PERFECTIoNISM at Griffin Gallery

Curated by Becca Pelly-Fry

I went along with Henry Hussey for the panel Discussion with Ben Street, Dale Adcock, Katrina Blannin & Nick Hornby

My messy notes made into sentences (I may have paraphrased slightly in places):

Difference between perfection and being a perfectionist – what kind of criteria (perfection of craft, ideals, concept, completeness?’)… negative or positive?

Everyone seemed to agree that perfection is something which by the idea of it is unachievable.  Katrina said that for her ‘organised chaos’ might be more accurate and also that she believes that for her she feels she’s reached perfection in her work when she can no longer add or taken away.  Nick went further and took the opinion that even striving for perfection is ‘the height of boredom’.

The idea of endurance was touched upon… what was to be gained from such hard work.  Following from that the decision on whether or not to be involved with the craftsmanship of a piece, over using another method that would either improve or simplify a making process – whether there’s a difference and does it matter.  Someone mentioned that the “journey is worth knowing” which I liked – I like the background to a piece and I also appreciate accidents or traces within a piece of work which reference it’s making.  Others prefer something seamless, work which will leave them guessing, as with a magic trick.

Perfectionism as excessive and as being an issue was suggested a lot – perfectionism as an OCD or an obsession.  This felt relevant to how I feel about making work myself as I often appreciate painting which is painterly and descriptive rather than perfect or ‘over worked’ even .. but the perfectionist in me sometime can’t help but smooth things over or to blend things in.  Yet liberal gestures don’t always come easily, or there not easy to let be – in fact I think Dale mentioned that he sometimes feels that ‘gestures (can) feel contrived’.  So there’s a constant argument in my work between those two things and I think they seem associated with whether or not you want to see the involvement of the artists hand or a hint of the journey taken to get to that point.

Artist’s motivation as one angle – whether the perfection in the work was sort after or if it was accidental – a symptom even.  Dale said his paintings are ‘dictated by their concept’ and so the overall result is that which fits the idea.  Becca the curator pointed out that although the artists can see all the imperfections in their own work to her as the viewer all she can see is perfection – so perfection even though seemingly an end point is relative?  again the different criteria are relevant, Nick finds a certain amount of perfection/affection towards something as impractical & fragile yet tender as the Chair piece set along side his text on perfectionism.

I’m currently trying to let my works be dictated by their painting… choosing less figurative subject matter to work from and instead using photographs which are in some way already abstracted.  Unable to make quite so much of a perfect depiction of the content means the painting can be more inventive and the details and surfaces which I would usually strive toward making perfect are left to be.

I make myself very quiet and listen to my ideas” Dale Adcock.  I liked this.  Sometimes over thinking things and worrying about the greater context is what prevents me from getting anything done.

and then we went to the pub.

other artists in the exhibition: Carol Robertson, Iavor Lubomirov, Tanya Wood, Jemma Appleby, Jane Dixon, Lee Edwards, Carol Robertson & Inbal Strauss

To listen to: Catching the Big Fish David Lynch (audio book)

Some other notes I made on the back of the page and forgot about until now (15 Aug 2014):

Not being able to recreate with a programmed laser cutter an involuntary movement – regarding Iavor’s hand cut paper reliefs
Finding perfection by compare and contrast – highlighting imperfections.
The existentialist.. Why bother?  Why bother at anything at all contrast with well if you’re going to do something do it well, to the best of your ability.

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