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Collecting as Nourishment

Roberta Smith, The New York Times art critic, recently wrote (April 03, 2019) "Art is Where the Home Is," an article about "the nourishing aspects of objects in artists' lives." She refers to artists' collections shown at two NYC galleries.

Smith lists artists' likely collectables: "furniture, artifacts, ceramics, works by other artists...." These objects, she says, "highlight an artist's personal or aesthetic connections (or both)....and [seeing them in this exhibit] forms a meditation on some of the ways artists sustain themselves and their art."

Why we live with certain objects and not others is often obvious, but then again, consider what you are likely to collect, even in small ways. What do those objects really mean?

One of my art instructors said every woman artist she knew had a collection of containers, small covered decorative boxes, and also, she noted, many painted on a grid. I happen to know more women who collect beautiful rounded stones from beaches, as I do. I do not have a collection of boxes, but I do have works by other artists and more than a usual number of ceramic vases; I have only once painted on a grid. The vases are lovely and pleasing to look at, and it is easy to leave thoughts of them there.

However, I see them more deeply for their fullness, their subtle varying rounded shapes in a world of sharp corners and edges; they seem to be rather pregnant, promising, open-ended containers, smooth and soothing.

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