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Marcia Selsor

How Do You Assimilate Your Environment Into Your Aesthetics?

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Tyler gave an excellent self review of personal conflicts in struggling for a true identity of one's work in the Aesthetic topic. It is well thought out. We live in a globally aware environment. How do we claim an identity in our work?

 

Marcia

 

 

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Marcia,

 

I spent the day thinking about this and I don’t really think I actually incorporate my environment as well as I should into my work.

 

Jim Kelso, a metal and wood worker I greatly admire, I think he does a wonderful job. His website: http://jimkelso.com  Even though he works in the Japanese tradition of metalworking techniques as an American, his work is decidedly un-Japanese and irresistibly American.  Have a look through his journal and his jewelry gallery on his site.  You can literally see him take an image from nature (like a bloodwort blossom, for instance) and put in on a brooch.  His artistic eye is really something remarkable.  And his ability to naturally synthesize a composition from what is immediate around him astounds me.  I think that's really the mark of a master.

 

I think the question you pose is something I see a lot of Canadian artists in particular struggling with.  Our landscape, for instance, is overwhelming in its presence, but it takes a strong mind and great mental discipline to tack it down into a form.  Especially with a relative lack of tradition to explore.  Americans have the benefit of 200 years of socio-political thought expressed in a strong and vivid imagery.  The American landscape has its own language now.  You see a lot of “polar bears on plates†which capture the broad strokes, but to start to use the landscape and culture to synthesize something, that’s a very difficult thing.  Emily Carr is probably the most successful Canadian artist to do this.  Taking the modernist/post impressionist aesthetic and bringing it Canada and Canadian themes was no small feat.  I think a lot of West coast Canadian artists owe her a lot.

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Marcia,

 

I spent the day thinking about this and I don’t really think I actually incorporate my environment as well as I should into my work.

 

 

I think the question you pose is something I see a lot of Canadian artists in particular struggling with. Our landscape, for instance, is overwhelming in its presence, but it takes a strong mind and great mental discipline to tack it down into a form. Especially with a relative lack of tradition to explore. Americans have the benefit of 200 years of socio-political thought expressed in a strong and vivid imagery. The American landscape has its own language now. You see a lot of “polar bears on plates†which capture the broad strokes, but to start to use the landscape and culture to synthesize something, that’s a very difficult thing. Emily Carr is probably the most successful Canadian artist to do this. Taking the modernist/post impressionist aesthetic and bringing it Canada and Canadian themes was no small feat. I think a lot of West coast Canadian artists owe her a lot.

As a French Canadian ex-pat, I am constantly surprised that Canadians don't recognize or appreciate their strong, unique culture ... maybe you have to get away from it and view it from afar to be able to appreciate the power of the voice. : - )

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Ty,

I am not necessarily speaking of landscape when I mention environment. And I am not thinking grizzly bears from Montana either. But one thing the Montana environment did influence was the idea of space, freedom and breathing fresh clean air, big bright skies, fewer people, less cluttered mind. I found it inspiring. There are also 11 Indian reservations in Montana and I have been to ceremonies and into the home of a medicine man of the Pryor Crow  tribe. Also I think of the global community and the ability to share so much knowledge. Our ability to see what others are experimenting with, old, new, traditional..we have so much, even too much to try and make a personal voice. It is tough. Jim's work is well done and interestingly reflects iconic images of Canada or the north country.

 

Marcia

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