This post is an example of it’s own point about how art is changed by frequency, constant inflow, and connectivity. I’m putting this blog post out before the ink dries, without fact checking, thoughts still unresolved. I’ve that itch that says I didn’t finish getting the gunk out of the wrinkles in my own ideas. But I’m publishing it anyway, for all to see. Gulp.
As I understand it (and I am often wrong), in previous generations, professional artists would typically have one big solo show every two years. They’d retreat unreachable for months, wander their own minds, experiment, develop, evaluate, finalize, and then emerge with a complete new body of momentous and influential work for the gallery. Now professional artists show several times a year, and in multiple locations. The retreats are brief pockets of time, and marketing clicks through the studio windows constantly. Work is posted as it’s made so viewers are in constant contact, and conversations with the outside world start while the creative process is still happening, so sometimes we don’t know the conclusions of our own sentences when we start them, and recorded moments are smaller, intimate, imperfect, and immediate. This a rhythm more set up for skittlebugs than deep sea divers.
One of the more pleasant and very active not-dead Seattle artists is Dawn Endean. I saw her show invitation for September, and noticed the inspiration for this series was the rain. What did she focus this body of work on? It was raining, raining record amounts, constant inflow of that water stuff, and in her mind were lifeboats.
“My thoughts in working on the Deluge show began with the rain and then ran to climate change and finally the myth, common among many different cultures, of the cleansing flood that wipes out most of humanity in order to start fresh. Apocalyptic, but in a good way!” – Endean
The muse was the moment. She found something to talk about, applied her voice to it, and held that song sincerely within choir of other voices and ideas. Maybe I should call these artists songbirds, not skittlebugs.
(This is only a small section of the work. Go see the show.)
Endean talks about her process:
Working in my studio this past winter, during a season that would turn out to be one of the rainiest on record, I found myself consistently drawing images of water, empty lifeboats and battered and roofless structures. I revisited the stories of Noah and Gilgamesh and discovered that the flood story is present in cultures as diverse as the Judeo-Christian; ancient Greek; Mesopotamian; Hindu and Mayan. In the context of the current climate change crisis these stories take on new resonance.
I utilize a combination of printing techniques. My current work makes extensive use of collograph plates, which have been cut to shape and built up with layers of shellac that are incised and sanded, then printed in the intaglio method. Drypoint on acetate, lithography and physical manipulation of the paper surface are used to create texture and transparent layers of imagery.