Monday, January 4, 2010

THE "IT" FACTOR


new second hand store acquisitions

In Dime-Store Alchemy, poet Charles Simic reflects on the life and work of Joseph Cornell, who was one of the first artists to elevate boxes of found objects into an art form, beginning in the 1900's. There are many books on Joseph Cornell's works of art. Dime-Store Alchemy is a little gem of a book, an act of homage, with short essays and commentary. Thank you to Gail Rieke, who recommended the book to me. You can find her beautiful artwork, and fabulous studio here.
All the quotes in this post are from Dime-Store Alchemy.





Jeane often writes about the progression and stages of her artwork on her wonderful blog, ART IT, which you can find here. Several posts ago, she wrote that "it" was not doing it for her. Several stages later, she wrote that "it' was now working for her. I know that "it" often refers the artwork. But there are times when "it" is not measurable or identifiable.
"It" is hard to pin down and describe. But we all seem to know what that "it" is. How do you know when you have found "it" in your artwork.

33 comments:

Kathy said...

An excellent post, Donna! It seems that "it" is whatever one wants "it" to be. Maybe some others get "it" and maybe they don't. Charles Simic's boxes remind me of the works of Louise Nevelson. Fascinating!

Leslie Avon Miller said...

It. Well there is a resonance when I’ve hit the mark of It. A knowing, a sureness. And just as sure, there is an absence of that resonance when I’ve missed the mark…and then I have to move into thinking mode to find the problem to repair. It’s a cycle.
What yummy images Donna. Is that a Japanese passport? You have your own museum of wonderful objects! What a delight.

JonesMoore said...

Thanks for this! I love your recent 'finds', and have forgotten how important it is to go and 'hunt' for these!! I am way overdue. Loved the info. on Joseph Cornell...I will be teaching a class this Spring that will rely heavily on his work! A happy and Peaceful New Year to you!

Jo Horswill said...

Happy New Year Donna, wonderful images here. Love all your gifts.

You know just when I think I've got "it" I lose "it" again. Hard to hold onto, I think mine must be slippery :)

Kim Hambric said...

I think "it" is a fast-moving two-legged creature. It is either chasing us or running away from us.

Love your new acquisitions. I just purchased a set of vintage rubber stamp letters from Etsy this morning. I can't wait until they get here. Looking forward to seeing what comes from those acquisitions.

Best to you in the New Year!

bob Cornelis said...

The word I would use for knowing when I have "it" is alignment. When I'm struggling to find it my intention, aesthetic sense and the art are not lined up sufficiently (I doubt they're ever in perfect alignment). But at some point they align enough that all the resistance, grinding, bumping and wobbling disappears. When your car is out of alignment you feel all that and when it's aligned, the ride smooths out.

willow said...

As you already know, I adore Charles Simic. I'm finding this book at my library right now! As always, a lovely post.

neva gagliano said...

um, yum, and om....cornell, thoreau, and you in one posting. still not enough? your finds...take me shopping! well, you can't, so i'll head out myself later this week--great architectural salvage hound in our downtown, active historic preservationist who can not part with anything he finds, and brings back for us to carry off to new lives. new life. IT->>the hummm of being in the ZONE...thanks for the ending question always to ponder.
my eyes and head are filled for the moment!

sukipoet said...

delicious items you picture here. The usage of "it" as you write of is one thing. Yes, the indefinite, which is the only way to describe some things.

I was recently thinking of the word "it" though (coincidentally) with frustration as it sometimes seems to me that we use it as an avoidance of saying what is (in general conversation). Why does this have to be done this way? Because it's the way it's done. It's not right to do it the way we have been. Whereas the truth is "because I say so." or "because I want it done that way."

as an obsessive compulsive perhaps writer (when I was a few yrs back) I tried to delete the word it and put in the word "it" stands for which creates clarity. Maybe this compulsion is why I can no longer write.?? Thanks, interesting post.

ArtPropelled said...

Your flea market finds are making my eyes sparkle. As JonesMoore commented, a hunting and gathering expedition is long overdue!
I know I've found "it" when everything looks brighter, I feel lighter, I hum a lot...... and I love everyone. Great post Donna. Glad you are back!

Four Seasons in a Life said...

Dear Donna,

Finding 'it' I think is a little easier, but what is harder is to know what to do with 'it' once it has been found.

I love this post and look forward to 2010 with you.

Warmest regards
Egmont

rivergardenstudio said...

These images of your new finds are delicious. And I love the picture of you working on the floor with other of your beautiful found objects. And for your question... I am always looking for "it" in my art. Sometimes I find the feeling but drawing it out is daunting. I agree with Egmont! I wish you a new year filled with days of discovery and nights filled with dreams. roxanne

Jeane said...

a box is a wonderful place to put the bits of our everyday life - Cornell did it beautifully - thanks for the mention Donna - your post lovely as always :)

Ian Foster said...

Thank you Donna for a great post with scrumptious images, as far as 'it' is concerned I find it difficult to nail down but when I have, however fleetingly, the sensation is marvelous.

Ro Bruhn said...

I don't think we do I think 'it' finds us. 'It' may not happen very often but when it does we know.
Love the images.

iNdi@ said...

cornell=fabulous
what more can i say?

John M. Mora said...

Great post. Thank you for your layered observant perspective.

La Dolce Vita said...

thanks for the tip on the book, sounds great!

Deborah said...

Maybe you don't always know or always have to know.

jbkrost said...

thanks for your comment on my page......
really enjoy your page and work.
look forward to more
jb

Kerin said...

Love the vintage finds! And that book looks so amazing. Great post too ~ the part about the eternal playmate gave me a little shiver.

Happy New Year, Donna!!! :)

Ribbon said...

I have not painted made or done any art practice for a long while and therefore the 'it' will be further away when I next decide to play again.

I like what you are sharing here.

best wishes
Ribbon

Pam said...

Donna, both you and Gail Reike strike such a chord with me. I love what you create. Very much.

Studio Sylvia said...

Thanks for the introduction to Joseph Cornell, an artist with whom I am not familiar.
For me, 'It' can arrive at the oddest times and in the most unusual places - a catalyst can sneak up at the most unexpected moment and grab my muse.

BLACK AND WHITE said...

What a beautiful pictures! Happy New Year, Donna!

Marie said...

I've enjoyed your blog very much but have never left a comment. Yesterday after I read your post I went into town & there was a gigantic banner hanging at the local library which said:"it" is at the library! Life is so dream-like sometimes!
In response to your question about "it", I like the idea of re-imagining "it" as a "who" instead. That kind of imagining opens up all kinds of new possibilities and questions. My "who" changes from one muse to another depending on 'who' rules the day or intention. When she grows silent, I know I havn't been listening.

alteredbits said...

gorgeous christmas present!! and those books look fantastic -- i love joseph cornell and was extremely lucky to unexpectedly pop into an art museum that had some of his work a couple of years ago.

also, i meant to email you back a couple of days ago and say "yes, that sounds fantastic!!" either by friday or next month is perfect. enjoy your weekend visit if i don't speak with you before then!!

Coffee Messiah said...

Sounds like an interesting book!

And anything print related, old type etc is always a plus.

We have an old friends who has a garage full of press's and equipment.
Need to see him soon again.

Last trip he was fixing an old linotype and it should be up and running now.

Made a short clip and is on the youtube and a few posts back I think.

Cheers!

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

I think your quote says so much about 'it'... I too have a friend in 'it' and a monster in 'it' and knowing when the 'it' is finally in place is not always easy for me. Sometimes days before I recognize 'it' or someone might point 'it' out to me that I have painted 'it' I think 'it' is a language of the heart. Love this post!

Maggie Neale said...

Yes, Donna, your post is so well constructed, layered, and informative with the magic of "it'. Love the reminder of Joseph Cornell and the comments your post has brought up. Leslie's it and mine are similar. A feeling of satisfaction when I've made "it" and searching when I'm not there yet.

Seth said...

An intriguing post as always. I do love Joseph Cornell and I have been lucky enough to have visited Gail in her studio. And I LOVE these objects that you are highlighting here. Your home and studio must be one inspiring place!!

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Unknown said...

Finally, I've made a Hannelore Baron website: http://www.hannelorebaron.net/
Still some corrections & formatting to do, but it's 95% done. Please send a link to anyone you know who would be interested - now that I've made the site I have no idea how to let people know.
Thanks,
Mark (Hannelore's son)