Opening personal dialogues with other contemporary artists.

In this new project I have had a range of ideas particularly as it relates to systems of symbols and wider interpretation and meaning. I am interested in perceived 'subjectivity' in a deeply objective world. I am engaging more with my personal interests in other fields such as philosophy and I am starting to examine ideas of where art sits amongst these other disciplines of discovery and how thin or thick walls between realms might be.

I seek to construct an idea that will ultimately have a communicative aesthetic purpose but I am coming to it through a process which might be more akin to scientific or philosophical reasoning. The idea of experimentation is always very necessary for me, if however I am going to introduce a quasi 'algebraic' process to this I need to be resolute in my search for what I perceive X to mean and how that might relate to Y and so forth. I am of course not saying that by doing this that the ultimate 'equals' will succeed (aesthetically, philosophically) but this approach does fit with a proper rigorous approach that in some way tries to qualify what might otherwise be a pure expression of feeling alone.

I have deliberately gone out to try and start a dialogue with a working contemporary artist who is creating work that is very subjective and breaking through with their ideas in the art field. Their ideas lack a traditional narrative yet they still find critical success despite notions of philosophy not directly underpinning their work. This to me is very interesting in an age where we have a very real bias toward 'rational' responses in other fields. Perhaps with changes in the economic and political landscapes across the world removing old certainties, maybe the zeitgeist is more now about openness or fluidity of thought. Perhaps more and more we are looking at the quantum world and saying sense might indeed be an imposition of learned response and accepted symbology which is our way of trying to understand what is in essence something we aren't equipped to grasp. The collapse of the financial system fits well with scientific chaos theory and the idea that the more complex systems become the more they behave in ways we cannot predict with pure logic alone. It is only through abstraction (predictive equations) that we can somehow try to communicate with this 'other' reality. We build models rather than necessarily being familiar with what is.

The artist who has agreed to engage me and talk more about their work is a recent award winner in their field and have thus received a critical validation of their subjective reasoning, so for me this opens discussions about the whole art process and why one can't necessarily expect to embark upon a journey in art purely as this lone voyager. Perhaps this isn't possible until an artist masters their discipline so well ( sculpture, film, paint) that the craft of the work underpins anything which might appear on the surface otherwise purely subjective.

Critical response is clearly important but most art comes to us through the removed (from making) eye of the critic or institutions and thus the artist themselves isn't something we often get to connect with. I have found that something I wanted to try and overcome so I wrote to several artists whose work I admire and tried to explain my thoughts (very briefly). Most didn't respond at all and those that did didn't want a dialogue. I eventually attended a talk in London after a precursory email to an artist and they seemed to respect the fact that I was willing to travel several hundred miles to hear them speak about their work and to meet them and from here a dialogue has opened up. I think it is very important to show sufficient respect and due diligence and seriousness abut engaging with the artist's work and from that will flow respect and ultimately perhaps a willingness to engage, although one has to accept that probably 99% of artists won't accommodate efforts to create dialogues.

An interesting question for me is how far you can analyse your work and undertake discussion before you undo the emotional artistic response. I have identified an artist I like and whose work exists subjectively and without ideas that underpin it philosophically yet is still critically successful so for me doing this helps me be willing to take greater risks and not try and analyse my ideas to death and kill the immediacy of artistic 'subjective' response. I do like the idea of crossing realms or exploring how thin or thick they might be so there is a dualism in my thinking which I don't think is necessarily a bad thing. Maybe that is what appeals to me? Does art have to stop at these apparent barriers, perhaps we more exist inside a Labyrinth such as was written about by Jorge Luis Borges and the rest is conditioning that makes opaque what might actually be a very transparent surface.

For reasons of privacy online for the artist themselves and because I don't have permission from the artist to discuss them online, only my tutor would be aware ultimately of the artist I am communicating with. The name of the artist isn't important really as the point I am making is about discussion and how one might look at broadening out connections. I think it is important to try and find peers that one is interested in outside of books or the filtration of critical response.

It has taken several months to create a pathway to this dialogue, requiring clarity of thought and connection to certain artists work. The result for me is a conversation with an award winning contemporary artist who is willing to seek comment about their work and also ask questions about mine. It takes a lot of rejection, silence and self motivation to try and find a route of dialogue to a successful working artist but I think that struggle to succinctly communicate your thoughts to others mirrors the world of the contemporary artist so one should rapidly get used to it.


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