Sunday, May 4, 2008

Art Blog: The ODDS

After posting a “tongue in cheek” entry about bizarre art methods and genres, I started thinking about my own art history. From my teaching experience I have learned that the personality of a child when he/she enters kindergarten is basically the package. Oh yes, they grow up and mature, but the general components of adulthood are all right there standing before you. I think this was true for me when I entered art school. I had all the stuff. It just didn't have it quite together for it to make any sense.
Here I was an almost twenty year old, bleach blond ditz enrolling in art classes. I wanted to be an ARTIST. At that time, I really didn’t know or understand what that really meant. However, I jumped into the pot with both feet. I didn’t know art from diddly squat. I was in art kindergarten. All I knew was the feeling I got when I made stuff was the way I wanted to feel forever.
Looking back I ask “What were the ODDS?” I pose this question because I was fortunate enough to have an inspirational professor like no other. His name is David Barr. I couldn’t have been any luckier to have him as my first art professor. He is a top notch artist. His teaching abilities were beyond reproach. The UNIVERSE was so kind for directing me to cross his path.
I am a painter. My work has always been pretty straight forward. Conceptual art has always been something that boggled my mind. Yet it was quite intriguing and something for which I have thought about often. David Barr is a sculptor. During his long, productive career, he has created a huge portfolio of large scale sculptures. He has also created a number of conceptual projects that are mind bending. By accident (?), I found this old video of one such art project. It is called ”Four Corners”. I question the “accidental” discovery of the video because it is too much of a coincidence. I have been talking about art intent, art process, and art product lately. The “Four Corners” project is about all of those things. This art work is a bit difficult to explain. I wish I could share the video. However, due to copyright issues, I cannot do that. David envisioned a tetrahedron inside the sphere of the earth. The four corners of the tetrahedron would touch four points of the earth. Barr sculpted “corners” out of stone and with the help of a mathematician and geographer, Barr chose those points on the earth. He then went on a journey to plant those corners at specific sites: Easter Island, Greenland, New Guinea, and the Kalahari Desert. It took him years to complete the project. The concept is unbelievable. Even more incredible is he actually brought the idea to fruition.
This is why I feel so lucky to have had David Barr as my first, real life, art influence. Even though my art is not conceptual, his ideas about art, drive, process, and creative philosophy act as the soil from which Sheree the artist grew. Like Barr, I believe intent is one of the most important components of creativity. I know some people think I am an odd duck. Some might think I have strange, unusual opinions about just about everything. That is just fine. Thinking back on my art life, I realize why I am the way I am now. Even after all the years, my true foundation stands strong.

”Yin-Yang” by David Barr
Click to read a David Barr interview
at the “WHY” project blog.


Cathy said...

Hello, I just came across your blog and just wanted to say how much I have enjoyed reading your intelligent, insightful posts - sharing your experiences of what it means to be an 'artist' and how one grows and grows and life is all about change. Oh yes, I could relate, and I shall hope to read more soon, best wishes and have a good week Cathy

Sheree Rensel said...

I think this is one of the nicest comments I have ever gotten since doing this blog. THANK YOU!!! Please keep reading. I am trying to get the words out before ALL my brain cells die off! LOL LOL LOL
Thanks so much again!!