Having just visited my grandmother, an artist herself who motivated and guided me throughout my artistic career, I was reminded of one of her most simple yet profound lessons: “leave it alone” – or in other words, don’t overwork an artwork.
Ignoring this maxim will tend to muddle and destroy any nuanced serendipities discovered during the process, and it also limits the ability for the audience to lend their own imagination towards connecting the dots and mentally filling out the fictional space. Not to mention, this approach of “leaving it alone” also lends a more open respect for the process (the fact that the artist’s imagination was negotiated with a chosen media).
I only just discovered the wonderful career of Philip Jackson whose figurative sculptures adhere to this rule quite well – just imagine how this work would change if there were actual faces peering out from below the hoods!
During this same trip I was able to run by the Harvard Art Museum where I was quite impressed by the number of Rodin’s sculptures – an artist quite renown for leaving traces of his process embedded within his forms. Rodin’s Eternal Idol: