Monday, March 12, 2007

Torn Apart

For a long time now, my past work has felt like an obstacle I had to eradicate from my path in order to find my way to the work I want to do in the future. The problem is, I've laboured hard to acquire the skills and process to create that work and it has been hard to let go of them and pursue new techniques, new ideas. It has also been hard to convince collectors, curators, and gallerists to follow me as I change direction: after all, the imagery I want to abandon – sexy female fantasy figures arranged within hard edged, glossy surfaces, as accessible and as easily 'read' as cartoons – is what drew them to me in the first place.
My new work is different. It's complicated and unsettling, as if I had ripped apart the colourful sheen of one of my old paintings and revealed the seething mess that really lies beneath. And it's not just confined to paint and carefully prepared timber boards: not only have I been learning to use pencil, crayon, ink, and watercolours on paper to create new textures and deeper layers of meaning, I have also been experimenting with clay, beading, shells, feathers, and other 'found objects' as well as Polaroid emulsions, 35mm film, mini-DV, text and even music.
Every so often, I've tried to go back to my old style, as I did yesterday – but it's no good. I enjoy it for a few hours, mainly because it feels easier and more familiar, then it begins to feel like a gilded cage. I become so anxious and claustrophobic that it makes me sick. I recover only when I destroy the work.


James Monet said...

Exploiting a new (or old, but just now realized) arena of creativity in our minds can be a fearful experience - especially when new forms and expressions tell each of us more about ourselves that we are prepared to accept - some good, others...just uncomfortable truths.

I like your blog. Good stuff.


Tracy said...

I am watching your transition with much interest Hazel. I will be in a similar situation one of these days when I switch to different subject matter. Not so sure the galleries will follow me!

Been a lurker for awhile now, by the way.

Tracy said...

I will be watching your transition with interest Hazel. Soon I'll be in a similar situation as I gradually switch to a different subject matter. Not so sure the galleries will follow me!

I have been a lurker here for awhile, by the way.