Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Elegance Of Concepts And The Clutter Of Execution

Over the past 3 months, I've done over 100 grid drawings and while it has led to an interesting series, I can't help but be introspective about the artistic process -- the time from which a concept is born to the time a piece is completed. After the problem had been defined, coming up with an elegant solution is what I try to get to next.  Elegance in art, the beauty of an idea, is not too different from mathematical proofs, where symmetry and simplicity trump process and neatness of execution.  I go back to an old college professor in spherical geometry, Dr. Glaser, who really emphasized the elegance of solving problems using the simplest of concepts.  The problem for this particular grid drawing was I needed to link each of 345 dots to exactly 8 other dots within its line of sight.  While I came up with the algorithm pretty quickly of how to execute the drawing in an elegant manner, it took me a good two days, off and on, to complete it.  I had to use a pencil in order to make sure my mistakes are not irreversible -- and I did make several.   The initial joy of finding the most elegant solution was quickly overshadowed by the frustration of keeping track of 345 dots.  In the end, I was pretty happy with the exercise because it made me realize that thinking of a novel idea won't get me anywhere unless I spend comparable time to the process of making my concept instantiated.  In art as in life, following up thoughts with plan of action do make a difference in achieving personal satisfaction.

Image: "345/8" (2010) Gel pen on 11"x17"

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