In my studio the past few weeks I've been thinking about the concept of coping. I've had a tumble of a first year in grad school because I've been trying to take apart and analyze my painting which turns to analyzing my life in the same manner.
In this I realize that painting can function to me as a method of coping with the things I find so frustrating with being in a consumer culture–– because the fact is I indulge in it as much as I am critical of it, and that gives me no ground to criticize it. (I believe there's a huge difference between being critical and criticizing–– one implies judgment and the other does not.) And when deconstructing my work I become stuck–– nothing productive comes out of it which means not enough painting!
A studio visit last week from Nigel Rolfe brought out his observation that all the problem solving is happening in my head, not the canvas. I agreed, and we both agreed that this needed to change. Problems must be solved in the painting! So what does that mean? Indulging in paint, coping with the culture and indulging and playing instead of just being critical. I shouldn't take myself so seriously all the time, I suppose. I don't know if I'll ever know how to criticize my culture properly without becoming a big giant hypocrite, and I think that is a good thing.
Once I made the decision to indulge in painting again, I exploded all over this eight by ten foot canvas that has been making fun of me all semester and finally slammed it done. My current hypothesis is that this frustration is a huge part of the fuel for my emotive content, and maybe that instead of trying to find a way to criticize, I can be more honest and sincere if I articulate my frustration of being unable to criticize, because boy oh boy do I love indulging in the things that I know I shouldn't indulge in.