Serialization is an important aspect of my art making process. Every since I started painting and drawing abstractly I’ve done so in multiples. I use to have power numbers, arbitrary numbers of works I produce in a series. In graduate school, and a couple years afterwards, I always seemed to make works in series if 10 or 20. It’s been an artificial way to promote a continued healthy studio practice for me, but how important is seeing a series of work to the viewer? Also am I using serialization as a crutch? And, how does the best work in a series stand out from its siblings.
I’ve been asking myself these questions lately because a friend I trust confided in me, when I asked him how my blog looked to him, that the blog was fine – such as it is – however my website needed serious work. The news hit me kinda hard because I thought the website was fine. I was proud of myself for my doing it all on my own, inept as I am with web technology. I now feel perhaps showing audiences every piece in every series I produce might look desperate and I worry that it may have affected certain grants and positions I’ve applied to in the last year. I’ll change things up at the site to experiment and hope for the best. And perhaps more importantly I’ll see if one -off pieces of art instead of a massisive series of work opens up any unforeseen imaginative possibilities.
In the studio right now I’m doing a series, yes another one, with encaustic paint. I love painting with wax even though its a pain in the ass. Wax and acrylic don’t naturally go together. I have to do all sorts of tricks to get the acrylic paint to adhere. It nevertheless is still fun. The series is a failed experiment for me that I’m following through on to see if I discover something in the process. I’m trying to embrace failure lately and grow from it. Without getting into the weeds with how the series didn’t quite work let me say that achieving magical translucency with encaustics involved trial and error.
A failed encaustic project plagued by too much enthusiasm and too little planning, a website failing perhaps because it’s too busy – like the art the website displays, a predilection towards the verbose and the serious; maybe these are all just the natural products of a overly anylytical and insecure mind. Whatever the case I think forwards is the path to take. Giving up and dwelling doesn’t teach me much these days, though learning from my mistakes never happens quickly for me. Until next time. Oh below are some of the encaustic pieces. What do you think?
Post script: I wrote the above blog 2 days ago and was feeling a bit low after an ill advised trip through insecurity-land prompted by a search through Facebook where I saw the blissfully lives of relatives and friends. Never a good idea to compare and contrast lives. So when I read a commencement address given by the poet Mary Karr at Syracuse University I felt much better. Here is a link to the speech here, I think everyone feeling a bit low should read it.