FLUX: As Subject, As Verb
Many artists develop a complex philosophy that describes both their own creative process as well as the appearance of the completed work. Often, the philosophy sounds like a bunch of hooey; almost superstitious and self absorbed to the point of absurdity. But the length to which artists delineate their own work is proof in itself that the image wears a badge of complexity that cannot be denied. Whether one agrees or understands is a separate issue altogether. No one is required to know, care, or believe what the artist intends, but sometimes it’s helpful.
Take this quote from Hodge’s artist statement:
“My art images hover between our external world and our internal selves, and reflect a multitude of experiences and emotions, both past and present, both personal and universal, where all elements move concurrently.”
Whoa. See what I mean? I had to read that three times before I understood what it said, but now I have another perspective that I could use to re-examine her paintings. We can get bogged down by the appearance of a painting and lose sight of the fact that thoughts and ideas, no matter what they are, make it look the way it does.
For many readers and art observers, it may also help to understand how an artist arrives at the final image displayed on the wall. Hodge has also given us a clear explanation of her process in her artist statement: “I begin…without a specific plan. I create a toned ground on the canvas. Then I visualize a gender-neutral figurative form within the initial toned surface and develop it by defining the negative and positive shapes of the figure with lines or glazes of color. These shapes are then a catalyst for additional marks and shape making. I respond by veiling and revealing, scratching and glazing until the whole surface is in flux.”
It’s too easy to just breeze through a gallery and briefly look at a picture. There is almost always a reason why it’s made the way it is, even if the artist doesn’t know why (although the good ones do). It’s okay to look at a painting and decide whether you like its colors or shapes or subject matter, but when you’re having trouble “getting it,” try to learn more about the artist or the works themselves.
~ Donald Dusinberre — Writer, EU Jacksonville ~