Some of the critical feedback from the January Seminar.
Because I wasn’t technically being assessed, just re-entering the program, it was less of an assessment situation and more a kind of question and answer to find out where I might be headed this year.
The main thing that I walked away with and have been thinking about over the last week is that I need to have a really clear position in relation to this work. I need to know exactly where I stand in relation to it and what I want the work to do, what I want to get out of it and what I want the viewer to do with it.
If I deal with it in a hard-nosed kind of way, it may be undermined if I include any of the more spiritual elements. I was cautioned that the spiritual or spiritualism is being, and has been dealt with by a large field of artists and that to wade into that discussion I will really need to be knowledgeable of my position in relation to all those other conversations. I need to commit to the subject in one way or another, trying to mix the two may be too confusing and each may cancel the other out.
The crystal gazing, may be an aesthetic distraction, and to an extent, they were like that for me even when I was in the space taking photos for the records, I spent a large amount of time photographing the crystals and holding them up to the light from the windows to play with the colours.
As pretty as these are I need to be careful that my work does not become cliché, or ‘aesthetic clap-trap’.
There may be more value in being more earnest about this journey, perhaps not in an autobiographical way but keeping it a little more personal. Anders said that when you open up some of the moments from your own life, you give the viewers a chance to bring their own stories to it. So it becomes fiction and non-fiction at the same time. The trick (or lack of them) may be in keeping the personal far enough away that the work is still open while letting the viewer experience the real.
Note: This blog is part of a series of blogs I am writing this week where I am reflecting on the Jan Seminar, then working backwards in time through my work to re-look and re-think about them. I’m looking for strengths and weaknesses. So… one blog a day for a week. Don’t worry, there won’t always be this many!!!)