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Monday, August 22, 2011

Pressed Up Against the World

Nancy and I started thinking about this show months ago, and our first avenue was pregnancy. I was looking for a photo of the cocktail napkin from our first meeting where we (read: Nancy) made a small cluster graph of our ideas surrounding creativity/fertility. This line of inquiry did not last.

From that first brainstorm we veered quickly into the idea of conversation and what made a good constructive conversation between artists or anyone for that matter. We quickly realized that this angle of thought might not produce any viable objects and that mostly we just liked talking to each other and so with some pressure, guidance and suggestions from Laura, we moved off of the sheer hedonistic pleasures of insular conversation and into the arena of social-environmental commentary.

We discussed the ideas of auto traffic and carbon footprints, digital waste and its toxic footprint, and my secret obsession with water waste and the imminent resource wars. Laura again walked us back from the edge reminding us that the corporate body creates exponentially more waste that the artist body. Which is what ultimately led to the conception, execution and construction of our installation in the way that it appeared in the gallery.

We ended up considering what it takes to make a final work of art, object oriented or something more ephemeral. The toll that it takes financially, materially and emotionally for an artist to create anything, even a failed work, is a heavy one and the detritus that never makes it out of the studio is mysterious, fertile and complete in its own truncated way.

Sitting alongside the material and emotional concerns is the pivot between a vulnerable hermetic creative act and its presentation in the more superficial public arena. The navigation that artists must perform, a peeling back of layers from which there is little insulation regardless of the success of the public act. Our final piece contained bits of all of the discussions we had along the way, folded into and repurposed for each successive set of ideas.

At the end of our blog post here, I would like to take a moment to thank Laura and Hava for all of the hard work that they put into this show. I think it was a huge success and a really inventive and interesting show. I am glad I could take part in it and know that it couldn’t have been easy wrangling all the different aspects of this show into place. You both did a great job! So thank you.

Nancy and Matthew

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