First in a series. There is nothing new about art taking art as its subject, either generally or with respect to some specific aspect, such as the role or situation of the viewer. Nonetheless, I am noticing a pattern in my work of noticing the viewer, and I aim to follow it to see where it leads.
Predictably, I have problems with any creative activity I engage in. It usually boils down to two things, which ultimately are two forms of the same thing. First, a nagging feeling that if the work is not something totally novel, then it has little artistic merit. Call it the curse of modernism. Since pretty much everything has been done, or at least everything that a working parent might have time to do, that seals the deal on the possibility of artistic merit. And so every result feels inadequate.
Second, there’s a lack of commitment or willingness to see something through to its logical conclusion, to really try different variations and different approaches with a given idea until I have turned it round and round, and really analyzed it from every angle. I think that’s what good artists do. They don’t get bored with say, painting lemons, after painting 4 or 5 lemons. They are not done until they have made dozens and dozens of paintings and visualized lemons in every conceivable way. That kind of thing always impresses me.
But it’s hard for me to do.
On the other hand, I still seem to be making photos of partially cropped cars parked in suburban neighborhoods. It is not that I’m eagerly exploring new conceptual terrain in this theme. It’s just that it’s so easy to do. Old cars basically make the shot on their own, making my job easy. And there are so many of them around here that I can’t go a day without passing at least one or two worthy subjects. For the time being, I suppose I’ll keep going, as long as I don’t get into any fights in the process. If only I could turn a couple upside down and see the underside…