Saturday, December 31, 2016

to tucson and back: highlights and thoughts

It's been almost a month since I got back from Tucson. After the feverish pace of the past few months, I took it easy these last few weeks; to collect my thoughts and renew myself for new work.

I began the year asking myself an important question. What was the exhibition at The Drawing Studio going to be about? The answer came slowly. The more I thought about it as time went by, the more I was convinced about the idea. ((Mountain x Crow x Echo)) captured what I had in mind. The title itself comes from a painting from late 2013, but its essence is something that I often see in my work. Working towards ((Mountain x Crow x Echo)) was a lesson in focus. To see it come together into a coherent form was equal parts satisfying and daunting.

I found myself focusing on the idea in other ways. While I worked in the studio, with the music of Max Richter (The Blue Notebooks and Memory House), Dustin O'Halloran (Lumiere and Vorleben) and Radiohead (A Moon Shaped Pool) playing, I realised that many of my favourite tracks in these albums were minimalist and quiet, strong and aglitter. Something about their starkness and simplicity helped me articulate my thoughts about looking, about distances, about opposites, about contradiction and unity. There were books that I read or reread this year that strengthened my ideas about what I wanted to communicate - The Perennial Philosophy by Aldous Huxley, The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav, The Invention of Solitude by Paul Auster and For the Time Being by Annie Dillard. I wrote posts like Silent, Empty and WildWhen you Paint and The Endless Ocean that were explorations of those ideas. It felt like I was taking something and turning it around in different ways to understand and process it. 

The opening reception for ((Mountain x Crow x Echo)) was well attended. The feedback I got about my work was generous and enthusiastic. What words can describe the feeling? To see that the work done in the solitude of the studio can touch another person. 

I also gave a talk at the opening, which went over my beginnings as an artist and the work I did then. I talked about my time in Tucson and at The Drawing Studio, the lessons I learned in Josh Goldberg's class, the work I've been doing for the past few years and the work in the exhibition. 

The Drawing Studio did everything to make the exhibition and the opening perfect. They also did a Q&A with me in preparation for the exhibition and published it on their blog. You can read the interview here.

((Mountain x Crow x Echo)) was the highlight of 2016. But another major part of my life this year has been Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. Last year I was selected for the Studio Internship at Pyramid Atlantic. That internship was the beginning of a friendship with some of the most creative, funny and supportive people I know. Once my internship came to an end, I began volunteering, and eventually became a staff member early this year. After spending most of my time in the studio, I look forward to my time at Pyramid. For inspiration, fun and lots of work. It has been so wonderful to work for a cause that is close to my heart.

On that happy note I will take your leave. Happy New Year dear reader. I hope that 2017 is a year of simple joys, good work and focus. May our personal quests be our true north. May barriers fall, and love shine.