On Naming The Paintings
I tend to make visual art objects with no thought of what they are to be called.
A silent and wordless timelessness is at the heart of the visual arts. It can be hard to grasp for those who prefer the time-based arts which dominate our society. Looking at art (or seeing in general) can lead us away from words into timeless silence and meditation.
Most of us tend to spend our time in the medium of words. Even when we are alone we can be in the company of a constant, moving, internal monologue. To make a bridge from there to here (from chattering to silence, from talking to seeing, from conception to perception), names or titles and commentaries can sometimes be very helpful. They can act as signs and give direction.
Names for things, like names for people and ideas, give those who want to talk or think about them a handle to grip them by. And that is the purpose of these words. But they are easy to ignore if you just want to look.
As I write this I have just finished spending time thinking up titles for my paintings. I am naming them by the dozen. I find it an activity which is highly entertaining in the same way that sitting around talking with friends and a bottle of wine is highly entertaining. It is fun, with some laughs and high absurdity, some moments of serious reflection and a moment or two of poetry. But working with words is very different from the wordlessness of painting. Speaking is different from seeing.
Let's hope the names I have chosen have something to do with the art objects (because I know the naming has very little to do with making of the things themselves). Naming is a valid activity unto itself. So is talking about art. It should be engaging for the theorist, and it can be engaging for the viewer as well.
As usual, I have probably gone overboard naming these things. I have managed to restrict myself to just two titles for each painting, out of a possible baker's dozen. It is too late to do a complete editing job.
Whatever I call them now, I know from past experience that the paintings will acquire their own titles anyway. They are destined to be called names like "The little green one" or "The peg-board" or "The one like a violin".
You can call them what you like, but first look at them.
A Baker's Dozen of Day Olds
13 Small Solid Paintings
at the SPECTATOR GALLERY
Nov 1 - Dec 14, 1995