Sunday, March 18, 2012

IN THE NEWS- Jeff Depner

New work by Jeff Depner will be featured at Parts Gallery later this year!
Meanwhile, here is a nice interview he gave to the invariably cool blog Little Paper Planes.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Some Quick Notes on Artists' Statements

A friend from the University at Albany sent this to me after a discussion about the torture most artists go through trying to put together an "artists statement". I thought I'd share some excellent pointers from writer, educator and art-star Nayland Blake.

1. Tell the truth. Describe your work, and your life as it is, not as
you think someone wants to hear it to be. Don’t anticipate your
reader’s biases.

2. Write often. Get into the habit of writing about what you do on a
regular basis. It will give you much more material to pick from when
the time comes for you to make a formal statement.

3. Rewrite often. *It’s much easier to edit and rewrite an existing
piece than it is to generate something new on deadline. Revising
allows you to sharpen ideas and cut out redundancies. Allow yourself
to make messy first drafts and then go back into them.

4. Use specific examples. Watch out for generalities about your work.
If you want to make a point about how an idea functions for you, show
how it functions in a specific piece. Don’t feel like what you have to
say has to be equally true of everything you make. Practice describing
pieces as if your audience was sightless.

5. Use history sparingly. Don’t assume that everyone will know what
you mean when you refer to the work of other artists or artistic
movements: their ideas my well be antithetical to yours and your point
may be lost.

6. Big words do not make your work look better, or make it any more

7. Phrases to watch out for:
a. “As a ” often used to sneak in biographical information and as
justification for the work, i.e.: “As a veteran my work is concerned
with the ideologies of bodily distress",
“as a volcano survivor I want my pieces to have a certain vibrancy".
Find another way to tell people who you are and why you do what you do.
b. “The viewer is invited ” or any of its variations. Often folks use
this to try to force people into a specific experience of the work. It
begs the questions How and Why is the viewer invited.
c. “Interest, interesting, interests ” Try writing about your
enthusiasms rather than your interests.
d. “The body ” Resist the temptation to make an idea sound more
theoretical by sticking the word “the” in front of it. Always ask
yourself “which body, or whose body.”

8. Finally, imagine that you are writing in sand, not carving in
stone. Your artist's statement is not a contract made for all
eternity: it is a snapshot of your thinking about your practice at a
specific moment.

Nayland Blake

*Remember that your statement is not a "piece"--it is a statement. If you have to write a statement to contextualize your statement, you've fucked up.