Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Art Blog: I Want To Be ME!

Sometimes artists experience a type of projection (similar to that which occurs during therapy). In the case of seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist, a person might glom onto the therapist emotionally or psychologically. They project their faults onto another person or see the attributes of another as something that they want for themselves.

It is very common to see a kind of projection in new artists. They research and find an artist who appeals to them and they emulate the work of that artist. I know I was guilty of this. In a very small way, I tried so hard to BE Eve Hesse. (Eva Hesse (January 11, 1936 - May 29, 1970), was a German-born American sculptor, known for her pioneering work in materials such as latex, fiberglass, and plastics.)
I read all about her. I loved/hated her life story. I wanted to make objects out of weird materials in honor of her life and work. I was in school then, so I guess I have an excuse. I was still very wet behind the ears.

Of course with time, I developed my own style as the years progressed. However, I wasn’t immune to the urge to want to project myself into a different art life. I think the most prominent surge of self denial was after I read the biography of Sonia Delaunay. (Sonia Delaunay (nėe Terk) (1885 – 1979). Her husband was Robert Delaunay.) I have no idea why this happened after reading her biography. I respect her work, but I didn’t want to emulate it. I think it has something to do with the fact she lived many years of her life in the shadow of Robert, her husband. This just didn’t sit well with me and I took her into my heart.

That episode of the “wannabee” syndrome was years ago. In fact, I thought I had finally become immune. I have been doing my own art for a very long time. However, I had a little glitch this past month. I watched a Nancy Spero video that made my jaw drop. (Nancy Spero (born 1926) is an American artist. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, she has long been based in New York City. She was married to and collaborated with artist Leon Golub (1922–2004).

This is very weird. I know I am very well schooled in the art history department. I have no idea why Nancy Spero has been under my radar. I watched the video. It mentioned Leon Golub was her husband. My mind did a back flip. HUH? Leon Golub/Nancy Spero? HUH? I thought about it again and realized I knew the name, but I didn’t know of her at all. Shame on me. Then I thought of the Spero/Golub connection. I said shame on me again and again.
So now I am on a Nancy Spero rampage. I am sure there will be more videos and surely many books about her in my future. So do I want to BE HER? Well, no. I am old enough and wise enough now to realize and understand, I can only be Sheree Rensel.
Yes! I finally want to be ME!

“Maypole”, Nancy Spero


JafaBrit's Art said...

gosh, err, I have never heard of her and I am so glad I have now thanks to YOU. Great post. Off to check out Nancy Spero now.

Eero said...

It sounds like Eva Hesse was your mentor, even though you never got to meet her(is that right?).

I had someone I emulated when I was a young, budding artist. It still informs a lot of what I do now.

It's good to learn from those who go before us, and those who are farther ahead on the path.

But yeah....gotta make your own stuff, no matter what.


Sheree Rensel said...

I already ordered some books and DVDs about her. I had heard her name, but never saw much about her. After writing this post and feeling dumb, I realized it is not my fault. She wasn't promoted like other artists. Why? Hmmmmmm. I know why, but we won't go there.
It is all good. We know of her now. Let us enjoy and learn from her!

Sheree Rensel said...

Gee, NO, I never met her! LOL I WISH!! She died of a brain tumor in 1970. She was dead long before I had ever heard of her. It is too bad she died so young. I would have loved to see her mature work. That never got to happen. It is a shame. However, she made a phenomenal impact with her art in her brief ten year art life. That in itself says a whole lot!