Earlier this year one of my artist bosses gifted me 15 squares of rag mat board that were leftover from a framing job she’d done, and I used them to create the start of a new body of work that isn’t quite finished but was enough of a departure from the work I was doing a year prior that bares notice.
The last time I sat down to work on a “new” body of work was March of this year. I felt like these objects represent more or less a holding place between the art I was making before I graduated college and the art I would like to start making in the near future. Both those kinds of work involve stretched canvases or prepared surfaces, brushes, photographic references – all things I don’t give myself enough time to do anymore. So it was interesting to spend some time with a medium that didn’t require me to spend as much time preparing for the art as I do making the art. Furthermore it was really interesting to buckle down on the basics (or as “basics” as color and amorphous shapes can get) and to spend less time worrying about subject matter and to allow myself to explore pretty plainly the relationship of color and medium.
Interestingly enough the work I’m attempting to create with these 15 squares (7 of my favorite pictured) reminds me a lot their art I help my artist bosses create, proof I think that my practice can be very influenced by the people around me and that I haven’t yet found that Voice. Which is not to say I don’t think my work does not have an inherent language or that I don’t think I make consistent enough aesthetic choices that my work can’t be picked out in a crowd, but I believe I’m not done developing this muscle yet. I actually believe I have more of an aversion than a preference for making work that “looks like Juno made it,” this inadvertently means I’m leaning back on old ideas rather than pushing forward.
Thankfully this work feels a lot like me without directly looking like or referencing anything I’ve done previously, which feels really good. For the time I find a new direction to explore for a bit I try to commit as much as I can because I know I’ll eventually return to MY basics: squares, self-portraits, ridiculous collages, etc…
Nonetheless I think forcing myself to sit down and think about the composition of 15 separate objects in a short window of time is definitely an exercise I would not think twice about doing again. Hopefully I’ll return to these objects soon – maybe I’ll even sell them… wHO KNOWS? ■