Even before written history, human beings manifested an undeniable urge to make marks on all kinds of surfaces. Witness the cave art from Lascaux, Altamira and that more recently captured by Werner Herzog in his fascinating documentary, “Cave of Forgotten Dreams.” The more than 30,000-year-old drawings in Chauvet Cave, Ardeche, France, not only predate written history, but also perspective. Yet their makers have eloquently captured motion and form and evidence a real understanding of anatomy. As we view them in 3-D, they come alive--as alive as if they were drawn yesterday. And we respond. Why? Why were they made? And why do humans continue their endless mark making even now?
“Why do Artists Make Art?” probes the reasons for our frenetic desire to make marks and create art. It is the first in a series of three “Artists on Art” talks by contemporary “mark makers,” whose works are part of three “Mining the Unconscious” exhibitions unfolding in Santa Fe and Cerrillos. The exhibitions and talks, offered free of charge to the public, are among more than 20 other community programs that compose the Mining the Unconscious project. (For details: www.miningtheunconscious.org)
Moderator for “Why do Artists Make Art?” , slated for Friday, July 15th, is artist Donna Ruff. She is a contributing faculty member at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. She has challenged her panelists not to give the obvious “Because I have to” answer, but to dig deeper by asking themselves what happens when they don’t make art? was art valued and practiced in their families? why did they choose their particular form of expression and their materials? do they consider their work a spiritual practice? and many other challenging thoughts that evoke a deeper response. Panelists include Santa Fe artists Lisa de St. Croix, Taylor Oliver and Eliza Schmid, as well as Albuquerque artists Raymond Petersen and Barbara Shapiro.
The second “Artists on Art” program explores “How does art affect/reflect culture?” It’s slated for Friday, July 22 and panel moderator is Kathleen McCloud. McCloud is a visual artist and writer/audio producer for museum exhibitions, including the Vancouver Art Gallery, Dayton Art Institute and Herbert Johnson Museum/Cornell University as well as for multiple programs for the Library of Congress. Her panelists include Farmington artist Michael Billie, Santa Fe artists Sallyann Paschall and Iris Vazquez and Jemez Springs artist Betsie Miller-Kusz. The panelists have been asked to address how ritual fits into their work, whether landscape holds symbols and information unique to an area, impacting the culture of that place, and whether their art addresses contemporary culture or speaks more to myth.
“What is the role of the unconscious in creativity?” is the concluding program in the “Artists on Art “series. Its panel is moderated by Anne Farrell, Retired Chair of Media Arts for the Santa Fe Community College. Farrell’s panelists include Albuquerque artist Ralph Greene and Santa Fe artists Joe Griffo, John Hogan, Caroline Williams and Stan Yeatts. Panelists will bring the Mining the Unconscious discussions full circle as they address the role of the unconscious in their own work.
All “Artists on Art” dialogs begin at 7:00 PM at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design Annex , 1600 St. Michael’s Drive and will conclude by 9:00 PM