Earlier this week my son and I went for a walk along the Colliery Dams. It was a beautiful fall day, the air crisp but not cold and puddles of leaves crunched underfoot as we walked through the woods.
It was the first time my son had been there and the first time for me in more than thirty years.
He stopped every few moments to take pictures and the camera contained about one hundred by the time he was finished.
The University is close by so after the walk I drove to the campus and we visited the art gallery there. An exhibit showcased there designed by the Bomford brothers. The concept for the show was man’s presence in the woods and impact. How we think we’re alone and the first to explore an area and then come across signs of prior exploration. It did not take us long to view it. Perhaps slightly more than five minutes.
When we left and walked up to the koi pond, I asked my son how he liked it. He replied that he was pissed off. He said they seemed more concerned with the idea than in the art. He saw little skill or attempt at good photography in the photos. They were simply recording.
I was very impressed by his answer and told him so. I thought he learned more in five minutes than what many students learn after four years of attending courses at University. Art is much more than just bearing witness or recording a happening which the Bomford photos felt like. Especially since we just walked through the woods and felt mankind’s intrusion at each instance.
I suppose there are those who see their work as inspired and provoking, however I was not one of them and neither was my son. We want something more.
Mind you to be fair I don’t always know how to get it. This past week has not been very gratifying in creating anything worthwhile. I did create a mandala that looks like a piece of really bad graffiti. Yet it was simply an experiment to try a different approach. I won’t even bother to post it (you've seen enough of my bad art.)-let alone place it in an exhibit.
I recently read an article by Ron English about his painting process. In it he mentions that the process reveals ideas that are more interesting than his original thought. I suppose that is my biggest beef with the Bomford exhibit. I feel they didn’t explore enough. They didn’t dig. The original concept was good enough in their minds and I’m sorry, but it’s not.