Artist statements, mood, and explanations.

March 03, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Since I've been regularly making work again, I've been submitting to a lot of calls for artist, which means writing a lot of new artist statements. I've always been very fastidious about my artist statements, since anything I say about an image flavors it forever in the viewers mind. The viewer's environment, state of mind, or previous viewing experience is all out of my hands, so the few elements I can control, I want to control absolutely. It follows that removing a small group of images from a larger set can drastically change the words I want associated with them. For example, I just submitted to two different shows two vastly different sets of images – one mostly from my project Separation, one mostly from Structure, but both with some overlapping content. However, the set that originated from Structure imbued a new feel that the old artist statement didn't suitably compliment. So, I borrowed some textual ideas from the Separation statement, and reworded it to be more ephemeral and lyrical, intentionally contrasting both the photos and the nature of the exhibit I was submitting to. Likewise, after viewing the website of the juror for the other show, I took the appropriate elements of the Separation statement and designed a new paragraph I feel would appeal more to their taste. This is honestly a shot in the dark, as artists present themselves “on paper” as distinct from their real personalities all the time, but writing a statement without knowing anything about the juror is even worse. You'll notice I make little effort to connect to a deeper art history narrative with these – I find it difficult to do that well with such a small sample to work from (I'm no Louis Masur, who should be read by every freshman art student), and frankly, individual shows aren't worth the time it would take to do so. In this context, I prefer to have the artist statement function as a suggestion of mood, retaining the essay-style exposition for more inclusive solo shows or published books.

The full statement for Separation is still in progress, but the micro-sets and associated words are below as examples.   

"The designs tower above me, massive and monolithic. Artifacts left by an alien presence, fighting the mountains for supremacy of the sky. They twist and writhe beneath my feet, tilled into the earth and then beamed into the heavens. The snow-capped peaks appear faint behind the frames of pillars, the bars of a cage, forming doors.

Taylor Thorne is a photographic artist living and working in the Pacific North-West. His images of urban environmental landscaping and industrial construction convey a sense of bleak acceptance, the viewpoint of a lonely wanderer, enchanted by the structures of an ancient society. His work has been shown in galleries across the Mid-West, and can be seen at www.taylorthornephotography.com."

"No matter where I go, how far I travel to disconnect myself from the noise and static of humanity, our presence has become tilled into the earth and beamed into the heavens. Our detritus lingers in paint and object, in smells and shapes in the water, glimpsed among the eternal trees. Sometimes I take pictures of these things, and present them to an audience as artifacts or evidence, like an alien archaeologist presenting theories on how humans lived. An archaeologist cannot ever know the truth of his knowledge, being separated from the lives of the people he studies by dimensions beyond mere time and space. We examine ourselves through glass."


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