Threads and themes

Sometimes as we work, and an oeuvre develops, new pieces become informed by old work. In fact, one can argue that a viewer with previous knowledge of an artist's body of work enters an exhibition with an upper-hand on the layman, able to fully appreciate the content. I fully subscribe to this notion. But I think there is something truly incredible about an artist being able to discover new things about their own work, and consequently THEMSELVES, by comparing new work to old, and finding threads.

This happened to me recently. I created a piece responding to a period of time in my life (A particularly calamitous one, actually) and when I stepped back to look at the finished work I was surprised. One- it was a sculpture, which is a medium I am uncomfortable with, and yet can't help but experiment with. But second- there was something there. Something familiar. Upon deeper review and trying to look at the piece objectively, I realized that within this work were aesthetic and conceptual elements I utilize in my regular series of paintings I create. Why is this? How does this happen? Is it a specific way of thinking, or is an individual's artistic journey just us sort of stumbling toward a destination, armed with nothing but technical skill and a backpack full of memory and personality traits that we impart onto everything we touch? 

I didn't document the sculpture well, but it reminded me very directly of one of the paintings I will be including in this emerging artist grant show-

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"The Voyager"

2017

Oil on canvas

 

I have found in myself and my work a fascination with artificially composed and regulated realities, whether they are composed in- or externally. In the piece above I added these themes consciously, but in other works, the ideas crept in organically, which I think is even more interesting. Obviously, when I render these things with purpose, it is a critique, but how can I label it if the inclusion is something I only notice post-production? This is a question I honestly can not answer right now, and im glad that I can't. Because what is art without self-discovery? What is art without a question at its foundation?