It’s week 6 of my 3 month intensive residency in my studio. I have continued to play with and I have thought more about the idea of the unfinished work. I have included here an image of some of the detail from one of my works from this week. This work is still being contemplated, it’s just hanging out on my studio wall. Has enough been said – are you finished my little eastern quoll? So my thoughts generally are - is it that some unfinished works have a spontaneity and liveliness that can be lost in the finished work? Is it that some unfinished works show the underlying scaffolding and structure which can appeal? Is it that the parts of the work that are unsaid, help you enter the work, or give you licence to make up in your own mind about what is not explicitly shown.
I found this gem of a New York Times article by Roberta Smith, The fascination of the Unfinished http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/10/arts/design/the-fascination-of-the-unfinished.html?_r=0
“ the history of Western painting is to some extent about an ever-increasing unfinishedness and loosening of surface. Think of the progression from the startling exactitude of van Eyck and the velvety brushiness of Titian to the painterly roughness of the Impressionists.
Additionally, unfinished paintings are mysterious, even eliciting a slight sense of voyeurism, since we are looking at things that were supposed to be covered over but in the end were not. What halted their progress besides death, some loss of interest or failure of ambition? Perhaps it was the feeling, conscious or not, that the work was actually finished and would be recognized as such by coming generations?”
I have been thinking about this idea of the unfinished for a long time. I remember looking at one of my process drawings for my year 12 art work when I was just 17 and questioning at that time what was it that made this drawing more interesting to me than some of my others. Was it that part of the still life shoes were detailed and part only hinted at? Anyway I left the drawing as is at the time and held off from more detail. With this reminisce I searched back for my art diary to find this drawing and bingo. I’ve included an image of it here (with adjusted levels). And with this inclusion I’ve realised I’ve come along way with my art but also I haven’t ventured far. I’m still drawing shoes 20+ years later. I have also been thinking more about my year 12 major artworks because the other exhibition that will be on show in Cowra Regional Art Gallery at the same time as my ‘Wild’ exhibition will be a selection of NSW Department of Education Art Express acquisitions works – I think it could be wild too.