Thursday, January 12, 2012

Starting with a child's koan and then going in and out of the shadows with something that is important to me

Thanks to Beth for posting this on her Tumblr last week. She found it here.

"I think artists know quite often when they hit on something. In fact, artists really can't move ahead or go on unless they have that feeling. Sometimes you might have to fool yourself that you're doing something important, but unless you can make something important for yourself, you can't continue."

-- Dale Chihuly, from Chihuly: 365 Days, page 104.

"Most people think that shadows follow, precede, or surround beings or objects. The truth is that they also surround words, ideas, desires, deeds, impulses and memories."

-- Elie Wiesel, writer, Nobel laureate (b. 1928)


Below are three of my linocuts from the mid-1970s, saved by my mother, rediscovered, and scanned on my new scanner:

1. "Nightmare"
2. "Flashback"
3. "Coming up from the shadows"

Thanks to everyone for your recent comments and encouragement.


Keara said...

am, I'm wondering how you feel about titles, whether they are important to you or whether they are secondary. When I look at your first work here, I find myself thinking "Winter is arriving." (Something about a tree losing its leaves, and snowflakes.) The second one says to me "Tears" (a Native American and tears?). The third one makes me think "Ocean" (a sort of seashell, and the sun rising on the horizen). I'm learning that you like to add textures, and I like them. :-)

am said...

Keara -- Thank you for writing down your response to these linocuts from the 1970s. One of the things I learned about showing my work is that my work has a life of its own and that what I create can be interpreted freely by each person who sees it. For me, as time passes, it is as if someone else did the art work. It is a pleasure to look at my work from as many perspectives as there are viewers. I add your perspective to mine.

Titles became important later on. In the 1970s after the Vietnam War ended, it was very difficult for me to do any creative work at all. It was just yesterday in preparing this post that I titled the linocuts with what first came into my mind as I looked at them 35+ years later. I don't remember giving them titles in the 1970s.

In some ways, I have come full circle. Another American war is ending, and I am working in black and white again, working through some emotionally challenging territory and uncertain what the future will bring. This time, though, I am much more at peace with myself. That makes all the difference

An emotional winter arriving, tears, and ocean. Yes. That was 1971-1980. Bob Dylan and the ocean were my spiritual directors. In the 2nd linocut, I was thinking of Bob Dylan. I really did have a nightmare with the 1st image in it. The ocean was always on my mind. Making images of it was like being there.

Taradharma said...

i love that our technology today allows you to share these lino cuts from 35 years ago!

Keara and your comments are very interesting...the artist creates and puts it out there in the world, and each viewer will interpret. The artist will have their intention that the piece fulfills, and you're spot on that each viewers experience adds to the artist's original intent.

am said...

Taradharma -- Technology is astonishing. I remember how resistant I was to computers and technology in the mid 1970s and early 80s, in the years when I was married, the years when my fanatically computer-oriented husband was devoting most of his time and energy to building computers. When I left that marriage, I vowed that I would NEVER have a computer in my home (-:

The funny thing was that computers took over the office workplace, and I was forced to use them and quickly conceded that they were useful for word-processing (that's a funny term). It wasn't until I discovered Google that I had any interest in the internet. Google was mind-expanding. Still is.

I held out on buying a home computer until 2004. Unfortunately, my first computer wasn't a Mac. Fortunately, I bought an iBookG4 at the recommendation of an artist about a year later and took off from there.

Thank goodness for Steve Jobs who made a personal computer that gave me tools beyond my wildest dreams!

Hayley Rose said...

I like flashback- it reminds me of bad trips - These are great pieces