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Archive for July 28th, 2011

Ego

I was asked yesterday what I was going to speak about in today’s gallery talk at the West End Gallery.  I kidded that I was going , of course, to speak about me.

Me, me, me.

I went on to explain  how I approach these talks, trying to read the group in attendance and finding something of interest in the work that sparks a dialogue where they participate.  The hope being that they leave with a little more insight into the work  and I leave with with a little more knowledge of how they view it.   But that offhand joke yesterday about me has stuck in my craw.  Just joking about it has bothered me somehow. 

One of the conundrums of art is that you are expressing a sometimes very personal aspect of yourself in a public forum, exposing one’s weaknesses and flaws to the world for all to see.  The need to do this is the need for an affirmation of one’s own existence in this world.  I know that this has been the case for myself.  I have often felt insignificant throughout my life in this world, unseen and unheard.  But it seemed to me that my life, like all others, had to have meaning of some sort and that my feelings and thoughts mattered as much as any other being’s.  If I was here and thinking, I mattered.

Cogito ergo sum.

 Until I fell into painting I never found a way to affirm this existence, an avenue to allow my voice to be finally heard.  But having found a method of expression, the question becomes: What part does ego play in this?  Where is  that line that separates the need for self-expression from base self-glorification?

This has always bothered me.  Even though I want to express myself and want my work to hopefully affect others, this constant self-promotion puts one at least on or near this dividing line.  For me, that’s an uncomfortable position.  Don’t get me wrong.  When it comes to my work, I certainly have the confidence of ego.  It may be the only part of my world where I have supreme confidence and on many days even that is shaky.

But on days like today, when I have to talk about me, me, me, I always get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach both before and afterwards.  Before because of the dread of exposing myself as a fool and afterwards from the fear that I did just that. 

Oh, well.  All just part of the job…

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