Ralph Eugene Meatyard
… he (Meatyard) knew very well
that a “word-bound, note-taking consciousness”
often blunted viewers’ ability to respond to his most abstract work.
The use of language seems to be self-evident.
Therefore viewers tend to prefer artists work that is easily explained,
not shockingly new, or that at least boasts with some obvious craftsmanship.
Most of us are accustomed to the non-rationality of music;
we readily expose us to its impact, other than in our dealings with works of fine art.
For some artists this might not have been a concern,
but while Meatyard wanted to follow the discoveries and emotive expressions of his art
as far as he could, he did not want to live in a private universe.
As he told his interviewer in 1970:
“This joke of saying, Well I just made it for myself;
nobody else is going to have to like it,’ is for the birds.
You want. . . many people to like it.
If nobody cares to look at your work,
producing art is like being alone on an island with nobody to speak to.
Believe it or not: that’s the fate of most artists.
Those who get some public response are a minority.
He (Meatyard) wanted his images to communicate but,
as many notes in his archive indicate,
he’d also like his viewers to try harder,
to become better educated in reading photographs so that more complicated
(and thus more rewarding) pictures and series of pictures would be open to them.
This blog is about reading pictures.
It is a blog about the adventure of becoming involved with the nonverbal,
just to translate this experience into words.
Perception, emotion, reflection.
The associative and non-rational combination of images is a procedure
everybody knows has tried to sequence images for a book or an exhibition.
My blog is all about the adventure
to hit the road without knowing where it leads to,
just to make an experience that is not predictable.
(More to come.)
All quotes by James Rhem.