Thursday, January 31, 2008
30/366: Watching the World
Checking out the scene on the street below my studio window yesterday afternoon. I like to take breaks here and there to watch people walking by and observe the patterns and interactions of pedestrians, bicyclists, cars, trucks and buses.
I'm beginning to make some headway with new work and returning to a regular studio schedule. So far, It's been for what I call quick bursts of three-four hour sessions in the afternoons. It's good and has kept me from over-thinking what I'm doing too much. At this point, I just need to paint and not worry too much about the results. That's what works best for me when I come back from an extended break (late November through December). I try to not let that much time pass without doing much painting, but around the holidays it's really difficult to keep up my momentum. Unless I have something pressing coming up after the beginning of the new year, like a big show or I have to finish a piece for commission, then December is pretty much a wash-out, creatively.
The break was needed. With having had two big solo shows last year, it's been difficult to jump right back into things. I feel like I reached a point with the painitngs where a shift needed to occur, but how much of one and how to get there? I need to change things up, even if it's not necessarily a noticable one that others will pick up on right away. The thing is, the changes I make usually wind up being bigger than I imagine them to be as I move along with paintings and that's fine as long as I feel like I'm challenging myself and maintaining the integrity of the work I produce.
Anyway, yesterday went well. After getting a few works on panel going I came home, changed and headed out to see a small exhibition curated by a friend of mine, Rebecca Saylor Sack at the University of the Arts, called, Erratic, which features the work of Christopher Davison, Nick Lenker, and Caroline Santa. It's a concentrated show of works that all seem to deal with anxieties of identity and life at a point of intense change in the world and our country, in particular.
I'm trying to get out more often to see what's going on around the city. The art scene has changed a lot in Philly over the past few years and is moving on at full steam. The more challenging work is now being exhibited in spaces that are removed from the more established Old City galleries. It takes some planning these days if you really want to catch a show while it's up. New spaces are popping up in areas that are being gentrified, thus making it a little easier to open and maintain low-cost spaces. Of course, the issues associated with said gentrification (displacement of long-time residents, vastly increased housing costs, etc...) are ever present but an ongoing part of evolving urban life.