Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What I May Do with a Square Piece of Canvas

I have a basement office at home and I've been trying to make it more pleasant and organized. There is a space over one bookcase and I was thinking, "Since I am an art historian, I would like something there that will really say 'Art.'"

But how can you say Art with just one piece? Should it be a collage of art from all eras and places? Should it be the word "Art" rendered in a stylish way?

Finally I decided to make something myself. I bought a piece of stretched canvas, 12" x 12" square, and I will divide it into quadrants. An attractive border will be part of this, and along the middle horizontal divider I will write "what is art?"

My plan for the four squares is mainly inspired by the amazing painter Ben Reeves's Surrey Suburbs Project. As he explained in a talk that I heard last year (and in another talk reported online in the Klondike Sun ), Reeves "[chose] his subject matter wisely: by throwing darts at a map and painting at every location the darts hit."

So, I decided to put my local map book on a kitchen turntable (aka a Lazy Susan). I asked my dh to spin it as (with eyes shut) I first chose four numbered squares on the large-scale map. I then turned to each of those numbered pages and, with another magic spin, found a precise intersection where I will photograph and/or paint.

It is with considerable trepidation that I reveal this project. I am emphatically not an artist, I just want "something nice for over the bookcase" and to explore some corners of my city that are unknown to me. However, I do promise to reveal to you, dear reader, the results of my undertaking.

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