I haven’t been as consistent about posting recently, I think mostly because I’ve elected to take time off from the artwork so there hasn’t been as much to discuss in that area. Also, my teaching load is very heavy this semester and for the most part, that has been consuming the majority of my time. Next semester my teaching load is going to be much lighter, so I’m looking forward to being able to manage my time better when that happens. Sometimes I think that my ability to be productive in my work is completely determined by how much time I have to dedicate to it. Depending on the time of year, this can fluctuate tremendously.
On Thursday night I had the reception for my exhibition at the Danforth Museum of Art. The reception was held in conjunction with the Hyman Bloom show, an exhibition which featured figurative expressionistic paintings and drawings. I found myself really interested in his large scale charcoal drawings; they were rich with texture and surface and yet at the same time ambiguous and mysterious.
I had the opportunity to speak to many people regarding my work, and several friends stopped by as well. Many of the museum docents talked to me about how many of the tours of children that they’ve taken through the exhibition have been really excited about the use of the long shadows in the prints. The other interesting observation was that several docents mentioned that they had reservations about showing the digging prints to the children because thematically they can be potentially dark. The interesting thing is that many of the children didn’t see the digging prints are dark at all; in fact many of them saw people digging gardens and holes at the beach. It’s interesting because I think many adults have reacted to the digging prints immediately with ideas of death and burial. I suppose it all depends on your point of view and background.
Another comment I received from an adult I found vaguely irritating; he asked me “why are all the figures men?” Gender has never been an issue that I’ve tried to prioritize in my work, if anything, I’ve tried to neutralize it so that the focus can be more on how a collective group of figures interact. I would have liked to have answered with “why do you see them as all men?” I know from various reactions I’ve gotten from other people that the gender of the figures in my prints is definitely debatable and I’ve had people disagree on which figure was a man or woman. Again, I think this is another issue which depends on your background and experience and how you’re willing to receive the image. Afterall, what makes something masculine or feminine is so subjective, I think especially in different cultures and contexts. I think another example of people needing to be and looking to be fed exactly what to think, rather than embracing the idea that an image could have separate levels of meaning. Sometimes it’s just that much easier and more comforting for someone to spell everything out for you, rather than taking the initiative to see it from your own developed perspective.