13 February 2008

ordinary | art

green & yellow argyle

this is the key for my next tank install at SF State. i have a whole folder full of the keys that i've made - some realized, some not.... i really like this kind of busywork. something obsessive that i know has a beginning and an end and that i can sort of meander around while making... you have to pay enough attention so that you don't put the wrong color dot in the wrong space, but there's a method to the madness. it's a nice balance.

so remember the book by michael kimmelman i mentioned? the Accidental Masterpiece. well, i really want to share this passage [this is particularly for shari and maria ]. the set up is that he's talking about a found photo.

It is a fair guess that this man, this woman, and their photographer would be surprised to learn, if they are still alive, that their momento made it to the Met, sharing wall space with Rembrandts and Monets. Whenever the picture was snapped, wherever that was, the man and woman peering into the sun, the photographer maybe fumbling with the shutter before asking them to say "Cheese!" -- none of them were presumably motivated by the desire to create timeless beauty... But the art in the photograph of those strangers and the car is there, plain as day. It is in the reflection of the woman's body on the card door. By some act of divine comic grace, the reflection happens to match up precisely with the head of the man so that he looks like the woman's ghostly, dwarflike double, a funny-surreal coincidence that, by adding a layer of unanticipated meaning to the picture, suddenly elevates it from ordinary snapshot to art.

Sometimes art works that way. It appears unexpectedly. It doesn't arrive through the front door. It senaks in the back, the more startling for being the result of dumb luck. This picture would be less likable, I suspect, if we learned that a professional had planned it, because the amateur's fluke reminds us of a basic fact in life, which is always heartening: the art is out there waiting to be captured, the only question being whether we are prepared to recognize it


um. yeah. need i say more? i almost feel like this is the essence of why we hunt for small moments of beauty. why we look around, take pictures, blog.... it's the line. the line between ordinary and art that i seek. i want to see where it blurs, where it crosses over, where it leans more heavily in one direction. this is why i feel like it's justifiable to call one's art practice research. because research is :: the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.

textile pattern

and because this matches my argyle and shash is holding a textile pattern week.... my laptop bag from brooklyn industries

have a good wednesday

25 comments:

jenifer74 said...

art is life. life is art. love that second quoted paragraph. thanks for sharing :)

mariss said...

Interesting grid and post. The grid reminds me of how Chuck Close creates his large paintings from small circles. I think his grid is at a 45 degree angle though--or at least the canvas is.

UNIFORM Studio said...

the line between ordinary and art -
I love that. I like when they are blurred, it's something I strive for as well. Thanks for posting this passage today.
btw -I had a dream last night that you and I were in the same room talking:) you were wearing a pink t-shirt and had blond hair (?).

risa said...

i've wanted to take a class with you for awhile. after reading this paragraph, i would specifically like to sign up for an aesthetics/philosphy of art class with you as the professor. i can just imagine what a fascinating discussion would come from those two paragraphs. there's a pretty interesting one going on in my head right now. :)

shari said...

that is such a great passage. i'm going to copy it into my notebook tonight. xox

nature morph said...

yes yes, the Kimmelman book is amazing! It is one of my favorite discoveries of 2007. And your writing about it is reminding me to go back and read it again.

Claire said...

Oh wow, what a wonderful quote. I'm getting that book. Thank you!

Kathleen said...

Lisa that passage is so wonderful. I'm ordering that book this second. It is amazing what can happen when one opens oneself up to possibility. Thank you for sharing.

poppy said...

It doesn't arrive through the front door....

...the art is out there waiting to be captured, the only question being whether we are prepared to recognize it

amazing words. i totally believe that!

comfies said...

ah! yes!!! thank you for putting together this post and sharing the quote! at the risk of sounding super nerdy.....this speaks right to my soul.

wendy said...

love that passage...and love the little tank key...its beautiful & simple there is just something about it!

Laura said...

you are doing a tank install at state?? Awesome! I can't wait to see it. ..

the key was very cool...I had the thought that it looked a lot like a pattern chart, and was struck by the really strong desire to knit it....

julie said...

Oh i loved reading this post Lisa. Firstly the tank -pattern "something obsessive that i know has a beginning and an end" - YES!!

And then the passage..YES again!!!
Thanks for sharing with us and putting these thoughts into my head. Would love to read more of that book!!

Have a great weekend xxx

anne said...

hi lisa, what a beautiful post! i love your conclusion on art as research. photography feels to me exactly that way. studying materials and resources to establish facts and reach new conclusions. that is truly a great sentence.

love your tank key....

bugheart said...

i hope you
frame your tank keys.
they are works
of art too.
can't wait
to see new tanks...
get extras!
;)
xoxo

shash said...

so true. cool to see your tank key, which could be a textile pattern too of course. ah yellow and green. :-)

life in yonder said...

What a beautiful passage Lisa! Thank you for sharing it.

natasha said...

i love it. i have always found that the things i have produced that i like the best seemed to have come from somewhere else, or an accidental process. i wishlisted that book. thanks so much!

gracia said...

Much to chew upon there, dear one. That line between the ordinary and art... who could resist?
take care, happy musing and tinkering,
g xo

susan said...

beautiful passage from a wonderful book. being ready to receive is half the work it seems.
i like your keys.

babelfish said...

It seems my comment have gone astray...I am fascinated by the planning process of art, as well as the results. Your key is an art in itself, so interesting and beautiful. Love this passage, especially for the unplanned beauty waiting to be captured.

amisha said...

hee hee... just realized that i posted multiple comments on the same post over here... can you tell where my head is?? :)
thank you so much for posting this quote. so perfectly put. those blurry, crossing-over spaces are the most interesting...
xoxo

louise said...

It's a great quote, very true. I went to see the Richard Billingham exhibition in Melbourne the other day (http://www.accaonline.org.au/) It was fantastic. He has elevated the snapshot (and video grab) into painterly brilliance. xo lj

lisa s said...

i'm so glad that you find the quote so great.

i'll be sharing more from the book as i can't help but dog-ear more pages....

laura - YES! tanks at SF state

bug - i don't frame them, but i have them all....

louise.... thanks for that GREAT link!

Elaine said...

Congrats on your success (above!) That is great. I want to get this same tote in woodgrain today, thanks to the faux bois bloggers. I like the print you got too.