A couple of weeks ago I was minding my own business, driving out to hike in the Catoctin Mountains in northern Maryland (think Camp David) I drove along, wondering if it would stay cool (it didn’t) or low humidity (ditto). Maryland farmland is very beautiful. Gentle hills, flat pastures, beautiful old barns. At one point I saw something in the distance that looked out of place. I couldn’t quite place what it was though. It was too small for a silo, too big and shiny for farm machinery. I couldn’t resist taking a picture of it, but it wasn’t until I got closer that I started to understand what it was. I say started because I’m still not sure, even after spending some time looking at it.
I salute the creativity and the perseverance that would lead someone to plunk these down in the field. This person obviously has a passion for large mechanical-looking objects, and the resources to create them. He/she also has the need to shout out to the world. Nothin’ wrong with that. So does Richard Serra, who I talked about in my last post. This sculpture is in the middle of nowhere and because of this, it stands out. While the traffic on this road is minimal, it would be hard to miss this creation.
I’m currently debating how much I need to shout to the world or whether I just want to keep up a constant chatter, make sculptures that are wonderful but may not get the “WOW!” factor. A giraffe gets the “WOW!” factor, but it is costly, in time, money and personal energy. At this point in my life, I am having to decide how much I want to do by myself and how much I let someone else do for me. I know I CAN make another large-scale structure, it’s a matter of if I WANT to.
I recently read an interview with an artist named Peter Downsbrough in Sculpture Magazine. He was talking about how he constructs his word/line sculptures. At the end of the statement he said:
Things don’t need to be big. Giacometti’s figures may not be big, but they certainly take their place. There’s also Medado Rosso, who made very small sculptures. An artwork does not need to be big to be consequential.
(Sculpture, Vol. 32, No. 8, October 21013, pg.42)
This really spoke to me. I think it’s time to scale down my work. Not permanently, but just so that I can play. Of course, the problem with “WOW” is it is often followed up with “Do it again!”. I know that not everybody will understand my new smaller-scaler direction, but I’m good with that. If the sculptor of the very large mechanical beings listened to everybody, he/she would never have made that sculpture. Sometimes you have to stop listening for a while and just do what the Muse tells you to do. If that happens, it will be consequential no matter what the size.