Through Concentrated Breath

making images from memory

When Style Fails to Make an Appearance

30 April 2017 by Rey Armenteros

When making art, we seldom think about the things that drive us to make the work in the first place. It is something I have noted over the years. Some artists are trying to get their ideas out, putting together things that they would like to see come to life, like large projects that take whatever it takes to make it happen. Others are devoted to a process, the repetition of certain rituals, the likelihood of saying the same things over and over, and I am thinking of painters that paint the same things with little variation. And others are driven by experimentation and what results you could get when you put these several things together in this new or peculiar way.

Related to experimentation is the dynamic of performing a feat, which brings in a win or lose dynamic. If the results don’t work the way you had hypothesized, it may have proved to be a waste of time. This means your performance has a chance of not obtaining satisfactory results, and maybe this is the one drive that encapsulates them all because anything could happen.

I don’t know; these are just words, and without going into extensive detail they might fail in capturing the subtle shifts in the way we go about work.

When I was making my paintings for Memories from a Radio, you could say that I was using every drive I could, and the results were a miscellany of different outcomes and styles. One drawback to being so eclectic with your art approach is that the viewer might not recognize a style. Since their may be few patterns in your work, it will appear to lack cohesion.

When things got sporadic in Memories from a Radio, the only connection I had to avoid a disjointed body of work was the Tarot card iconography of frames and symbols, and I could never be sure to what degree this was able to tie everything together.

In a sense, I was pursuing a feat whose results were variegated because it depends on the perspective of each viewer. Even with the Tarot motif, I still had viewers approach me at shows asking why it was I would diverge so dramatically between paintings.

And as much as this sounds like a cop out, I never had a clear answer for such questions.

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