Monday, April 22, 2013

The Year 2013: In It


When this blog began, it was intended to illuminate the subject matter I thought was worth exposing.

The funny thing is that writing about recordings seemed to be all that mattered to anyone; my essays dealing with more personal situations have not attracted much attention. Because I am philosophizing about what motivates me? Believe me, I am writing about the same questions that enter the minds of the musicians with whose music I have been concerned.

Pianist Matthew Shipp was interviewed by, as he described it, "a guy who came up to his crib" a while back. The interviewer, Jason Gross, made public Matt's eleven-minute monologue offering advice to musicians.

In this video, Shipp articulates that musicians have to prepare themselves for the spareness of their lives, not to discount the commitment and discipline which they have to maintain to command their art.

Shipp strikes a note that runs parallel to what I have to do. My life as an artist has been lived in a backwards direction. Instead of stereotypically starting out in the city and attracting attention to myself by attending openings, visiting galleries and literally being on the scene with a studio, I chose to live, by chance, in the country and raise my son and be an at-home Mom...at home for my son, my (then) husband and my art.

The chances for me to live in the country and be found in the art world actually existed. I simply, like a fool, did not seize the opportunity. Instead, I made mistakes, career-wise, but stuck with the daily routine of working in my studio, fitting that occupation to the schedule which suited family life. One time, when having lunch with the wife of an internationally known artist in a nearby town and a friend of hers, the three of us started a conversation on the theme of living outside of art centers and creating a career for ourselves. The friend of my friend declared in the conversation that: "You can never be a success and be married and have children..." Her statement floored me and simultaneously redoubled my desire to press on and do the necessary work.

Years passed. I was still making visual art but, looking back on it, the art was not good. I have thrown away a bulk of it except for the drawings, which is my forte. My lack of acceptance in the larger art world depressed, yet, drove me. I was miserable in the art-making and alive with my son. Balancing the two confounded me. Once I gained some recognition in the region in which I live, I was a little happier. Then the unavoidable mistakes came knocking on my door and I let them in.

And after years of slamming into one debacle after another, my continuing determination helped me to preserve my sanity. The work accumulated. I associated myself with an accepting echelon of people at the Williams College Museum of Art, where I worked for five years. At the very least, I was not dismissed as 'unsuccessful.' The story goes that at one point, the acting director was eyeing a 100-piece sculpture, which took me two years to execute, for exhibition. That exhibition never happened. I left and so did, in unrelated circumstances, the acting director. Great changes in the post-Tom Krens era at the museum were occurring.

When my ex-husband departed, my work gave me the incentive to get out of bed everyday. A steadfast dedication to it never waned. Perhaps, discovering all the means to network via the Internet helped. The isolation factor was certainly mollified. And I learned to follow the yellow brick road for exposure and swallow my pride every time my work was rejected. (Although I was accustomed to rejection by that time; it had been habitual since I left California in 1974.)

My situation was not unique. I have been alone for the last thirteen years and it has been as if my finger were holding the water in the dike, bulging with imminent breakage, deluge, and, for me, freedom.

There is nothing better than the satisfaction of doing this:
Lyn Horton, Single Loopy Line #3, 2013;
or this:

Lyn Horton, White Pigmented Pen Installation, 2013.


Why on earth, and how on earth (the more likely question), would I or could go backwards? The dynamics of these works supersede their predecessors of years ago pre-the turn of the millennium. These works tell the story of my happiness, my trust in my abilities and my willingness to take the risk to say something without knowing what it will look like when I stop drawing.

The mastery of this language is the currency for my vision. "Vision," as Matthew Shipp states in the interview cited above, "will generate its own space... When you are true to yourself...that is the key to success"...a means to manifest "the top of your strength." The business end of things has nothing to do with who the artist is.


copyright 2013 Lyn Horton

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