how we see
A provocative question for artists and critics, “how we see” is also an essential question for viewers of art. The average layperson walking into Tayloe Piggott Gallery to view the current show by Jacskon artists Suzanne Morlock and Susan Thulin may not have a subscription to Sculpture nor have read/seen John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, but they will have impressions and reactions nonetheless. One of the goals of Culture Front is to be a hub for all art lovers, from the viewer who feels intimidated by Morlock’s knitted wool ball peeking out from inside a pod of kintted reel-to-reel tape to the fiber artist with an MFA from a top-ranking art school.
Though I have written about art for publication, I am not trained as an art critic nor do I consider myself to be one. I lack a formal training that artists deserve from a critic. So as a passionate yet amateur art writer, I always start with what exactly do I see? And then, what does a piece of work make me feel? Take, for instance, Morlock’s signature piece for the Tayloe Piggott show, a sort of half-finished knitted wool dress entitled, “Mother.” Like Abbie Miller‘s work, Morlock’s creations are often misunderstood as simply whimsical. Yet neither artist, to my knowledge, is motivated by whimsy. Humor at times, but not silliness. And “Mother,” which narrows into a single thread where its hem should be, made me feel haunted. As with much viewing, this is likely my subjective response. But I trust – and other amateur viewers can trust as well – that my emotional reaction has something to do with the intention or story within the piece. Something in the juxtaposition of the soft, pale wool riven with unraveling bits, and only the front half or pattern of a dress, struck me as mournful, the ghost of perhaps a mother’s life.
Viewers from all backgrounds have the lucky opportunity to chat with Morlock and Thulin tomorrow (Thursday, May 10) at noon, for a lunch-hour discussion entitled “How We See.” Held at the gallery, the talk is free and open to all. Just bring a sack lunch.