Sunday, September 18, 2011

Regarding Size

A lot of artists are prodded to work larger and I have been questioned in this regard on numerous occasions. I've even written about the bias here on my blog before. But a fellow artist voiced something to me at an art fair this weekend that caught me off guard because I'd never perceived of it that way before: that she felt a need to work larger in order to legitimize her work.

I really didn't know how to respond to this. I still don't. I just can't relate. I've never bought into the "bigger is better" argument that so many artists seem to. All too often it seems that size can become a way of compensating for or hiding from shortcomings, as if some artists think to themselves that they can make up for what they lack in vision or technical ability by working bigger or hide from it by working smaller.

I suppose I understand the uncertainty and desire to legitimize one's work, but I just don't correlate that with size. I see legitimacy more as coming from response and/or pushing boundaries: winning an award, showing in more prestigious or varied settings, selling an artwork, receiving a grant or residency, developing a strong & cohesive body of work, developing a new technique, taking or teaching a workshop or class, experimenting & growing as an artist... In my mind all of those things serve to legitimize and assert oneself as an artist more than working larger simply for its own sake.

I find it personally better not to question legitimacy in the first place. I guess maybe I'm just more confident in my art than some. I try not to question the integrity of what I do; I just seek to create is all. Sometimes the results are better than others but all of it is a learning experience, good or bad.

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