The Laws of Nature
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Designing the Self-Critique
Art Without Compromise by Wendy Richmond
Chapter 3: "Life Support"
section 3: "Designing the Self-Critique"
Before delving into Richmond's book once again, I'd like to sing the praises of the New York Foundation for the Arts for supporting the advancement of artists in their careers. I have just been awarded a grant from NYFA to support my solo exhibition in Maine this summer, and couldn't be more grateful.
Now, onto section 3" Designing the Self-Critique," which begins with the sentence: We are all hungry for critiques. This is something we've discussed many times on this blog, so it will be interesting to learn this author's viewpoint. She notes that we can't always get good, honest feedback and must find a way to conduct a thorough self-critique, especially since most of us work in isolation. Objectivity is key to this process. What insight does Richmond offer us?
1. Think the opposite - look at the other end of the spectrum. For instance, in reviewing one of my own paintings I might say "my work contains too many hard edges." The opposite would be to say, "my work contains too few hard edges," and then work to further exaggerate that characteristic. I believe that what Richmond is getting at here, is that our work improves if we accentuate an important aspect.
2. Put it up - display your work all over your house, especially while it's in progress. I like accidentally "bumping into" my work here and there when I'm running around the house attending to other matters. The encounter is often unexpected, and so I have a fresh look at my work and get a better impression of where it's headed.
3. Paste it in a publication - this is a really neat idea that I've never tried. Take a photo of your work, reduce it in size, print it, cut it out, and then paste it in an art magazine. Seeing your work in that context helps "illuminate its flaws, its virtues, and its relevance in our contemporary culture."
4. Recreate it in another medium - here, Richmond uses David Hockney's approach to illustrate her idea. He is a painter who also uses photography to develop a technique called "joiners" ( a series of photographs of a scene over time that were pieced together) to create a 2-D map of time and space. This work informs his paintings.
The purpose of these four approaches to a self-critique is to help us gain new persepective, which is important to those of us who tend to work in solitary confinement.