Sunday, 1 November 2020

Further Thoughts on art in a time of crisis....

 I am still chipping away at the last of the second series of circus prints, and in fact ready to print - but it has been so dark recently I have had a breather and done some reading - the first break for 6 months, garnering strength for the winter and having lots of walks while I can ....

Developing events have also needed short essays and proposals for future on-line possibilities for exhibiting my books. It has come to seem much more appealing when fair organisers bite the bullet and and start preparing for such options for 2021 rather than endlessly postponing and cancelling which is stressful and upsetting - I don't see how we can plan ahead for real face to face events currently - Artists Books are really not socially distanced and hands-off events! ... and we have to think laterally and creatively....

Writing proposals has made me re-evaluate what I have been working on since March and think about how I might position it now we are in for a long haul. It seemed natural to incorporate the pandemic subliminally into it - and Fool Gets Sick ( still awaiting printing) flowed very seemlessly from my climate crisis related work. Now after so many months with the virus I question whether such work really will be of interest to anyone or  researchers, or whether in the future the last thing we will want is to be reminded of it.

This is the fine line where art balances between reasonable topicality ( including the dangers of veering into propaganda) and something more universal and timeless where my heart is usually is drawn.

I hope that by frequently oscillating like a humming bird between the two possibilities I can still end up in the camp of ART and not reportage; it is why I keep an umbilical cord to story making and a finger in the myth-kitty, a historical awareness as well as looking to the future...alongside experimenting constantly with the plastic possibilities of painting and printmaking materials, surfaces, colours and structures and all the ways of projecting meaning wordlessly and timelessly. A sort of 'slow art'.

I do feel that artists in the 21st century should be reflecting the times they live in, as well as keeping true to something more un-pin-downable, a step ahead or outside, a slow-art that doesn't reveal its heart on it's sleeve - and is not necessarily understood by its creator either.

From my relatively fortunate and privileged position, particularly of being able to continue working from home despite having to isolate strictly, I hesitate to presume I am competent enough to comment wisely; but I want to make work that is relevant, honest and respectful - might still spread a little humour and joy, insight, diversionary interest and context, while still keeping the overriding concern for our communal future in the general consciousness. However a little voice in my ear alarmingly suggests - will there still be enough time for 'slow burning art' to mature, when the climate crisis of which the pandemic is just another manifestation is accelerating rapidly.

And of course making art is a sort of therapy akin to meditation for the maker of it in real time too.

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