lately, i’ve been a bit stuck in a creative rut (ok, since this past fall). it isn’t that i haven’t been thinking about what to post or write about, it’s that i can’t bring myself to do it. the mental block lies somewhere north of agitation and somewhere south of irritation.
by agitation, i mean that when i do take the time to scan the blogs and news articles for interesting tidbits, exhibits, and artist news, i haven’t been finding anything that engages me in a meaningful way. i’m a blank. the last artist i found genuinely compelling was JR. his portraits are total immersion and yet they’re actually just magnifications of a detail – the de-anonymizing and simultaneous humanizing of people (especially women) within the context of their communities.
i’m reading the painted face: portraits of women in france 1814 – 1914, this book delves into the subject-context relationship. that is, “the mutual dependency, of the subjects and objects”, that a subject becomes more meaningful by virtue of his or her the relationship to the other objects within the portrait. a man with his book, a woman and her mirror, that vase…
if i may lift and reapply this idea more liberally — what I find especially compelling about JR’s portrait is the very fact that it is “exhibited” in the very community it is derived from. a gallery exhibit would to me, drain the portraits of their power by severing their connection “home“.
ironically given his massive scale portraits, JR is actually semi-anonymous. but that just makes me appreciate his work more, that there is no inherent need for attention to the artist. he doesn’t do this for the recognition, he does it because he is compelled to do so. because what he does is more important than who he is. or so i’d like to believe.