paper and found objects collage on cardboard panel
gregory a. milinovich
so i remember walking through an art museum in washington d.c. when i was 16. i was impressed with the romanticism of some the art, and even more impressed by the realism of other art. i was drawn to those paintings and sculptures that closely imitated the world as i saw it. but i also remember seeing some other, i assume more modern, peices that looked like someone spilled paint on a big canvas (a la jackson pollack). i was unimpressed. i mean, at 16 i considered myself void of any creative or artistic ability and i thought to myself, "even i could spill paint on a canvas. how is this art?"
a few years later, while in college, i read an article by derek webb in which he wrote of this very same experience happening to him. he was looking at some modern art with a friend and he said, "anyone could have painted this." his friend's response really made him think: "yes, anyone could make it, but only one person did."
you may look at the collage above, or at any of my collages, and say to yourself, "what's the big deal? i could glue random bits of paper and objects together." believe me, i've asked myself this question (what's the big deal?) many times. but what i keep coming back to is that what makes art art is not that it is difficult to make. what makes a creation 'good art' isn't necessarily technical craftmanship. madeline l'engle says good art is that which makes cosmos out of chaos, that is (in my interpretation), it takes what may seem like unspeakable meaninglessness mingled with a desperate hopelessness and risks finding some meaning and truth and love and hope in the midst of it. i love that idea. i want to be that artist! i want to risk it all to help myself and others believe that there is hope, that there is a reason, that there truth and beauty and joy even in the midst of death and sorrow and pain and grief.
but the question that i continue to wrestle with is: is what i am making actually doing this? am i making art that is creating cosmos out of chaos?
i don't know the answer to this question, but i continue to wrestle with it. as i consider this "garbage" series of collages that i am sharing with you this week, i remember that when i made them, as an artist, i really was trying to say something meaningful. and so i wonder further if it is enough that the artist is trying to say something meaningful, or does the art have to be successful in some way? and if so, how is success measured in this context? if a peice isn't aesthetically pleasing to you, is it poor, or 'bad art?' if it fails to say what the artist intended, is it bad art? does it fail? if it is incredibly simple in its form or construction, is it poor? as a person who is daring to be vulnerable by gluing things together in a way that audaciously tries to say something meaningful, and who even more audaciously calls it art, i ask myself these questions regularly.
i have not reached any conclusions, yet. but i keep seeking. i keep knocking. i keep asking. i keep wrestling. and i keep gluing.