a "personal museum" resulting from the collection of mud from various places, as souvenirs of travel.
Kentucky mud (via)
The samples bring to mind the student at the Royal College of Art whose degree show (in the 90s I think) included a montage of photographs of the same patch of sky, taken every day at the same time. This was in the days before digital photography, and what with the variations in processing the films, as well as in the sky itself, the colours ranged from brown to green to grey to blueish. Most colour films are notorious for not being able to deal with the colour blue. The more you think about it, the better this simple little project is.
These are not the sky pictures I remember from
last century; these are by Lonnie Dean, 2011(via)
First question - were the photos really taken every day? Can we believe the student, or anyone who commits to a "daily" project? ......and, does it really matter?

As for colour photography - my own (digital) photos of my stripey painting show how treacherous the camera, or the light, is; how fickle and fugitive the "real" colours. There is simply no consistency from day to day. 

The thing that interests me at the moment is the trigger for these sustained projects (let's call them practices) - whether daily or tied to some other kind of repetition like visiting a new place. Use of mud as pigment is definitely an art practice; collecting tickets during travel might be; writing a travel journal, would you classify that as an art practice? Do they nudge at the border between art and life, or is art life and life art, sometimes or all of the time? What do you do with the collection once you have it... is collecting an art? ... are days a collection, or is the collection the detritus of the lived days, the outcome of the repeated action?

Oh, and ... when is a habit a "practice" ... and how does (daily) art practice become a habit? Is it a good thing to have habits in art, do they detract from the process of challenge and response that is the core of "doing art", or do they free the mind for clearer focus? Too many generalities ... too many questions!

1 comment:

irene macwilliam said...

A lot to think about in your posting today.

Writing a blog for some people is a daily activity, people like yourself are examples of this, I see it as part of your art practice, as your writings reflect on the whys and wherefores of things related to seeing and the mind. You show your work and experimenting related to artistic activities.

You are like Wikipedia to me, drawing attention to so many art and related ideas.

People with some medical conditions perform the same acts repetitively every day… would anyone call this –performance art?

Nowadays to set up a machine like a camera to take a photo at the same time everyday is no big deal with the electronics available so it is how the results are used that has to be meaningful, albeit it might be in some obscure way. Someone records the weather at a set time every day for climate change research, I do not think of this as art to me it is science, as I write this I begin to get more and more bogged down. The more I ponder on your posting the more ideas, angles, things pop into my mind. Would love a session of face discussion on this. However have to go out shortly.

As you know each year between 1986 and 2012 (27years) I produced an Events of the Year Quilt…. Does this make them art? I would like to think there is artistic content to them.

Love your sketchbook work, just wish I could see it in reality and handle it.

Keep going with your blog, Please