Artist of unconscious influence
I am a self taught artist in the most practical terms. I'm the first to admit I don't even know what I don't know. My art history knowledge is spotty at best and I kind of like it that way. There is always an excitement upon discovery, an innocent surprise at the serendipity, when what I need to know crosses what I didn't know I knew, or needed.
It is usually a crumb of an idea, a curiosity about a word I have never heard before, used in an art context (or not) that intrigues me, urging me to dig deeper. I research what I want or need to know, see where that takes me and repeat. A crude, slow and cumbersome process, but it works for me.
So, today, while looking up 'Arte Povera', words used for an art request in a new CFE, or a "Call For Entry," ( and yes, I didn't know that abbreviation at one time either) I stumbled upon this photo of Lynda Benglis Quartered Meteor 1969, cast 1975.
I just froze in awe. I was looking at the ghost of my ceramic corner sculpture "Remember Me."
A rush of excitement, curiosity, and goose bumps washed over me. I always wondered why this shape felt so comforting. I never found this image before making my 40", 13 piece ceramic sculpture. It wasn't even in my current circle of influence. Before I was ever knee deep in clay, I mined the internet for photos of beanbag chairs, corduroy textures, snow angels and elephant toys.
Gina M Remember Me - 2016
Lynda Benglis Quartered Meteor 1969, cast 1975.
After seeing this photo today I rushed down a rabbit hole of reading, digging and researching about where this image could be buried in my subconscious. Did I see it as a child in the 1970's? My family didn't make trips for art, so it must have been on a school field trip to MOCA or LACMA?
In my random research, finding out if and when this Meteor made it to So Cal, I discovered an article, Lynda Benglis - Figures, by Alma Ruiz and Patrick Steffen that mentioned a MOCA 2011 exhibit from the 31st of July through Oct 10, 2011. Was I there? I can't recall. There are no visceral memories of this piece or any others from this show. Seeing them now I can relate on so many levels, but not as a past glowing conscious moment of "this is making an impression on me, make note to self" memory.
I noticed a pattern here and remembered going down this sort of hole before.
My piece, Hanging Bare, a toddler sized ceramic sculpture dangling from a ribbon on a wall is a distorted childhood memory of a Goya etching. The sculpture started years later after seeing the etching again in the book, The Disasters of War; Tampoco, where a smiling French soldier, watches a hanged man dying in front of him. I always remembered it as a man at a picnic where toy bears hung in trees. That inconsistency forced me to create my childhood perception as interpreted through adult eyes, emotions and experiences.
For me, this is how and why I make art, discovering and recording the unconscious imprinting of my past as it oozes out onto my present. No matter if it's a past memory that mimics a current emotion or a situation today that follows a fear from my past, I will welcome all future ooze.
Remember Me is on view July 8, 2017 - August 5, 2017
in the exhibit Fresh 2017
at SBC: SOLA Gallery3718 West Slauson Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90043