Monday, September 27, 2010

"Purple" by N, Seattle. Mixed media on scrap.

The biggest formula for art is that there is no formula for art. There is no guidebook for inspiration, no paint by numbers for budding Mondrians. But there are notions. The notion that a work of art should ask something of a viewer – perhaps to re-examine, look deeper, reflect or even project; the notion that the work is born from a point of view; a kernel of communication no matter how blunt or obscure, nor base or garish in execution; and the notion of necessity – the feeling (not verified but deeply felt) that the artist had very little choice but to create the piece. There are notions, and then there is N. Her recent piece, aptly and unimaginatively titled “Purple” is a study in meandering, disconnected thought and shatters every notion of what art should and should not say or do. Too staged to be symbolism, too obscure to be remotely realist, “Purple” is simply play on paper. There are those who will say that play is paramount for art, yet I don’t believe Vinnie was simply “having a laugh” when he sliced off an ear. It takes suffering, people, not crayons. The Stormtrooper wearing the child’s backpack in the lower left, however, is a nice touch and leaves us with a trace of promise.