I think I’ve identified the problem I’m grappling with and that is finding a balance between intuition and being purposeful in my art making. A phrase I wrote down twice in my seminar notes was: ‘understanding the consequences of our thoughts’ which is a pretty apt piece of advice for me at this stage of my study. The problem is, it’s a bit of a conundrum also, because it is all too easy for me to get caught up in the thinking and second guess all of the making to the point of crushing it altogether! I have to understand the consequences of my thoughts without getting trapped inside them. Understanding the problem isn’t the same as having a solution… but I’m working on it!
On the last day of the seminar there was a really interesting discussion around the division between form, subject and content in artworks. I’m a bit of a slow burn on this kind of thing so bear with me (and correct me if I’m wrong). As I understand it:
FORM is the materials, what it looks like, how it is made up.
SUBJECT is what it is about, the ideas it explores.
CONTENT is what it does, what the audience reads in the work, what it refers to.
If I’m right, and that is the case then it would seem that in every artwork the artist has control over the form and the subject, but not the content. The artist should understand what the content might be, and perhaps even aim for a particular content to come across, but this is the slippery part because they cannot guarantee a specific content to successfully come across to the viewer. I think maybe it only happens when the form and the subject are very cleverly aligned. Maybe this is what Anthony means when he talks about something humming? Perhaps also content could be aligned to the artist’s intentions… a work is successful when the content and intention are very close, and less successful where the intentions and content don’t match?
It’s a bit of a brain teaser, but it’s
possible probable that I am over thinking it.
David Thomas talked about the benefit in ‘wasting time’ which is not the same as squandering time, rather allowing for time without intention and just being in the world. I’m resolving to do more of this. Some of my better ideas have popped into my head, fully formed, out the blue when I’m in the middle of something else, so making time to waste time is probably very valuable for an over-thinker like me.