Pearls from artists* # 551
*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
A creative process is a philosophical search, shaped by matters of practice and procedure that extend from the first touch of the artist’s pencil, brush, or chisel to the final decisions about what constitutes completeness.
Stylistic particularism – the decision as to what kind of abstract or representational artist you’re going to be – shapes, deepens, and extends the artist’s imaginative powers. Most artists who work for many years see their style evolve, sometimes dramatically. In the 1930s and 1940s Giacometti, who had first been admired for Surrealist sculptures in which representational elements are set in essentially abstract structures, found himself increasingly focused on the direct observation of the human figure. What by the mid-1940s could look like a wholesale transformation of his artistic language was the result of individual decisions all of which, during Giacometti’s career of nearly five decades, interlocked. They reinforced one another. They added up.
Between Abstraction and Representation by Jed Perl in The New York Review of Books, November 24, 2022
Comments are welcome!
Q: Would you speak about someone who made a difference in your professional life?
A: The first person who comes to mind is my favorite aunt, Teddie. In 1997 she was headed to northern California to attend a three-year-plus silent Tibetan Buddhist retreat at her teacher’s center. Teddie offered me her West 13th Street 6th-floor walkup apartment to live in while she was away. At the time I was based in Alexandria, VA and had just had my first solo exhibition at an important West 57th Street gallery, Brewster Fine Arts. I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the limited Washington, DC art scene, had outgrown everything it had to offer, and felt New York pulling me towards new and exciting professional adventures.
Teddie, recognizing my talent and ambition, made it possible for me to afford to move to New York. She had practiced Tibetan Buddhism for 35 years and was soon to become a Buddhist lama. She had an extraordinary mind and thought deeply about life. We used to talk for hours. Teddie was 7 years older and seemed more like a sister than an aunt. Indeed, she was my first soul mate. (I have been extremely fortunate to have had two such relationships in my life. The other was my late husband, Bryan).
Unfortunately, dear Aunt Teddie died at the age of 67 of breast cancer. Recently, on September 25 I honored her life in a short ceremony on a mountain cliff in Leh, Ladakh (India). A Tibetan Buddhist monk recited prayers as he placed her ashes among the rocks.
Comments are welcome!