Can Theme Alone Qualify as a Consistent Body of Work?
In my last blog posting, I discussed what is typically considered a “consistent body of work.” For most art critics and gallerists, consistency generally refers to the recognizability of an artist’s work. This relates to the artist maintaining a consistency of style, color schemes, process, form, degree of abstractionism and other elements. My own work consists of five separate series. Within each series there is a consistency that is easily recognizable. However, the series themselves vary wildly from one to another. Here is an example from three of the series to illustrate the range of styles and other criteria between each series.
Organic Aluminum series
“Canopic Jar #5”
Artifacts From a Former World series
Obviously, the three series differ from one another. But, within each series the sculptures have enough similar elements that each of the three series could be considered a consistent body of work.
However, I’ve created a sixth series, titled “It’s About Time.” In this series, my goal was not to arrive at a consistent look and feel to each piece but to explore my fascination with the concept of time. Ever since I can remember, time has been a vast puzzlement to me. And now, as I’ve gotten older, this puzzlement has only increased. When I look in the mirror at a white-headed man, it’s hard to imagine that this aging presence had once been a cute little baby. In fact, my first sculpture in the series, “I’ll Never Understand Time,” was created to explore this very thought. The work juxtaposes a baby’s body, based on an actual photo of me as an infant, with my current head.
“I’ll Never Understand Time”
Original photo composite for “I’ll Never Understand Time”
With this sculpture as a beginning, I began further exploring the concept of time. In the series, I wanted to portray the changes and dissolution that are the result of the passing years. Sculptures in the series are of two types. The first group consists of self-portraits based upon the idea of time, such as “I’ll Never Understand Time,” and “I’ll Never Understand Time II,” which depicts a head of the present me with the head of me at about seven years old.
“I’ll Never Understand Time II”
Other works in the series, like “As Sure as Death and Taxes,” incorporate materials from my daily life in order to fix a period of time into a tangible form. This particular piece consists of tax forms and returns from the year of my retirement combined with a wooden coffin made from leftover beech flooring from when I refloored my office.
“As Sure as Death and Taxes”
Another piece in the series that consists of items from my everyday life is “It Will All Come Out in the Wash.” This piece is composed of dryer lint that I collected for a year attached to a section of log from an apricot tree in my back yard.
“It Will All Come Out in the Wash”