For the past month or so I have been working on a number of projects. Too many projects. Not sure if I can keep up but I am putting in a good effort. On Saturday, I installed about a dozen prints for the exhibition Wooden Dialogues at Wheelock College (a two-person show including myself and another Arlington artist, Gloria Calderon-Saenz). I finally finished the last print on Friday. My work is so reactionary, involving multiple layers, processes and materials. Often these materials are found; sometimes the materials I have don’t exactly fit the vision of a specific print and I have to wait… and wait for something to come along that strikes me. Until then, a print can sit unfinished for months while I move on to other prints.
Above are images of prints in thier unfinished state on the wall of my studio in Somerville, and my work table covered with stencils. For me, there is no such thing as completion; I save my blocks and materials and continue to work with particular images or revisit images in different ways. My newest dilemma is whether or not I can UNfinish a print. After the print has been signed, imaged, and even shown in an exhibit, can I then later decide that it needs “something” and continue to work on it? I think so. After all, John Singer Sargent changed Madam X after exhibiting it in a salon show and getting flack for depicting her with the diamond studded strap of her dress falling off her shoulder; he then went back and repainted the strap in its “proper” place. Though his changing of the painting was more a response to societal pressure, I do think it was a good move; a fallen strap gives away too much and makes her sex appeal too obvious. With the strap in tact, her allure is in what is not seen and what is held back through her composure, elegant profile, and the subtle way in which her fingers lightly caress the table top.
The prints I want to change are too obvious, too literal. They are on exhibit now at Wheelock… but I want to wait to have more discussion about them or even announcing on this blog which prints I am considering re-working.