BETWEEN YOU AND ME: An artist’s confession

"What we see depends mainly on what we look for”
– D.W. Winnicott

"Hide and Seek" - N. Doany © 2007
(This post by Neda)
I am almost never at a loss for words, except in two particular situations. One is a daily occurrence: “What’s for dinner, Mom?” with the customary answer “I don’t know,” and the other is a little bit more problematic: “What does your art mean?.” Although I may have another answer to the former (“take-out”), the latter always puzzles me.

Is art an expression of our inner psyche? An expression of our feelings or a reflection of our environment? An abstract thought or just a reaction to some stimulus? A message to the world? An aesthetic exercise? DOES one’s art mean anything?

At first, the artist might say: “yes, my art means something to me.” The tricky part comes when someone asks you - the artist -what it means.
If you are like me, you might not think much when you are moved by the urge to create. I often start a piece without having any clue whatsoever where I will be going with it. Only when I am “finished” with my artwork, do I begin to grasp what it means to me. Consider the collage above, do you really need to know the “meaning” of it to appreciate it or dislike it? Will it help you “understand” it better if I called it “Hide and Seek?”

So here’s my answer to the often-heard question,“what does it mean?”: “What do you see?”

The self-contained idiosyncratic image in the artwork that I am sharing with you, the viewer, is like an opening sentence in a casual conversation. What I mean by it has no immediate relevance to your response to it. It is true, I did create the collage - but it is you who will find your own interpretation of “what” it is about. The meaning of any art piece comes to life through the person who is experiencing it at that precise moment: you.

1 comment:

I-ISM Magazine said...

I love this painting, I think The title helps direct me to a hand full of possibilities.
with out the title i would have thought she was crying or upset,
so you could say the picture has endless possibilities, as well as a blank canvas.
but you didn't leave the canvas blank, you chose to paint something, and so I am interested in the painting as well as the artist. which leads me to the artist's point of view, and the title helps.