10/20/2004: "Paintings Versus Photography"
Last night I gave my friend Thomas (an Ed professor who is also an artist) a ride home from the University and I told him about the predicament that I'm in for this next show. Thomas went to my last opening and although he didn't *hate* the work (at least he wouldn't openly admit that to my face), he's not that fond of representational work. Plus he's a fairly tough critic in general. Going to an art opening with him amounts to this: piece #1 "sucks" piece #2. "hate it" piece #3. "derivative" piece #4. "put this guy out of his misery" etc. He usually goes into more depth as to why everything makes him feel sick to his stomach but still...
That's why it nearly floored me when he started ooohing and ahhing over my low tide i.e. "Alluvial Flow" series. He probably likes them because they are more abstract. The problem is that this series is still, for the most part, in the study phase. I only have 2 actual full sized paintings in the works. He doesn't like the digitally manipulated photos I've been working on and thinks that if I work in a series, ie. add the texture layer for 8 or 9 canvases all at once, then I should be able to do the washes in time for the December opening.
The thing is, I can't do both. I can't start 8 new paintings and mess about with printing and framing all those small photographs. It's not like I'm making this decision because a friend told me too, I'm not that spineless... it's just that a part of me sort of agrees with him...that the tide paintings would ultimately be more interesting. I'm just not sure I can pull it off. The clock is really ticking on this one and I'm going to be out of town a lot in the next several weeks. I'd hate to rush the tidal paintings and have them turn out mediocre. Also...the lighting in the space I'm displaying at isn't ideal...and for the tide paintings, I think the lighting will be crucial.
Any thoughts out there?