Saturday, November 07, 2009

FCCA Opening

We had a great attendance at the gallery last night with people moving through all evening. I am a blessed person to have so many "regulars" who come to every opening to support me. I was thrilled to have friends Steve and Eugenia there, as well. These are two people who have been overwhelmingly supportive of my work in many ways. And of course it is wonderful to connect with new people.

This morning I debriefed the event with my friend Pam who will often walk around listening to comments and talking to people. The painting that by far received the most varied response was the "Shepherdess of the Sea." This painting is the most surrealistic and generally cryptic of all of my paintings thus far. It is interesting to find that from the beginning, it evoked strong response. Many people really loved the idea and encouraged me to pursue it, but some felt otherwise. It seemed that as long as I was painting the lovely fawn, all was well, but as soon as the idea evolved in a directly surrealistic direction, I received some opposition. Originally, the initial drawing utilized some of the ideas of "The Flowering Bull" such as using botanical elements for the legs with the thought that she may be his predecessor. But as I went along in the process I realized she had something to do with the ocean, and followed that leading.

Among the common comments were that some did not feel comfortable with the pairing of land and sea life, and others didn't "get it." Working in this genre requires a non-left brained way of seeing. Many people have a hard time connecting with surrealism most likely because the viewer often has to work harder to "get it" in this genre than any other, maybe with the exception of minimalism. It can appear "nonsensical", odd and often times there may be nothing to "get." In most of us the rational brain, the labeling and compartmentalizing brain is the first to respond. I find even in myself this kind of unconscious habit of trying to explain and make sense of art when I look at it. In my painting, this kind of immediate reaction hinders my creativity, so I work at trying to let the work speak to me.

As the artist, this spectrum of reaction is a fantastic thing and in no way a negative. The more I think about the Shepherdesses' evolution and the volume of reaction, the better I feel about the painting. When everyone likes a painting, you have to wonder how challenging it really is and on the other hand, if people are really being honest. The very worst that can happen is no response. A huge part of why I paint is to evoke a feeling and I feel every individual reaction is valid. So thank you to everyone from sketch to opening night who voiced their thoughts on this painting openly and honestly. You bless, encourage and challenge me when you do...

One woman approached me to say she thought my work is scary and indeed, there are dark undertones and notes to be sure (forbid it that I would ever paint a work that is simply "pleasing" or "enjoyable." It wouldn't be authentic for me to do that). So, another wonderful reaction from someone who took the time to "look", let the work speak and so feel what comes to the surface.

I hope that my work is uniquely creative with a strange beauty that others remember and that in some way it will speak to each individual in a personal manner.










5 comments:

Kathleen Krucoff said...

This is just awesome. I love the way you speak about The Shepherdess and her evolution...along with how that evokes emotions in everyone.

It looks like it was a great evening and I am so happy for you.

Your work is uniquely creative with a strange beauty as you stated and that is part of what draws me to it. Thus, it does speak to each individual in a personal manner. Excellent!

I have to add that you look so stunning in the pictures you have shared with us. What a great night it must have been.

Sheila said...

I think the fact Shepherdess was so controversial was fantastic. I would love to make a piece that many people can view in many ways. CONGRATULATIONS on a wonderful opening!

Tracey Clarke said...

Thank you K and S....so much.

Dean Grey said...

Tracey!

The show looked like it went well from the pictures. I would love to have been there!

I think those that didn't "get" The Shepherdess painting were just stupid. Haha, kidding!

It made sense to me because I saw how she evolved on your blog, from the beginning sketch, to the idea, to the finished piece.

Were these strictly for show or did any of the paintings sell?

-Dean

Steven S. Walker said...

Your show is one reason I wish I was still in VA. I hope you've had several sales because I know you've had great reviews.