Since having my own sort of epiphany over the holidays, I’ve been looking at artist statements from encaustic artists. Here’s one from an amazing artist, Pamela Farrell:
“I am moved to make art that explores themes of loss, identity, and memory. I have a tendency toward revealing…something: remains, lacunae, vestiges, scars, traces of memories, clues, the barely discernible….The work seeks to bring forward traces of memory and experience which cannot be expressed with words. I am interested in the tension between what is known and what is not.” Read the whole thing here.
A piece of Ms. Farrell’s from 2009, called Ophelia (grey) is worth checking out. Watch me be a good Internet citizen by not posting a large version of her image. Go to Pamela’s site to see it in situ.
As a viewer, I look at Ophelia (grey) and respond to the artist’s brilliant control of the medium. The title evokes memories of other times I’ve heard the name Ophelia. From Shakespeare through The Addams Family and finally to the non-fiction work Drowning Ophelia. It resonates as an idea, a character, and a sense of female sadness. On the other, it is simply a lovely piece of art. Would it mean as much to me if it didn’t trigger a range of thoughts that exist outside the piece–inside the viewer’s busy little brain?
I’m tempted here to suggest that words, such as this title, impact my feelings about the work a lot. As a writer, it may be hard-wired in me. But I don’t like this piece simply for the name; it also possesses a non-verbal, liquid, lost in falling beauty. See how many words I used there? Sheesh. A picture’s worth a thousand of them, so they say.
I am moved to make art that explores themes of loss, identity, and memory. –Pamela Farrell
From the artist’s statement, I posit that she too has a deep and thoughtful relationship with words. However, her work is lovely without them too.
Speaking of words, here’s another piece of mine from last weekend. The text is from a poem about a woman who leaves home in a hurry. It wasn’t intended to be about my daughter, the Baron Lucy-Lee, who moved out to go to college(leaving a lot of stuff behind), but it’s all in there. Life imitating life.
This piece doesn’t have the extra layer of chalk, which leaves it a little more bald and plain than I would like. Thus I see a lot of words I would change. Maybe this weekend, I’ll do some revision.