I am not so black and white about it. I think the former is something that gives you pleasure to look at or experience or which raises your curiosity and interest, maybe even triggers other trains of thought. As for the latter, craftsmanship is only one element, but using materials creatively to express ideas can sometimes be as captivating, sometimes more. It need not be confined to a gallery, or made specifically by someone for displaying and selling, it could just be in the everyday. Occasionally, it is the physical process of making that is equally or more pertinent than the final product.
A few days ago, I had the pleasure of overseeing the Amalgam8 exhibition with fellow artist Katie Ellen Fields. Her work at the exhibition consists of mainly life size painted line portraits (I later found out were self portraits) and a video installation. She is interested in progress and time and her fabric ribbon portrait diary is very original. They were very effective in the gallery in their own right, but I’d noticed something textural in two of hers at the back. From far, the portraits looked like they had been edged with brown/ gold. On close inspection, layers of the material they were painted on had come away revealing the raw underneath.
Apologies for the sideways pictures!
It also reminded me of the poet Kahlil Gibran, whose poetry my father used to randomly quote parts of when we were young. No scholar of his myself, I have time and again come across the one about marriage, especially the bit about the pillars:
"...But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow. "
If only life could be so poetic.
And a bit on friendship:
.."When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain."
For more on Katie, follow her blog http://howlsofgrace.blogspot.co.uk/ and on Twitter @HowlsOfGrace
I’m on Twitter @nitanathwani and we’re both exhibiting together with six other friends until Oct 5th at