looking for inspiration
Yesterday I drove one of my new paintings to Circa Gallery
in Minneapolis (I haven't gotten my technical problems solved yet, so I'm not posting a photo.) It was one I struggled with for days, right up until five minutes before it went into my car. (A little last minute touch up that turned into major overhaul.) In the end I was quite happy with it, especially when viewing it in the perfect, soft gallery light at Circa. But I was left feeling rather drained and depleted--not just from the effort to resolve this one painting but the cumulative effect of intense painting all summer. So little time to digest, contemplate, incubate, and all those crucial parts of the creative process that don't involve actual paint.
I spent the rest of the afternoon after Circa enjoying other people's art, and it was a very good thing to do. First, I caught the final day of Christine Herman
's show at Bliese Gallery. Her spontaneous approach to mark-making--quick lines, dashes of color--has an energy and boldness that I admire, and sometimes pull back from too readily in my own work. I left with a resolve to be less concerned about covering up my tracks when I paint.
From there I headed to the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and after dutifully walking through the featured exhibit (A Mirror of Nature: Nordic Landscape Painting 1840-1910...nice enough...but for me not terribly inspiring) I spent the rest of my time just wandering through hall after hall of exhibits. I wanted to see what kind of things would catch my eye, what would draw me in. So here are a few of my selections from those vast displays of art and objects from around the world: George Morrison's huge driftwood collage
, a Chinese bronze horse
, a display of Japanese tea bowls, an Olmec mask
, a painting by Agnes Martin, and some elaborate textiles
Definitely a diverse mix. But I think there are visual threads and themes that run through these and other objects that attracted me--rich and complex textures and colors, and strong structure. In some pieces I liked this came through as spare, concise form while in others, it manifested as dense patterning.
It was amazingly refreshing to spend the day looking at art other than my own. The dullness that had begun to settle around me in the studio was lifted, and today was a very good painting day.