Lynette Haggard: "Circa 013", 2008, encaustic on panel
Nancy Natale: "Red Pearl", 2008, encaustic and mixed media on panel (alias the Nipple Piece)
Someone once asked me what a particular piece was about and I said, "Paint." When I make a painting, it is what it is, not what it represents. I am all about process and object making. However, as the process of making a piece evolves, it may suggest things to me; perhaps it reminds me of an old wall or a textile or an undersea world, but that's not what it's about - I am not trying to create that thing.Usually when you have to confront this subject of meaning in your work, it's because you have to write that dreaded (or dreadful) artist's statement. Some of that stuff is such high-falutin' blather that you could never understand any of it, and the less said, the more words it takes to say it in. Yet people (especially curators) love to read this stuff (which is a little silly because if they really get into your work and study it, they make up their own meaning anyway).
These days, when I write a statement, I usually say my work is about gardening: the structure in the painting representing the man-made elements in a garden (hardscape) with the paint and/or plant inclusions representing the organic components (planting). But often it is described as "quilt-like," which I guess it is, although this is not on my mind when I make it and doesn't occur to me afterwards. (A recent art writer said it was "a Willy Wonka take on Mondrian.")
So these are the two meanings I'm thinking about today: the meaning of making art (as in, what's it all about, Alfie?) and the meaning of art being made (as in, what the hell's that thing?).