Friday, August 31, 2012

Writing ONE Group C Reaction

Kipp Gallery, September 07, 2012

Writing ONE Group C Reaction

Ramon Riley

After reading the entries from my group,  I was left with the impression that we are, for the most part agreeable with the reading, and we all acknowledge the impact of Visual Culture on our work.  However, I found myself asking “Should we care”?  “How much should we care”?  “What should we care about”?

In Michelle Colbaugh’s paper, she talked about “creating illusions through photo representation and abstraction in paint”.  James Batistelli echoed the usefulness and accessibility of being able to manipulate photography.  Coincidentally, I had not incorporated photography in my work for over 10 years, until recently.  While I have set rules for myself (which may be silly and a waste of time), where I only use MY photographs, I know my “rules” are a direct reaction to the ease of use and blurring of appropriation versus stealing.  

Crystal Miller’s paper did a wonderful job of laying this out, and her blog page was sharp and convincing on just how easy it is to get US to look.  There are color theory classes.  There is market research...etc.  In the twenty-first century we have more tools at our disposal to manipulate the viewer to look. I found myself thinking about seeing work and asking myself, if I would consciously be trying to break down the “illusion” because I too am an artist and am obligated to serve as a visual docent, artistic awareness gatekeeper, or if I would simply allow myself to be the kid in the candy store...

I loved this statement in Eric Brennan’s paper:  “I believe all visual art is part of visual culture but visual culture is not always a part of the visual arts.”  I thought Eric’s writing about the inevitability of the impact of visual culture on us spoke to my feelings and opinions.  Yet, by stating that there is a connectedness and separation between visual art and visual culture gives one hope that what an artist does can expand and shape the culture in whatever way, big or small, instead of inevitably succumbing to the culture.  

I am unfulfilled when I catch myself tearing things down unless I find something to lift up.  The connectedness of culture, media and visual art is complex, but I struggle with walking the line of being a critical artist without being a critic who doesn’t make art, because it is easiest to overanalyze and criticize one’s self.  When I set up rigid rules, I am bound to break them and feel like a hypocrite.  That sucks.

When I am engaged, I am not thinking about culture or trends or marketability or illusion or validity or impact.  I am in love.  I am all of that and none of that.  I care about what I care about until I care about something else, so if my love is strong enough, then it will be worthy of attention.  I can be a magnet instead of spending my life trying to become a magnet.  I can be the result of the best of what I have experienced and taken in, instead of constantly scrutinizing what I am taking in with a false sense of security that such a process will make me better. Perhaps.  

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