at core

(snow art)

For some reason, I was thinking back on a time in art school when I was slammed. In this situation, we (the group of artists) would have had 6 months to produce work, come back, hang it, an then endure feedback. I say endure because it was often brutal.

“Why did you make this? Does it have any significance?”

“Why did you use these materials?”

“What were you trying to do with your colors?”

In this particular instance, the head of the school was cruising through. She had her own agenda: the kind of art she liked and understood, and also, how AMAZING she wanted her students to be. As a reflection of her leadership,

For the crit I’m remembering, she had no use for my art. Too meaningless. Too lightweight. Too – perhaps quiet. She preferred large installations. Noise.

After the next 6 months, I had put together a large, but not loud, installation.

I don’t think I did it to impress her. I was just moving from wall to floor for my art at the time. I needed to cover a different space.

And sure enough, in the ensuing years, I did do large installations in galleries.

But, I think back on that crit time with some kind of appreciation. I had ideas – of course – about what I was doing with my art. But I was not getting ANY of that across to her. I was not happy to hear what she had to say. But mostly, I was upset that there had been so little communication. That my art had conveyed so much less than I had hoped.

So, when I am asked, years later, for a core value of mine – thank you dear Paula and Leigh – I have my answer.

I’d hope that what I did, what I created, and what I wrote, would truly touch people.

Perhaps quiet. Perhaps understated. But no less effective for that.