Dear Artist

Monday 19 December 2005

I’ve recently had this painting, Edgescape #8, selected for the annual Artsway Open Exhibition. If you go to see this exhibition, do drop by again to tell me what you think of the show.

Artsway Open 05 exhibition. Edgescape #8 is hanging (darkly) by the archway.
The exhibition runs from 3 December 2005, at Artsway, Sway, Hants, until 19 February 2006 (closed from 19 December to 5 January 2006).

I’ve found this painting very difficult to photograph. The colours are quite muted from dark, earthy browns to ochre and grey, and the surface is quite textured and glistening in places, throwing the light off in different angles. It’s been over a year in the making and now when I look at it, I can see it is only a small vision of something much bigger. If only I had more space (and resources) in which to work much bigger.

I also received a generic rejection letter from an arts organisation in which it was decided that your submission was not as strong as others in terms of quality. All artists have to deal with rejection, but on this occasion I was disgruntled with their use of the term quality since it is so subjective. I would rather they were more diplomatic by saying my application was not what the selection panel were looking for and then elucidate on their specific selection criteria.

Does quality mean sophisticated materials, high-brow concepts or visual outcomes? Or is quality by definition more elusive, subject to contemporary styles and tastes in art?

Much contemporary art is rooted in ideas or concepts using sophisticated methods of delivery, but I am concerned with the very nature of crude, mundane, everyday materials – basic, humble – unsophisticated. I hope to produce in the process of engagement, outcomes which question notions of quality, visual aesthetic or perfection in a very material sense.

White cube installations with their walls of video, projections, light shows, sound loops or satellite links do not convey the artist’s personal reasoning behind the art, since the materials used are so, well.. very impersonal – you have to read the catalogue to fully relate to the work, and even then the exhibition blurb is cloaked in hyberbole and curatorial artspeak – but I’m wooed by the engagement with seemingly global issues in an often highly technical and elaborate way.

Is this an artform born out of a “virtual” needy generation, which relies on the abstracted reality of TV to give a true picture of the way we do or should live? Are we relying on technology to enable a fresh view of our world?

The painterly drips and poured layers, erased traces and accretion of surface texture provides physical evidence of a more discreet and intuitive thought process – in response to the emotions and memories of a particular place or time. It is made complicated only by my own interaction with the processes – no more, no less.

What am I trying to say? That my perception of the environment is not yet definite or resolved, but organic and open to change? Some research is in order, and I think perhaps less philosophical ramblings and more dogmatic realism would help me on my journey, but I can take some comfort from the opening salutation Dear Artist using a capital A…