Monday, August 4, 2008
Last week, my mother and I drove up to Whitefish, MT for a visit with my sister, Jackie.
We added a couple of other activities to our agenda, since we were in that part of the state. My mother wanted to get Flathead cherries and so we drove down to Bigfork, where we also stopped in at ARTfusion - a fun little gallery that shows my work. It was a nice opportunity to meet the new owner and have a brief chat.
We were discussing some of the various artists and she said something that has really impacted my feeling about my work. She stated that she thought my work was "Expressionist". At the time, I didn't know exactly what that meant, but when I got home, I googled the term and did some research.
By golly, I think she is right! On one level, it seems so silly to have to define my art, but on the other, it is extremely validating and reassuring. Ever since I have left my career as a School Psychologist, I have felt somewhat disoriented about my identity. It has been a remarkable part of the journey to realize how important it is in our culture (and internally) to have some sort of terms with which to identify what it is that you do. . . .
I have been going through a lot of shifts in the self identity area lately. Suddenly becoming middle aged, a grandmother, self employed, a landlord, and a small business owner (none of these things in my life plan!) , have somehow been harder as I have felt somewhat adrift without an official "career" that I could talk about in sound bites.
Lately, I have looked at other quilt artists work with a jealous eye - wishing that I could work in a more interesting style . . . It has been hard for me to accept the fact that my work is not really abstract. Nor is it realistic. It seems that I always have to include some sort of figures, images from nature or symbolism . . . but beyond that - my visual imagery and techniques cover a broad range. I know I should not have to justify what I am compelled to do, but somehow it seems to be necessary at this point in my life.
How wonderfully refreshing and uplifting to discover that I do indeed have a consistent style when it is put into the context of Expressionism. This has done so much for my self esteem and confidence. Thank you, Kathy!