Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Personal Struggle with Symmetry

I have a confession: I love the messy asymmetry many artists achieve in their chosen media - and I cannot make myself do it. When I collaged a small piece of furniture, it's probably the closest I've come to "random" but it doesn't have the "messiness" I admire in others. And I struggled with it, and the mosaic top.

I'm not sure if it's an inability to quit while I'm ahead (adding one more element and ruining the thing) or if it's that too much randomness is disquieting. Symmetry, regularity, predictability... these things are soothing. Asymmetry, randomness, unpredictability... it's exciting, vibrant, fluid. Does that mean I am boring and stagnant??

I was never a good math student; numbers confound me even now. Geometry, however, that was pretty clear and easy. Long proofs (where I would prove every single thing in a diagram when I only needed to find the proof to solve the question) were actually kinda fun... and confounded my geometry teacher, who had to wade through all the information to see if I'd proven what I was supposed to. (An added bonus, that. Sorry, Mr. Shafer, I really couldn't help myself.) I remember him telling us through our algebra and geometry classes that math was essential to our lives. Well he was a math teacher, of course he believed that. But I'm finding that math is really a huge part of what I do with my art, even though I don't intend it to be.

The quilts I've been working on have a single large central focal piece, with four smaller things in the corners. But would the world end if I put that focal piece off-center, or *gasp* off-kilter? If the entire piece is dynamic and fluid and exciting, wouldn't that take the focus off the centerpiece, from which I've built the rest of it? Undoubtedly, I'm overthinking the whole thing, but I'm reasonably certain that this will be a learning experience, both in technique, and personally.

Edited: More photos of the sides.

The bits and pieces on the sides are torn scrapbook paper, postage stamps, mulberry paper, dictionary definitions, artificial greenery and flowers, molded resin pieces, recycled greeting cards, colored transparent plastic discs, adhesive rhinestones, etc.

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