My fifteen year old son loves to torment me by mentioning, with respect to my work, a comment which was made during the opening of “The Box Projects” in July of 2005. In parting, a woman refered to my pieces as “clever” and my son thought this was hilarious.
It struck a cord with me as well, which seems ironic since I do consider my work more akin to parlour magic than high art.
When a fellow artist recently visited and saw what I was working on, she asked, “What's this?” My heart sank as I replied, “It's just a paper cup I'm making.”
I had spent the previous week very excited about the possibilities inherent in my paper “test” and to hear myself describe it in these terms reduced it to what I no doubt secretly feared could be the perception of “others”.
In my work , I strive to be true to the process. I honestly don't give a lot of thought to what others will think of individual pieces. For me, it is a process in story-making, in revisiting my own assumptions, in not considering “carved in stone” the truth in anything I remember.
This brings criticism (from both within and without). Technique aside – all my “paintings” have more to do with cutting in and filling, for example, because of what I learned while painting door jams – the content of my work may very well just be a re-hashing of things best forgotten.
I really don't believe that, but I often think that. And often, both in my head and in crowds of people I love, I say so.
My brain is always a blur with questions about art, and I guess what it really boils down to is a question about what it really is. Why is it important? Is it? What is its relationship to knowledge? Is it possible for it to be a way of knowing? Is making paper cups important?
Perhaps only a clever person would know for sure.