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Re: [BKARTS] craft standards, poor books



Sort of reminds me of my studio mate's first critique as an MFA candidate.
The professor came in, looked at her drawing and asked, "Did you draw that
badly on purpose?"


-----Original Message-----
From: Book_Arts-L [mailto:BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Charles
Brownson
Sent: Monday, December 31, 2007 11:00 PM
To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: craft standards, poor books

I am trying to master a style of artists book I might call 'rustic' -- to
step outside the fine printing tradition of craft perfection. Think of the
Zen tea masters' preference for a bowl a little misshapen, with a glaze
which has dripped or crackled in firing. So the question is how to tell such
a thing from a book which is just badly made. I understand this is a
question freighted with Zen, equivalent to the master's uncanny ability to
assess the supplicant's degree of enlightenment, knowing when you've
captured the qi of a thing -- if you know it, then you know how, and until
you know it you can't find out how. I'm reasonably conversant with the
literature of aesthetics -- or I thought I was... The issue seems to be
related also to this unease with the limited reach of the medium of artists
books, that well-made equals decorous and that the expressive range and
power of the best painting and literature has not been captured and won't be
until we open
 ourselves to a much rougher, brawling, bigger style.

So -- does anyone know who has written about this? I mean when is a thing
'rough-hewn' and not just bad workmanship. The solitary source I can cite is
David Pye, The Nature and Art of Workmanship (Cambridge University Press,
1968) in which he distinguishes the workmanship of risk from the workmanship
of certainty. And some very remote material such as de Kooning's struggle to
paint Woman 1 and how we've never felt quite comfortable with it.

Charles
ocotilloarts.com




 
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