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August 16th 2009

    An artist's statement has over the past several dozen years become increasingly detached from any sense of the real.  Touted as a necessary expression of creative purpose I have decided that conceptually an artist's statement is in fact like patriotism or religion.  It becomes too quickly the last refuge of a scoundrel and I will no longer participate in its manufacture.

    In my world there is an artist who sometimes receives a request to produce a verbal expression of what it is that she does.  The question itself is supposed to evince a concentration of thought.  That moment at the end of a tunnel when all is revealed.  But the creative mind is a bouncing thing, or at least it should be.  To trap it with words is a deprivation of spirit, which in the end is an objective of both patriotism and religion.  And, for that matter, it is an objective of language. 

   

 

    Granted some will take great umbrage at my characterization of the creative mind, of patriotism, of religion and of language.  Perhaps they will think my characterization at best ill considered and at worst lacking in a correct reading of Boswell's reporting of Johnson.  And I can almost guarantee they will insist I replace this characterization with a form of belonging that requires a reduction of purpose into increasingly simplistic and bureaucratic forms.  Happy little patterns that can be placed upon bookshelves where they can remain as part of an orderly collective.  And this way no one need be unnerved by the possibility of existence being incomprehensible.  

    But I do have a perspective that I think worth considering.  In the world of Artists - "Those who can do."  Those who can't, talk about it instead.  And sadly in the world of Artists those who talk about it most, like all parasitic forms, get to be in charge.

tim candler

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