ON MAKING ART
by Judith Ren-Lay
circa '70's photo by Jed Devine
My first form was dance – the body as instrument, life force as material, a compositional awareness defined by the complexities and interactions of space, time and energy. This grounding in an aesthetic language of the human body, gave rise to acts of being one with all materials, in a constantly active and changing process, reorganizing the elements at hand, restructuring meaning as it is found in moments of occurrence.
circa '70's photo by Jed Devine
I focus on connections, what brings elements together and what pulls them apart. I traverse the gaps between reality and desire, actuality and dream, possibility and fantasy, while maintaining a heightened, mindful state of deep awareness. I work with many divergent forms - language, sound, objects with physical properties, as well as movement, to discover structure in the combining process. Through relationship and context, new meaning is affected, as I give myself over to forces that inform my search for choices that illuminate the human condition in our present era of frantic fractal concerns lusting after all known forms of evil distraction.
A project begins with just the tiny seed of an idea – a thought, a fact, a word, a dream. Then gradually elements are added and constantly reconfigure the whole. As each addition finds a place and changes the direction to fully realize the growing demands of the developing idea, structures emerge. These structures are works of art. They contain our lives. Making art is a compulsion of identity and meaning, constantly shifting.
It is the connection between forms and not the forms themselves that has defined my line of inquiry, evolving through creating and showing a varied and extensive body of original works of choreography, performance art, music, poetry, interactive installation, digital photography, drawing and small sculpture.
1984 photo by Adam Peacock
How does one persist in processing life into work, surviving creatively against all odds, to live in a constant state of process and practice? I have kept a prolific journal for 50 years - my primary source material.
Of the life and the work. Of the survival, sometimes under unexpected umbrellas. Of how close and how real and how far it goes towards being the same - or a re-enactment of something happening to make it happen. Of more than one time doing it and of being well fed under the strain. Of a way of bringing others into the wave of its motion and sifting through the variations of discovery. Voices filter through the saturation of stimulation, demonstrating ways. Impulses and frightened necessities curl out. Self-importance is replaced by only a fleeting crumbling need to occasionally demonstrate, seeking a rather oblique angle with warm reminders. There are chemical surges in the system that are ongoing in regularity and intensity; the playing out of emotions. Like furtive poltergeists, they inhabit head and guts, even crawling up the spine, digging into the shoulder blades with an arresting dynamic that isn't observed in the usual run of choices, requesting the observer to take a look which might have the affect of changing thought, bringing into focus some aspect of living that unites body and mind with feeling, a task of recognition and development, of communication and epiphany, of ritual and realization. I give myself over to choices that illuminate life.