Monday, January 21, 2013

Phase 5 - be brave, every decision involves loss, update

This past week I was invited to submit a piece to the show “Fluxus, now then and whenever” curated by the fabulous Gregory Steel at Indiana University Kokomo. Instead of using one of the (literally!) 50 minis I have all over the house, I decided that I’d really like to try to make something new based on the idea of containers/containment that’s been on my mind lately. (And now we come to the point in this story where I ask myself “am I crazy?,” and answer comes back “O yes, for quite some time now I should think.”) Over the weekend, I made 6 new minis, painted/adapted their frames, and modified a lunch box to house them (re-purposing some of the cleaner newspapers from 1946 that I pulled up from under the carpet.)
I'm especially proud of this mini Dutch-inspired still life, and recognize the pose of the parrot and the cityscape from last week?

I also kept working on the tracery piece.(There are lots and lots of layers on the still life, so I went back and forth while they dried.) Naturally, I worked on the flowers (and tiny ants.) I think it’s funny that the cathedral from the tiny print in the fluxus piece reappeared in the background of tracery piece, just to the right of the face. It may be time to set this one aside for a while, and start something new.

In terms of this week's theme, I’ve been thinking about a radio interview I heard on the BBC with a politician. He was speaking about the sculpture, “Angel of the North,” by Antony Gormley (I haven't seen it, but this piece by the same artist in the British Museum would be on my list of personal favorites (though any list of "art I like" would be a very long list :)). To paraphrase, he said - it’s lovely and all, but if it didn’t exist, 99% of people wouldn’t care. I find this comment devastating (and memorable) because, on the surface, it seems so reasonable.  If I had done something else with my time this weekend, no one would have felt any loss over these minis in a box except me (and I would have felt only a virtual loss – a reduction of possibilities). Until an artwork exists it's nothing (in the sense of no-thing, not-a-thing), so it can't hold a place in the loss column (except to the artist, who might mark it as a "0"). But "0" is very different than nothing mathematically because it does hold a place. (I'd be excited to win $1, but I'd be more excited to win $10, and even more for $100...and so on to the jackpot). That's straightforward because it changes the amount, but even when it doesn't: .10 is different from .1. The extra zero indicates the possibility of measuring further and so it suggests the existence of alternatives (.11 or .12) that .1 without the zero doesn't for me. I'm not quite sure where I'm going with this, (blame it on mini-induced exhaustion ;)), but I think I'll keep working on Phase 5 a little longer.