August 8, 2017

How The Hell To Write An Artist Statement

Artist statements: a never-ending battle!

I am continually rewriting and rewriting mine. So many subjective questions I don't know the answers to, like how casual, humorous or conventional to make it, how long, how short, how specific, how ambiguous, how poetic, existential, philosophical, art historical, how personal, how formal, do I give every detail away or leave them wanting more, etc. etc.

Of all the written advice I've read over the years on the topic, I do try to remember two things: to write it out the way I would describe it in person if someone were visiting my studio, and to describe the specific process but keep the reader wanting to actually see the work in person. 

Shouldn't be personable but not longwinded also be on that list? I don't even know anymore. I'll let you be the judge. Here is the statement that's currently on my website:

some artwork to reference while reading the description!
"Momento (ribbon)", 2017, oil on paper, 33.5 x 38 inches

My work is informed by both the inward and the outward, 
by things observed, and things that cannot be observed. 
By entangled forms found naturally or unnaturally
in the body, in nature, in everyday objects; and

equally by chance and feeling.



Process oriented and gestural, these abstractions entice 
the viewer's subjectivity, while allowing me the freedom to access 
a wider range of resources both physical and emotional.

And here is the newest statement I've written:

I start a painting or a series of paintings with a simple thought or inspiration. I don't usually sketch it out first. I prefer to tackle the canvas all at once and let the materials and process of painting dictate the direction. I work on up to five things at once. I'm an observer and am usually looking at something while I paint. I try to keep myself emotionally connected to the specific object or memory I begin with, but painting has a way of prescribing its own journey. Success would mean that I've allowed the painting to take me someplace unexpected while maintaining some hint of my original intention.
I'm interested in posing a question rather than an answer, and I prefer to evoke the feeling of a thing rather than make a statement about it. I'm interested in the process of making, in paint, color, line, handwork, women's work, repetition, knitting, sewing, braiding, rope making... entangled forms found naturally or unnaturally in the body, nature, or everyday objects; and equally in chance and feeling.
My work is about connections; the intertwining and overlapping of the physical, spiritual, metaphorical. The connection of shapes and color, form to form, body to body, mind to mind.

4 comments:

Suzanne Dell'Orto said...

I'd shorten this and get right to the point. (Help with all the semi colons, ellipses, and dashes would help me, though!)

My artwork is about connections; the intertwining and overlapping of the physical, spiritual, metaphorical...entangled forms found in the body, nature, and everyday objects, and in chance and feeling. My paintings are a connection of shapes and color, form to form, body to body, mind to mind, and a meditation on the process of making--in paint, color, line, handwork, women's work, repetition, knitting, sewing, braiding, rope making.

Hot Buttered Media said...

I'd like this line as a lead:

" I prefer to tackle the canvas all at once and let the materials and process of painting dictate the direction."

Michael Kriegh said...

I prefer the one you have to the new one, which seems a little long. MTC

Samantha Palmeri said...

I love feedback!! thank you! I'm pretty sure I knew it was way too long but I was going with that whole pretending to have a conversation about it thing.. Perhaps if I do a PechaKucha one of these days those can be my notes!