Thursday, May 23, 2013

Subject Matter

Road Runner
Jo Reimer
6" x 6"
Collage on canvas board
I've been thinking about non-representational and abstract art where the underlying design has no subject other than the design elements of the painting or collage. I like to work this way because of my design background and love of color, but when there's nothing else going for it, when there's no focal point - center of interest - subject matter, it's difficult for the observer or customer to relate to the work.

I remember standing behind two women at my first solo show years ago when I worked in embroidery. They were carefully observing a piece that I was quite fond of but which wasn't easy to define without an explanation. One said to the other, "It's really nice, but what the hell is it?"

Good question. One I need to ask myself more often. What IS this piece about?

Take the collage above, Road Runner.  I made the piece yesterday and liked where it was going, with the sky blue background, the map bits, and the orange stripes which indicate tracks in a red dirt road, but what is it about?  It's certainly not finished. So this morning I started asking questions: who's on the road? What do I hear? What do I see when I'm out in blue sky country (Oklahoma in this case)? Birds, of course.  The subject quickly became clear and I found a stencil from Diane Ericson which worked perfectly.  The working title for a few minutes was Bird on Blue but as I was typing this post it came to me that Road Runner was much more to the point.

And the collage now has a focus, a story, a subject, a name... and it's finished.  Now it needs a buyer.  It can be yours for $50 postpaid.

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