The Laws of Nature
Monday, February 15, 2010
Frames and Filters
Before I discuss the next section of our book, I must bring attention to the comment that Deborah C. Stearns wrote on yesterday's post. If you haven't yet read it, please do. It sheds a whole new light on the artist's self-analysis that is important to consider. Thank you, Deborah!
Moving on ...
The second section of Chapter 2 in Wendy Richmond's book begins with the sentence: We know the world through frames and filters. She elaborates on the various media, trends, environments, and cultures which are the frames and filters that shape how we think, act, and judge the world around us. Although these influences could become restrictive and inhibiting, Richmond feels that they provide the greatest atmosphere for creativity. How so?
Richmond begins to answer that question by providing a few examples of early influences upon our opinions. She cites the positive connotation we assign to the word "simple" because of Shaker workmanship, or the value given to "Conceptualism" because of Marcel Duschamp's idea, and the importance of "efficiency" because of the Industrial Revolution. She adds that these meanings change with time as new innovations occur and societies change. The author writes: these filters of media, history, and culture are always changing, their influence grows and shrinks depending on time, place, and the person who is looking through them. That's where our own creative freedom lives. Each of us, as individuals, absorbs these filters, and with them we bring our own meaning to a piece of work.
In other words, the artist's job is to bring authenticity to her work by using the frames and filters she has accumulated throughout her life to find her own unique meaning. We've discussed this many times on this blog, and it seems to be emerging in every book I read as a universal truth. Perhaps this is the only way our work can become "original." Repeatedly, I return to Ben Shahn's advice: the artist must first ask, "What kind of person am I?" and then strive to produce art that truly represents "who I am."
And now, your thoughts.