Sunday, January 20, 2013

I Don't Get It; Or Do I?

The Dream: I'm in my studio. A woman, a teacher, comes in. She is youngish, about 35 to 40, slim, blonde, curly hair. She is an attractive woman but seems middle-of-the-road, not too interesting. Yet she gets to make decisions about whose art is seen.

She lets me know that my art has been under consideration for some time. “On the one hand, you get it,” she says. “On the other, you don't.” I try to figure out what she means by this enigmatic statement. She lets me know that the judges were somewhat encouraged when I did a piece that seemed to support the police. Unlike, she said, most of my work. I am confused. I have nothing against the police. She lets me know that they consider my skill level impressive but don't care for my subject matter. In a way I'm encouraged by this: she and the “panel” seem so much a part of the mediocre herd that I think it's probably a good sign if they don't care for what I do. I think the day will come when my work will be appreciated. In a way I'm relieved that it is unusual enough to cause these “judges” difficulty.

Was this dream the result of going to a quilt show and perhaps feeling at an unconscious level that the work was beautifully executed but lacking in a higher purpose? Is this what I think, or fear, about my own work? There is certainly a parallel between quilting and my egg tempera painting—both require meticulous attention to craft. The police metaphor refers to the self discipline that this sort of work requires, and it seems the dream underlines some not too surprising ambivalence toward it. In the end I accept, even welcome, the place where I am.

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