Silence and Noise

Posted by Jennifer Morrison

Silence and Noise

Though clay may be moulded into a vase, the utility of the vase lies in what is not there Lao Tzu

Ive been thinking about belonging to a group. As I place the full stop to that sentence I sense a vague coldness midway between my shoulder blades. Buffalo storm across an open landscape. People with blue scarves and blue shirts sit opposite those wearing red and white. Badges, flags, songs, foods. Is your earing in the left or right ear? Which box did you tick?

And so 8 modern.. A bunch of artists who share. Can artists share ? What do we share? The psychoanalyst, Gregorio Kohon says that in creativity there is no sharing and that the sharing with others takes place at the level of narcissistic gratification which is not the motivation for creating. When I am making a painting I exchange my thoughts (mostly unconscious) with the canvas and the painting reacts. It pushes and pulls. Its all worked out in the making. The act is everything. And shadowing all these changes is the possibility that a decision may be fatal. To change is to risk. It can destroy. It can end in failure. It can end in death. In art making destruction has to be toyed with.

For me, I prefer to stick to a few materials. Oil paint, enamels and canvas. The choices, by logical inversion , are more vast when the raw materials are more restricted. Somehow the potential is greater but it is also more daunting. I work alone in my studio, with or without music.

But I am a member of a group. This group called 8 modern. It began haphazardly and evolved haphazardly. It still is haphazard. Artists are not very good in groups. Perhaps our creative worlds cannot so easily be mixed. Maybe what we are doing is simply exploring why it is impossible to make one work by eight artists. We have found that it became a natural course to split into sub groups in order to make or create anything at all. The task of creating a single object involving all of us, notwithstanding the practical problems, appears enormous if not insurmountable.

Any why not? How could it be otherwise? When I make a work a dual relationship is going on between myself and the work. I choose particular materials. This is complex. Now take eight artists each in a relationship with a single work. The materials to be used are infinite. Those eight artists each have a relationship to the other seven members. They also have a relationship with the seven other members relationship to the work. And, all the while the work is talking back. It begs for attention. It screams and then gives up and goes blank. It waits in silence for something to happen. Now is this chaos or complexity?

The mind develops asymmetrically. It moves forward and regresses and moves forward. And regresses. To create, order and disorder are needed. This group I find myself in is a challenge, an exploration, and experiment. The sharing is there, but I think it suffers from too many minds and an infinite choice of materials. Come to think of it, is that not our common condition ? That weekend of escape is planned months ahead where the choices are limited. The noise is turned down. Space is given to what has been hidden. Something creative might emerge.

May 1st, 2004 | Residents, General, Reading Room, Jennifer Morrison

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