The Phillips celebrates the fifth anniversary of its Intersections contemporary art series with Intersections@5, an exhibition comprising work by 20 of the participating artists. In this blog series, each artist writes about his or her work on view.
Jeanne Silverthorne, Dandelion Clock, 2012. Platinum silicon rubber, phosphorescent pigment on wire, 33 x 29 x 16 in. The Hereward Lester Cooke Memorial Fund, 2014. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC
Dandelion Clock is a contemporary vanitas, a reminder of transience and mortality. It is infected by signs of morbid excess (the giant size), decay (the faded or “blown” flower), and toxicity (it glows in the dark). Collapsing under the weight of history and new technologies, traditional studio practice is an excavation of the past, offering an archeology of loss. Flirting with the genre of the floral painting, Dandelion Clock embraces the baroque exuberance and post-modern melancholy of the nearly extinct.
Jean Bubley, director of the Esther Bubley Photography Archive, discusses the work of her aunt Esther Bubley featured in American Moments: Photographs from The Phillips Collection. Jean will give a gallery talk at the Phillips Thursday, August 27.
Screenshot of John F. Simon Jr.’s recent drawings, recorded in his online archive
I’ve always admired the dedication that comes with practicing “one-a-day.” I’ve tried my hand at it over the years: snap one photo a day, write one journal entry a day, I’m currently on a (cheesy) roll recording one grateful thought per day. Most of these attempts last a few months at best. So when I learned that Intersections artist John F. Simon Jr. creates one sketch per day, which he’s kept up for over 16 years (seven of which have been recorded on his online archive), I was mesmerized. I find that sort of artistic devotion so impressive, and it makes his work more meaningful for me. It gets to the “why” of art; the process behind Simon’s work serves a purpose beyond aesthetics. It’s a zen moment, it’s introspective, it’s meditative. As the artist describes it, “I make a drawing and then I write down what I think it’s about and the whole package tells me something about where my head is.”
Do you have a daily routine, art-related or otherwise, that serves as an opportunity to reflect or look inward?