Modern Times


ImageLooking, looking, looking!

I have been trying to step back from producing work to just looking. Looking at the world around me. Looking at the work I have created. Looking at notes, sketches and stuff I have held onto. I find it amazing when I find something that I have had for years and just by looking at it I can tell why I kept it. There are threads of continuity through all the bits. They are what speaks to me. Would anyone else recognize them? Is their draw universal or speaking only to me?

Previous to the break and the path to looking I created a piece that I call Crazy Town. I will get a photo of it and post it soon. The interesting thing to me is that it went in all directions. I pulled from ideas and resolutions from all over to make this piece work. Eventually the town arose from the pieces. What struck me toward the end was where the roots of the piece came. I could see the direct tie back to a piece I saw at the Yale Museum of British Art about 2 years ago. It was a work done in the 15th century. Somewhat primitive and very charming the wonky perspective was what I loved about it. Somehow I had managed to channel that without thinking about it.

This got me to thinking about what we look at. I have an artist friend who works in montage. She likes to juxtapose natural elements and industrial remnants within her artwork. The same friend has not wanted to go to museum shows that are not directly associated with contemporary works of art. I have always wondered about that limited viewpoint. Certainly each of us has to follow our interests to find inspiration and draw from it what we can. I suspect her decision stems from some conclusion that says if I am a modern artist I look forward to the cutting edge. My conclusion is that to be truly modern you have to look backward to move forward and you have to look everywhere.


  1. “My conclusion is that to be truly modern you have to look backward to move forward and you have to look everywhere.” – I agree entirely, wish I could have written it!

  2. I agree about the limited viewpoint of your friend – we draw from everything. In fact I think when you look at Renaissance art from today’s point of view you can see connections with modernism (though maybe modernism’s not contemporary enough for your friend!)
    You can find connections with all art really if you are prepared to stop & really look at it & think about it.
    Perhaps some people have a sort of short cut which means they only accept “the cutting edge” because they’ve learnt that that is acceptable or fashionable & therefore they only see the most immediate aspects of what is in front of them for fear of seeming not up with whatever is the most current.

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