Saturday, March 31, 2012

That’s Not a Daylily Bud

Yesterday I made a lot of daylily buds which will eventually be incorporated into some table sculptures. It was a beautiful spring day and reminded me of an earlier outdoor daylily sculpture connection.

At one of the first art shows in my experience I exhibited a daylily sculpture and some other botanical sculptures. It was generally a pleasant adventure held in a outdoor botanical garden setting. It offered the opportunity to see lots of other art and craft work and to visit with people and just enjoy the outdoors. It was a lot of work and not highly profitable given the amount of effort required setting up and taking down the display and eventually I elected not to do those shows any longer but I have a lot of interesting memories. The daylily conversation is one.

A visitor carefully examined an untitled sculpture and then asked me what flower it was. I casually replied, “Daylily” and the response was, “I’m a daylily judge and that’s not a daylily.” I recall being so amazed that I don’t recall my followup.

I was reminded of “The Treachery of Images” (La trahison des images), a painting by René Magritte, The picture shows a pipe and below it, Magritte painted, "Ceci n'est pas une pipe", French for "This is not a pipe." The painting is not a pipe, but rather an image of a pipe .

A fellow artist blacksmith, much more experienced that me, said, “If a client comes over and says I’d love to buy your tulips (actually iris), don’t tell them they are iris.”

I’d say a lot of my biological sculpture work is representational. At least close enough that a child could name the object. but it isn’t intended to be highly accurate representation - only suggestive. I can’t match Mother Nature. I think it’s enough just to point to her work. I’m fascinated by how many clues are needed to define an object in our minds. My daylily sculptures are certainly less daylily-like than Magritte’s pipe is pipe-like. When does representation become abstraction?–territory_relation

1 comment:

  1. Beware of forging "the uncanny Canna"...

    Abstraction is a subtle skill; it can be surprisingly specific:

    or deceptively ambiguous:


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