sketches, journals, preparations. . . Everything in Place
Everything in Place focuses on the preparatory materials kept “at hand” which both inspire and document the creative process. These materials are the quick doodles, working sketches, studies, maps, diagrams and drawings rendered in preparation for a specific work of art. They are the evidence of research and exploration, rendered to develop an idea, or to teach, or to practice. They are skilled observations of the world. These materials are rarely seen by others until developed into something more—into something “polished,” something “recognizable,” “presentable,” “publishable,” or “finished.” At this point, the sketches take a back seat to the finished product. They are stashed away, drawn over, even traded or discarded. And, yet, artists continue to incessantly fill sketchbooks, journals, and miscellaneous containers with notes, drawings and doodles, peppered with assorted hieroglyphics, personal shorthand, measurements, schematics, and other marks. They save ephemera that recall travels, explorations, and “things to be worked out” or later incorporated into projects. A mix of personal and professional, these objects testify to trials, practice, failures, rewrites, and sparks of inspiration, and they fuel artists’ creative universes. Delve into these repositories and one can, seemingly, bear witness to the progression of a project as ideas shift, information is gathered, and discoveries are made.
An artist’s use of this mix of preparatory materials mirrors the wisdom of mise en place (French, pronounced meez en plăce) which figuratively translates to “everything in place.” In the culinary arts, this concept refers to the proper organization, prepping, and planning of everything needed by a chef to prepare a meal; everything is ready; everything is “at hand.” Further, it extends to the experienced chef’s ability to simultaneously monitor many tasks, weighing and assigning each its proper value and priority, assuring that he or she has anticipated every situation that could logically occur during a service period. Mise en place in the artist’s studio, as in the kitchen, is both a practice and a state of mind. Preparations are elastic and inclusive, incorporating tools and materials, but also personal and cultural experiences, social and personal history, and the many studies and sketches executed by an artist. Even those souvenirs and scraps that are seemingly random or unrelated are part of the continuum of ideas that flow through artistic production. With “everything in place,” the artist can draw upon any reference, sketch, or other inspiration to move their current project, or projects, forward. Whether directly linked to a finished work or seemingly unassociated, the materials in this exhibition provide a peek into the preparations that feed creative and research processes.
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