So it's finally arrived, the day I've dreaded since I started this painting thing - I have to categorise my work. This brings up the spectre of Genre, and the tricky process of naming my paintings. Why have I shirked from this before? Well I have only come to see my paintings as different types as I have painted more and more - and the links and differences have become more apparent. As for names, the topics and subjects have not followed a specific plan or aim, they have arrived out of experience and experiment, so names have not jumped out. I guess the main reason I have avoided this task, however, is mainly because it places the conflicting sides of me against each other: the artist verses the critic!
The artist finds all this a pain - the Work is the Work; the meaning, message, the response is all down to the receiver, let them find what they will in the Work. All I need to do is find the inspiration, follow my instinct and the Work reveals itself as it develops. It is not my job to dictate to the viewer what a moment means to me, it is about their own journey and how the Work fits into that!
Ah yes, says the critic, but you must engage with your audience, allow them a glimpse into your understanding, arrange and decode your thoughts for them. Give them names and rules by which to appreciate what they see. You as an artist have a responsibility to give multiple points of engagement, to have a dialogue with those who you wish to invest in your work.
At which point my writer butts in: titles can be creative, they provide another layer of imagination and guide the artist too. The work is part of a greater story, it is beheld in many eyes and needs to utilise every technique that Art allows to stimulate a reaction in imagination.
Bog off! Yells the artist (he's quite rude). Well really, exclaims the critic, and the writer, although delighting in the exchange of dialogue, calls the artist an ill mannered bore, ducking as a paint pot splatters against the wall, covering the critic, who replies by hurling a poison pen in the direction of the artist. Years of high living count against the critic as his throw is revealed to be pathetically weak, the pen only managing to stab the writer in the back, causing him to knock his typewriter on the artists foot, crippling him.
Naturally this conflict can often lead to a Marx Brothers film of paralysis in my head; however at the end, covered in Jackson Pollock, the three stumble out, and hand me a crumpled piece of paper on which are a list of names. I open my mouth, note the look in the artist's eye, and quietly pocket it as they walk off in various states of huff.