Work In Progress, Formerly Titled: I Don’t Think So

Here’s a little of the story behind some new things I’ve been making. They are a new configuration of an old artwork that’s been haunting me for a while. The initial painting, pictured below in an unfinished state, was originally intended as part of my series According to Gooogle. It was going to display a collage of images a web search produced for the word “perfect.” I worked on it for some time and was even falling in love with some aspects of it, but one day I got fed up with the idea of making rules part of my artwork. I felt compelled to make fun of myself by graffiti-ing my own painting. I didn’t think this painting or idea was perfect at all and declared so, backwardly, in big black letters which bled through the reverse side of the piece.

Elisha Sarti - Work In Progress - 2013
Elisha Sarti, Work in progress, 2013.
Larger image: here

It felt great at the time to impetuously scrawl these huge words, I DON’T THINK SO, but the joke turned out to be a paradox. The painting was now a problem that can’t be solved, a big ugly catch-22. I tried painting out the words a bit but that wasn’t right. For a while I thought maybe its un-perfection is actually perfect, in a zen as-it-is sort of way. But, no… Try as I might, even over the course of a few years and in three different locations, I could not accept it as is. Parts of it were visually appealing, but its essence was pure cynicism and that hardly counts as art.

Elisha Sarti - Work In Progress - 2013
Elisha Sarti, Work in progress, 2013.
Larger image: here

In a new surge of rashness, I decided if this painting isn’t art, I instead deem it art supplies. I chose to unstretch it and cut it up, with no particular end in mind, other than a confidence similar to that conveyed this quote from Al Held: “One of the profound powers of the artist is that he can will or choose to become anything he wills or chooses. It doesn’t come from his soul, or from his genes, it comes from his choices. And those choices are infinite and hopeful.”

Elisha Sarti - Work In Progress - 2013
Elisha Sarti, Work in progress, 2013.
Larger image: here

Anyway, now I’m using the cut up pieces of it to make these new acrylic and collage on wood pieces, which I’m really enjoying. There is a sense of shifting movement and mystery surrounding the assortment and arrangement of materials: is it painting, is it collage, is it drawing, is it woodcut, is it printed, is it canvas, is it paper? Here’s a few more photos of these new pieces in progress… hope you enjoy them too.

Elisha Sarti - Work In Progress - 2013
Elisha Sarti, Work in progress, 2013.
Larger image: here

Elisha Sarti - Work In Progress - 2013
Elisha Sarti, Work in progress, 2013.
Larger image: here

Elisha Sarti - Work In Progress - 2013
Elisha Sarti, Work in progress, 2013.
Larger image: here

Elisha Sarti - Work In Progress - 2013
Elisha Sarti, Work in progress, 2013.
Larger image: here

Elisha Sarti - Work In Progress - 2013
Elisha Sarti, Work in progress, 2013.
Larger image: here

Elisha Sarti - Work In Progress - 2013
Elisha Sarti, Work in progress, 2013.
Larger image: here

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