What Does it Mean?

Where does art come from and what does it mean?  There are millions of answers to that question – both of those questions.  I’ve been trying to define that for myself for quite some time.

IMG_6806It has been interesting to attend the artist salons that are a part of the Women Create project (click here for info).  For some, the idea comes first, then the artwork is an attempt to communicate the idea.  For others, the artwork is made – and then IT instructs the artist as to what it means.

I’ve used both approaches.  My wildflower series was intentional…  to capture the ephemeral beauty and vast diversity of life the forest floor offers in spring.  I’m still waiting for the wood series to tell me what it wants me to know.

Friends have been supportive, clicking “like” and leaving brief baffling comments about the work being good.  But why?  “What do you see that makes you say that?” I asked.  One thoughtful blog friend answered:

I like your recent work because it goes beyond obvious beauty and activity. Though you photograph the surface of trees, for example, the bark, there are bands of information in the colors, tiny holes, textures and multiple layers. The images tell stories and ask questions. They leave me wanting to know more. One image makes me think of how we pick up unintentional “staff” on life’s journey and these objects settle in and become a part of what we are. In another image, I see dried, curled up bark and I think of my son-in-law’s grandmother, standing staunch against her imminent death, still as a trunk. I am reminded of how that hard surface has stood strong through so many seasons.

Her answer resonates with me.  What do you see?

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