how to move on from a dented self belief

The dented self belief happened after our seminar week critiques. It is a slow haul out of this feeling and in finding some self belief in my work. With questions rolling around in my head such as: whether I have the capabilities to actually do this? What am I about? I get frustrated when broad comments/recommendations are made about things that need to change or improve to all present, this certainly leaves me with confusion and also add to the feeling of.........what am I doing? Was only one thing I had done good, the rest so bad it deserves to be on the scrap heap? (NOTE to self: I resolve from this experience to get more specific feedback to me personally) IMG_1506IMG_1505 Anyway the critiques, here is a sample of some of the comments: My peer critique's were a mixed bag and often contradicting: Artist statement: ranging from liking this to feeling there was too much in there to it not relating to what I had presented. Display of Work presented: Not enough present to create frustration to too much present that created frustration. Not enough present for it to seem like an artist desk from past era. Modern film boxes did not fit. 20th century artist portfolio did not fit. Photo of hosta leaf in bottle; Was the outstanding image/part of the work/display. Plant pressed images: received a mixed reception. In general: Too much for some and just right with lots of interest for others. The 'work' felt scientific, too staged, theatrical, archival, emphasis on process, created curiosity (improved if there was more), felt contrived, larger images felt privileged, representations of nature, sense of craft, glass jars were extra's not needed or more of them. Also: play more with scale, add more to create a real sense of museum/collecting (read more on Mark Dion's work, research MOTH) The need to find a stance in this; am I commenting on environmental issues, ecological issues.......(food for thought) Faculty critique, was short and too the point: All I should have presented was the image of the hosta leaf in the bottle. The rest simply did not meet up to any expectation and was superfluous to the display. Display was too tidy, too staged, some aspects were too crafty. Should have added something unexpected, something that would have triggered the imagination, such as a pile of dirt, horse dung. What do I agree with or deduce from this: Yes,there was not enough, I needed to have had lots of images, piles of them to create a sense of depriving the audience and also to create more of a sense of collection. The 20th century art folder - agree, should not have added that. (an addition on suggestion by a friend, I did not question it enough, silly mistake) The age old art vs craft question - is a can of fire ants I am not really willing to open, but my view: you have to learn a craft (other call it technique) to create art. Is using beautiful paper craft? Artist select certain paper qualities so their work will show of best. Is folding paper a craft? A paper artist will not think so and neither do I. (Interestingly: Went to an exhibition at Object space in Ponsonby - Islanders by Jo Torr. Her beautifully crafted gowns from tapa cloth, with embroidered botanical imagery on them - the question if these belong to art or craft is also stated in the text accompanying the show) Maybe the current way in presenting some of the work is not correct, but that does not mean that the process used has no merit. It is in the presentation, display and meaning I was lacking. The leaves in jar images are magical (I got that before the crits) and will experiment with more of these. Other than that I am going back to basics with my photography and the way I look at the plant world, back to the process of discovery. The way I approach my practice is very much through exploration and discovery, with a strong sense of aesthetic selection These crits and the previous 3 months of research have helped me form a framework around my practice. The combination of this framework and the discovery and exploration aspects of my practice I am sure will help me mend my dents and bruises.

Posted by Elle Anderson

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