Saturday, January 26, 2013

Reality Check

"One should be more concerned with the painting and what it needs than with reality. One needs to edit, design and arrange reality to make it into a painting. It's more important to mix colors to create a beautiful harmony in the painting than it is to match exactly the local color of a shirt."

Ilaria Rosselli Del Turco - The Artist's Magazine November 2011
I admit to falling prey to the pitfall of rendering too literally from reference material, but at least now I more often recognize the behavior earlier on in the design process. Still, there's a great temptation to think if that is what one is seeing in nature, or on the street or wherever the inspiration is coming from, then it must be right. We must always be open to "arranging reality."

I was reminded of this recently when viewing a rather spectacular piece which had an element that didn't feel quite right. I wondered if the artist deliberately chose the placement and color of that element or if it was simply true to reality. Maybe it would not have bothered someone else, but the fact that I was questioning it made me think perhaps it was a misstep of matching.

This fear of being too literal is holding me up a bit at the moment. I have several photographs taken in Rochester that I want to work with. Because I was there, saw everything beyond the edge of the photograph, I know there is a danger of a certain understanding of the image that would not carry over, might produce some head scratching. There's also the danger that I will convince myself, consciously or subconsciously, that the photo is the perfect composition, thus should not even be cropped let alone edited. I mustn't become so attached to the image and experience that I am unwilling to see any weakness that might arise during the transfer from reality to fabric. In fact, I'd be willing to say one needs to edit, design and arrange reality to make it better than reality. The only question is, am I up to the task?

A reality that needs rearranging.


Connie Rose said...

You can think it of as creative (or poetic) license. Do what feels and looks right to you. Undoubtedly that's what the artist did who's work you pondered -- or else he/she consciously threw in an element that was out of context JUST SO it would make the viewer question reality. We create our own reality, in reality, so who says a piece of art needs to conform to the visual image at all? I'm soon to be working on a challenge quilt that I've decided will be a conflation of several photos, so that the finished piece conveys the feeling of the scene instead of the absolute visual truth at any point in time.
I love how you think about these deep issues. Have a great weekend!

The Idaho Beauty said...

Your challenge idea is the sort of thing I've been pondering, the sort of thing you do so well. Gotta come up with a concept, not just photos to reproduce! Invite the viewer to experience, not tell the viewer WHAT to experience.

I love that you love my love affair with deep thinking and I appreciate your responses!