At the recent Thames Valley meeting I was left reeling somewhat. Presenting my work in the way I did didn’t provide me with any answers I was looking for, but did provide some very positive feedback on the work, which I hadn’t sought nor expected.
In my journal entry for the day there are three mentions of the word ‘statement’ and two of ‘position’ (..ing of the work); that is from only twenty that I wrote, a clear indication that this might be a good idea and also that for whatever reason my contextualizing of the work at the event didn’t do a very good job, in fact probably quite a poor job. I was of course pleased that the general feedback was positive on the quality of the prints; this despite how poor the paper was on a high number of the prints. However the exercise I had hoped for, despite the generous time allowance that I was provided, didn’t elicit the kind of reaction that I had hoped for. The images were just too ‘nice’. What I ‘knew’ them to be about wasn’t transferred at all to the audience, nor indeed a sense of what they were about and this despite my provision of texts freely distributed, and, how I talked about ‘purgatory’ as both a place and state. As fellow student Keith Greenough commented (and I paraphrase) “..the images depict something optimistic whereas the terminology (oral, written and printed) is the opposite..”.
Another edit is required, refining what I feel about the state of purgatory.
This divergence of outcome and expectancy has happened before and quite clearly I know now, if not before, that if I don’t provide a contextualizing statement then the work will not, is not, strong enough, to stand on it’s own. Where I am going with the work cannot be expected to find any resonance with anyone else if I don’t provide a framework. However I am not ready to provide such a statement at the moment, firstly because I am not ready to because I am not entirely sure what that might be, and secondly because of the nature of the work being personal.
Of the ‘space’ that is Purgatory I am tempted to invoke that notion of an ‘unsettled’ place, I am expecting some historical data that I could use as a fictional method of representation and a phrase from ‘The Offering’ by Grace McCleen comes to mind “…its most evocative aspect: fusty, acrid, furtive; suggestive of things ravaged yet fecund with time.” yet the element I am dealing with is better expressed as the bounty of memories. But it isn’t the place that I want to explore, but a space fecund as it is with memories.