Make the art, explain the art

Once you make the art, you explain the art.  As I am working on my anxiety series, I find there is another series developing in tandem.  As I said in another post, to me it feels like it is referencing the body in some way.  In my other career I worked in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities, and spent my days trying to figure out how what was happening on the inside of the person resulted in what I was seeing on the outside.  In my every day life today I am still exposed to the medical world, and I feel these things somehow have coalesced into what I am now calling my Fragment series.  When my work happens more organically, I find it a bit of a challenge to put into words what I have drawn.  I want to give the viewer some cues about what they are seeing, but I do not want to overload them with a  bunch of artistic jibber jabber. (Those who know me know I am not a fan of art-speak in general, as I find it alienating and excluding.)

I was driving and listening to Q with Tom Power this morning, and he interviewed director and actor Sarah Polley.  Towards the end he mentioned that she had commented in previous interviews that Polley did not like to talk too much about her art, as she feels it starts to lose its meaning.  She prefers to have people experience it.  This resonated with me as I recently submitted some work to an art competition.  After I completed the submission I started worrying that my explanations of my work were too brief, too to the point.  Should I have used the convoluted language that the art world seems to love?  Does that somehow impart more professionalism?

To my mind, no, it does not.  For this series, for now, I think I have given all the direction I can give, and I will let the viewer experience it.  Above is another piece in the Fragment series.



Image: ©Deann Stein Hasinoff Fragment II 2018, Digital drawing





2 thoughts on “Make the art, explain the art

  1. Rick Rogers

    Perhaps the best way to explain your art is to give just enough cues (in plain language of course) to the viewer to help them explore the art on their own. It’s such a tough line to draw though, because if it feels to the viewer that you are leading them but not enough for them to actually get it, I suspect resentment could result and block their exploration completely.

    1. Deann Post author

      Yes it’s something I go back and forth about quite a bit. The way I work is more intuitive or automatic (as you mentioned in a conversation we had). It’s important to me to give the viewer a starting point, but because of the way I work, when a series is in progress I find it challenging to fully articulate the direction I’m going in. Is it enough to simply say that this series references the body? I feel that more explanation than that would just be me making up something for the sake of filling space on a page, and would therefore be disingenuous. This is the heart of the conflict. How do you approach a series of works in progress?


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