S P A C E
Informative (even in the absence of information)
b e g u i l i n g
... it is an artist's most understated tool for expressing message and emotion. Space in the mind and on the canvas is pregnant with possibility. It is the promise of something more. Space is the hidden but implied message that is defined by the surrounding elements.
Many years ago, I went to a retrospective show of Mark Rothko's color field paintings. In most circumstances, these paintings are shown individually but for this particular show, they were hung chronologically. The very theory of color and space and shape conveying the powerful emotions of Rothko's torment were so available in this setting. It was the hidden message in the space between the works that was compelling – the empty wall space that led you to the next work and the next revelation of the inner conversation within the painter’s mind.
Lately I have been listening to a lot of music on my headphones in an effort to create a free space in my mind. The music occupies an image free area but generates it’s own image. My painter's brain solves the problem by combining the random images with the design on which I am currently working. This is one part of the creative process. Throughout the process my mind needs the S P A C E to think, to breathe, to sigh it's way into a relaxed state of inspiration. Similar to dreaming while awake (not to be confused with daydreaming.)
Emotion is another element that takes up space in my work and my mind. It needs to be directed or I find it difficult to creatively problem solve. Emotion expands and creeps into space even when you think it is not there. Rothko's paintings are a good example of harnessing powerful emotion and infusing it into the creative decisions he made as a painter. The work grabs you and insists that you feel as you view. It is undeniable what emotions are being conveyed because of the impeccable use of the space, color, and emotion along with a cultural and psychological reference. Through it all, space is the container – it gives room for the color to expand and enfold you into it’s spell. It is in a word, "beguiling."
Space to think. Space to create. Space to process artistic challenge. I am trying to be conscious of the spaces in my mind and what I fill them with because eventually it will all find a path into my work.