It is in preparing for an upcoming show, attempting to picture the paintings hanging evenly spaced on clean, white walls, properly lit with no furniture to think about having to match, that you really start to assess how the work looks together and what it is all about. The pieces are no longer individual creations but hopefully begin to tell a cohesive story. They are coupled, grouped and moved around. Sometimes they just sit well and seem to have been made to play off one another. Other times, they scream to stay ‘home’, unfinished and not hang with the others. It is also a time where I look back at photos of the stages of paintings, starting at the first of a series, or the very first layer of paint. The many stages where I not only questioned whether the work in progress was good (most times, it was decided it was not) but also the validity of painting and art itself, and more dangerously, my own role as an artist. And whether I suck at it. Whether I am done. And if it has all been a waste of time and energy. It sounds very dramatic, and in our own heads, it is, but I can guarantee that most artists, at some point (if not at all points) go through the torture of self-doubt and the struggle of justifying to ourselves and possibly to others, the whole idea and career of making art.
Given all that, and racing up to a deadline, it is with a mountain of relief that I look at the work together and sigh. It may seem a small thing, or something that is taken for granted, but when an artist likes her own work, when they can look at it without wincing or continuing to re-work, this is as big an accomplishment as the work itself. And I am pleased…mostly pleased with how this work is coming together. I had all kinds of concerns about having to move studios in the middle of the process but I think it has been to my benefit to switch it up, put some pressure on the process and push with some new materials, fresh ideas and ultimately a rekindled love of painting and drawing.
Here is some of the work which will be available at www.herringerkissgallery.com by the end of April. The show opens on Saturday, May 12th.