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8. Absurdist Fun

MY PAST:


My sense of humor leans toward the absurd and illogical. Being surprised by something that connects with only the thinnest of threads: so fun! (Of course, if the thread breaks? Nice try but no.)


In the last month, I started a course with Michelle Luminato called “Origin Art” and, like many instructors, she’s hoping that artists will reconnect with what has been important in their lives. Whether it’s her approach or simply the timing of her prompts landing in my 52 year old ears, I am digging around and finding some newer and truer answers. The one that amazed me: that I have loved “the absurd” in art yet somehow I haven’t added those elements to my own art.


MY CURRENT QUESTION:


Could I take a work-in-progress and allow myself to add absurd collage elements? Would I end up with a piece for the trash bin or something that truly is a reflection of me?


I have a book of collage elements that can be cut out and glued down so I started there. I had a little cradle that I’d already started a layered abstract background on and it reminded me of a beach. Maybe there would be something in the collage book that asked to be featured? And there was!



See him? Standing quietly in the mix?


I call him Harold and he’s covered in tattoos. His stance is what I love, though. Instead of body language that knows he and his “artwork” are there to be the show for other beachgoers, he’s casual. He’s the antithesis of a bodybuilder who struts the beach.


To finish, I noticed this schmear of orange paint on a piece of paper and how it almost looked like a flexed arm with a fist curled in… but I turned it downward. Harold is NOT the flexing type.


Attempt #1 of allowing space for the absurd was so much fun!



For my next piece, I was making over a 12x12” wooden panel so it came to me with “history” which makes for a rich look but, more importantly, puts a few limitations on the completely open “fresh start” and, about half way through, I went to the collage book again.

In this piece, I was playing with papers and noticed that the little orange paper in the lower left was bird-shaped and looked like he was sitting on a little nest. My love of birds runs deep so my energy was instant.


“Birds of a Feather” isn’t absurdist except in that I have created my own little flock. Heading back to my collage book, I paged through and found this peacock and then, because “too much” is sometimes “just right,” I even added a little flyer headed to his nest.


So Attempt #2: I had so much fun with this piece. It’s combination of abstract and realism makes me smile.



Finally, this last piece is perhaps my most absurd yet– and perhaps the most meaningful to me.

I was layering papers and noticing patterns and suddenly I saw a football on a thin black arm. A female quarterback! This time in my collage book, I went specifically to find an old-fashioned 50s housewife head. Along the way, I found several other women as well as a female statue.


I think of this one as “Onward” because, as women, we’ve come a long way but we’re not fully there yet. Still, each of us– in our own way and in our own key moments– can channel that “we can” spirit and step into whatever next step is giving us pause. We can continue “Onward.” Step-by-step, small steps or big, equality’s path reaches farther. ♥️


What’s next?


I’ve been researching the history of Absurdism in Art and some key players and their work. So, going forward, I’d like to dive deeper, exploring the idea that contradictory versions of reality can invite us to look at life differently.


(*like life for this little kitten climbing the curtain vs for this cat who is a baked good. Poor guy. lol)



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