Wednesday, August 23, 2017

On Looking at Past Work

I was not very precious about my art school work. There are many reasons little of it survives today. Moving between three provinces in the last 17 years, too many different houses and apartments in each of them, lack of storage options, but mostly I had a lack of connection with many of the pieces. I have heard many artists say that they feel as if their artwork is a child to them.  I don't have that sentiment. I have pride about my work, I remember feelings and situations I had while making it, but I do not feel any where near the attachment to it as I do my children.

I don't think that it is because the work is not good, though in some cases that is the reason. Overall, it is just a desire to see it out in the world and functioning as it was intended.  To be viewed and enjoyed by other people. I have made a few pieces that are personal mementos and so those I feel attached to.

As I look back on my student work, I have discarded more and more over the years. Recently I had one piece that I did keep framed and it now hangs in the bedroom I share with my husband. This piece along with two small self portraits called out to me earlier this year. They said that they were an important part of my evolution as an artist. I did think for a moment that there may have been other pieces that would have spoken to me this way had I kept them. There is nothing I can do about that now, and honestly I think my work has evolved so much since I finished art school that leaving those "lost" pieces behind is best anyway.

This piece titled How Many Landscapes? from 2000 is embroidery on paper collage.  The text is a poem I wrote. It was the first use of embroidery in my work. It's a big leap in the evolution of who I was in that moment as a young art student. This work is about the conquering spirit of humanity; questioning our desire to own every land mass, every piece of solid ground.  Looking at this each day reaffirms my current path.  It is like a promise to myself about what I am doing, and why I am here. I'm glad I kept this one.


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