Disturbance is a good thing. It creates change and releases energy. I feel like I am more at home at Ashburnham now and disturbed is now a ‘normal’ state to be in. Realisations are rising up like bubbles to the surface and popping. My inclination is to grip on and try to understand and ‘learn’ from each one but it dawned on me this week that in doing that I miss all the others and actually its better to let them all keep rising and bursting without following them up – the experience is much more overall and less specific. I cannot possibly articulate everything that is taking place so in true residency mode I go with the moment and write what comes to mind in the present the rest of it is mine.
My work really does speak for itself to there is no need to justify it. No need to explain or dictate. I feel like I am now steering with my periferal senses not governing with my head. It still feels clumsy and difficult but that’s OK . Most art is seen and written about in retrospect which presents a very sterile and finished view of the work and the artist. I bet all ‘now famous’ artists were a lot more human than we give them credit for. This is important for me as an artist now because I can see that in the process of creating work the whole point is that I CAN’T see where it is going and each step is exactly that – a step towards something and a step away from the last thing.
There is no hierarchy in these steps each piece is worth the same and is as necessary as the one before. There is a constant shifting and sense of movement.
I am trying not to edit anything yet but one thought that sticks is ‘disturbance’ …in Ashburnham it is elemental, the air, water and surroundings move constantly buffeted by wind or reflecting light or simply just growing quite visibly. The whole place is alive, flickering and teaming and I am only a small part of its aliveness.
I am not just starting to make work , I have been making work since I was little, this is a continuum, an ongoing movement. I think its called living.
I am really enjoying stepping out of the rat (art ) race and finding space to be myself not hustled by deadlines or others influence. I think I am learning to trust myself more. Not feeling I have to justify anything I do and using that freedom to let the work speak for itself is very empowering but not something you can be taught. I think you have to live it and be it and keep on doing it to really experience it.
Making work without pressure – just doing stuff because I can. This may not seem much like a big deal but to me it is. I have 4 people depending on me everyday. I try to encourage independence but it takes time to learn and so I am responsible whether in the mood or not. One of the side effects of having a family is that it’s easy to lose sight of who I am – no one will ever ‘gift ‘ me space to do what I want to do, so I have to create boundaries and be unpopular even to gain a small amount of time to myself ( if I actually know what I want to do). This is usually preceded and then followed by dealing with the stresses of my emotional ‘work’ related turmoil and being expected to manage the dependents emotional turmoils too. Most often I fall very short of my aim.
So when I am told to ‘play’ or ‘try things out for fun’ it doesn’t come naturally to be selfish there isn’t the space in my head for it. In fact it makes me feel quite out of control. My whole being is taken up with facilitating other people’s lives from when I get up to going to bed. Thoughts of my own work have to fight for space within this framework. Space/time expansion is becoming very significant.
Pico Lyer said
silence is more than just a pause; it is that enchanted place where space is cleared and time is stayed and the horizon itself expands
Each week I get to Ashburnham and I struggle to get out of the car even . …ridiculous. But I am facing bigger issues in this physical and mental place because I am here to explore and to find out just what I do in my own time…what choices do I have and what choices do I make? A new word I have come across is Sunyata (the Buddhist concept of empty space or void). A positive void. The transition from school drop to entering the void is painful.
So I turn up and walk, then I get an idea and try it out. This is as far as it has got and that’s OK. Its not that I didn’t do this before but for some reason everything I thought I knew about me is now up for scrutiny. I feel dangerously small and I can feel myself retreating. So I keep on walking and making things with what I have and tell myself to stop the internal interrogation and just let me be.
I see other artists work at degree shows, read about artists I like such as Peter Lanyon, Sandra Blow or Roger Hilton and get ideas about work I could do but for now I am keeping those influences at arms length and letting myself surface from somewhere deep. I have to make work my own and that has to come from a long perhaps awkward and hidden way in…that’s where I think and feel I’m going…..don’t worry if you don’t really understand – neither do I but I do know that there is no end in sight and that’s a good thing for now.