Maybe I’m strange, but I do think a work of art has to be about something. The “something” doesn’t have to be a concrete object like a flower or a building or a boat, but could be about light, about layering on color after color (Rothko), or an abstraction about the mechanization of modern life (Mondrian) , or the mark of the hand as shown by the texture of a monoprint (Nancy Crow’s new work). I always start with a spark of an idea….could be the way the light falls on the edge of a building
or how many shades of grey there are in a city
could be a certain play of shapes – two shapes and two colors abstracted from a favorite painting….
or about the experience of laying on the floor underneath the skylights watching the clouds scud by……
I do feel it’s important to have a strong emotional connection to each quilt (or painting) as you make it and to try to convey with the arrangement of the various elements your thoughts and feelings that were the starting point of the piece. Why would you want to put in all the time and effort it takes to make a quilt if you weren’t expressing some fairly strongly held feelings about something?
I think it would be very hard to start with a great big nothing. Art is a language too – a visual language with consonants (positive shapes) and vowels (negative shapes) and sequences (rhythms and repetitions)…and surely “I wandered lonely as a cloud” is more meaningful, more thoughtful and more engaging than “k szncdfdc .l d.zh zxz c.ljc”.
Yes, I have seen paintings that had no paint but just a knife slash through the canvas! and I do remember them! But not with awe, and admiration and meditation! Really, a jumble is a jumble whatever language you speak! But! maybe I’m missing something….please educate me if I am – the Comment Forum is open!
And, if you have been, thanks for reading! Elizabeth