23 July 2008

On Mark Making and Time

While stitching down this morning's piece, I started thinking about symbols and mark making. And I realized that what I wrote last night about one of my pieces doesn't accurately reflect my thoughts.
I don't know what to think about this piece. I like it. I mean, I look at it and it is pleasing to me. But I'm not sure that it speaks for me--at least the images and visions that I have in my mind now. I used to use flower/flame/teardrop shapes in my work a lot. This reminds me of then. Now my visions are of geology and stones, of geometry and angles, of hard edges and permanence. This looks organic and transitory. It doesn't feel like the stories I want to tell.
Those two words--permanence and transitory--aren't exactly what I mean. But I only realized it this morning.

I'm fascinated by human mark making of all kinds: language symbols, monument building, art, architecture, stone carvings, graphic design, graffiti, and the artifacts and remnants of human industry. We are compelled to make changes in the landscape and environment around us, whether we are building a skyscraper, making circles of stones at the beach, or spray-painting our tags on subway trains.

It's the mark making that compels me, not whether the marks themselves are permanent or transitory. The idea that any mark we make is permanent is an illusion. Even prehistoric stone monuments like Stonehenge have survived only due to preservation efforts. Time erases everything.

So, my problem with that piece is not that it looks transitory, but that it is organic. It looks plant-like, as if it has grown out of the landscape, rather than intentionally created by human hands.

Don't get me wrong, nature is undoubtedly beautiful and awe-inspiring and a worthy subject for a lifetime of artistic exploration. But at this point I'm interested in exploring the many and varied ways that we humans leave our temporary marks on our world.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very touching... Brought me to tears... Makes me wonder about the mark I'm leaving in the world.