The Act of Writing About Art

I am both a writer and an artist. I struggle with the idea of writing about that which I create. They are two different and mutually exclusive activities.

Writing about what I create would be an attempt to justify or place into a context something which was not created with a preconceived notion. It is looking backwards and attempting to create meaning that didn’t exist at the time. Hence I do not write about my work in any detail about what it means or doesn’t mean.

July, New York City, 2019

At least for me, the creative act is something that just happens. It operates on an intuitive level. I do not create that which I can imagine in a finished state. I wouldn’t know how or why it would be of interest.

It was with great pleasure that I read a quote by Gerhard Richter on the same subject. He said “to talk about painting is not only difficult, but perhaps pointless too. You can only express in words what words are capable of expressing, what language can communicate.”

He also stated at one point that if he could write about painting that there would be no reason to paint. I write about photography and art in general terms and some of the effects that it has on myself and perhaps on society. I write about my experience of it all.

I invite your comments on what you think about these things. Curious Frame was created to engage in dialogue about the state of visual images in the world today.

5 thoughts on “The Act of Writing About Art

  1. For better or worse, it is sometimes necessary to write about ones work if one is to engage with the wider art world. For example, when submitting work to open calls for exhibitions, it is often necessary to have a short text to accompany the work.

    I think the important thing to keep in mind is that writing about ones artworks should not be about explaining the work. It should be about helping the viewer who knows nothing about your art practice to understand the context behind the work. It also does not matter if that context existed during the creation of the work, or not. Often times meaning and context come from the creative process.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. One need not exclude the other: Writing is writing and photography is photography. Sometimes I photograph what I write about and sometimes I write about what I photograph. There is art in drawing the connections one sees between these two ways of seeing, and there are many other ways to express our seeing as well. Thank you for setting up this site and sharing your vision and your visions.

    Liked by 1 person

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