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Carolines “mess”: In class exercise 1

The point of my request for you to make a mess on this drawing is to deflect you from trying to create a precious and perfect artwork. The truth is, there is work and mess that goes into art. The particulars of the mess are what makes the drawing interesting! Like when you tell me gossip, I want to hear all the details, not just the end facts. The precious and perfect part comes at the very end in the PRESENTation the work. If you don’t divorce these two categories: making and presenting, you bind yourself with judging a work that hasn’t had a chance to develop. My intention is to free you from the constraints of preconceptions about how to make a “good” picture. (Never “should” on yourself, as my brother’s acting teacher said) In fact, remove the idea of having to be “good”  altogether. It doesn’t help you take the risks you need to take to learn, and it will ensure bad (or at least dull) work. I was interested that instructions to “make a mess” made some of you happy and comfortable and others  very uncomfortable! Which side do you fall on? Caroline made a beautiful drawing (above), but she doesn’t recognize it, and doesn’t want to own it! The line work and power of how authentically and accurately she engaged the act of observation brings the marks on this page to life. The integrity of the marks make this rewarding for me to look at. In her reflection

my perfectionism got the best of me and I was unable to complete half of the assignment. (from Caroline’s blog)

In my mind, this is a finished work, and very much a complete assignment! The “unfinished”-ness of the object cause me to focus on the mark-making (and not the chair) as the central “figure”  of the drawing. The marks do not disappoint–rigorous, and self confident, they stand on the page as a mysterious pointer that begs questions of the viewer instead of giving an answer.


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