Artists have a dirty little secret:
Every masterpiece you encounter in a museum was built on top of many failures. And you never see these other works. All that we see is what made the cut. If an artist is a perfectionist, and a ruthless critic of their own work, that means a whole lot gets tossed out.
I believe this is why so many people think they "can't make art" — they don't see the imperfections, the works-in-progress, the almost-art that must be destroyed along the way to making "Art".
So for my mid-residency exhibition here at USM's Gallery Adiwarna, I decided to highlight the imperfect, the small studies and tests I'm making as I prepare for much larger works.
Cliche-verre Cyanotypes in situ at Adiwarna Gallery, USM
Temple study 1 – Cyanotype Photogram on handmade paper
Some are more crooked than I'd like,
Two Hands – Cyanotype photogram of mehndi stencils
While others are overexposed.
Rolling Terry – Cyanotype contact print on handmade paper. From an artist's e-story project
At times the installation space leaves a bit to be desired,
Shaman's book – Cyanotype contact print on handmade paper, 1/15
But at others, when mounted on a sheet of handmade paper, the final print looks even better than before.
These 27 works in the show were selected from over 100 prints that didn't make the cut. The rest will be recycled into papers for another project. I see a failed print as something to learn from, for a while. I look at the many versions as I work on a series. Afterwards, I get rid of most of them to clear the way for what I make next.
It's never good to have too many failures staring you in the face as you start something new…
To see the artwork up close, stop by the exhibition at Adiwarna Gallery. It will be up until February 2012.