There’s nothing to fear except fear itself

The object abuse collages are pulling up lots of material from the past, in the shape of particular techniques that obsessed me at the time but which never resolved themselves into finished work. As an example, the approach of To adorn first surfaced 18 months ago as the image below left, which I liked but seemed wrongly presented, and has now finalised itself into the image below right. These events have a kind of pleasing symmetry. Perhaps one’s instincts seldom lead astray but may have an unresolved charge that finds a home finally with patience?

New ideas for more collage abuses keep surfacing, such as the recently created To excavate n.01 (below) which results in an worn, distressed pit into which the gaze falls. These developments are difficult to force but emerge from left-field when least expected. They’re fun to make after the hard graft of the MA graduation show work, but should play a practical part as research material for future large installations.

The two installations from In the shadow of her gaze have both been successful but are frustrating in that they rely on wall support. The next goal is to abandon this security. In my mind’s eye I have a vision of rocking up to exhibitions with a stash of components – metal, fixings, paper / collages – to install with no reliance on solid surfaces other, perhaps, than the floor, shuffling components each time in an endless parade of possibilities. In this, I’m inspired by the varying ways Annette Messager installs work to create something new for each site.

However, I must be certain this sort of shift is right and not just a passing fad. Also, I’ve learnt some valuable lessons so far which cannot be discarded lightly:

  • Reflection is vital for the power of glass or mirror to pull the viewer into the work.
  • The implied threat running through the work in terms of the way collage on top of each other, interrupting and disrupting, seems crucial.
  • Retaining an overall simple elegance to the work feels important – connected to form and the balanced scale of individual elements.
  • Scale remains up for grabs – perhaps the work should be more dominating – the billboard effect?

I’ve said this before, but this all calls for more serious testing with maquettes than I’ve ever attempted before. But I’m conscious of avoiding the task, put off by something – perhaps fear of the unknown, or of failure???

What sort of things scare you when making art and what tactics do you use to overcome them?

One thought on “There’s nothing to fear except fear itself

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