Preserving the Record:
Recognizing that the medium of polymer would mature into a respected art form, I began years ago collecting documentary materials, including a library of slide images, so that the early history of our medium could be preserved. Many of those “polymer pioneers” became dear friends, and I wanted to make sure that their names and achievements would get full recognition and respect as the artists who laid the foundation for our flourishing art form.
My goal is for this site to become an essential reference, the go-to site for the serious study of polymer art, a resource for museum curators, collectors, publication editors and art historians. It would give me delight to know that PolymerArtArchive.com can be found on thousands of “Favorites” lists of those desiring to discover not just the FACTS about ART made from POLYMER, but also to achieve a greater understanding about the origins and relationships that have generated wonderful polymer art in our time.
That said, I want to emphasize that vetting and accuracy are paramount to me. Because we don’t have a staff to search out and verify every last technical variation or piece of historical minutia, we’ll seek instead to be the site of record for the primary foundations and key relationships in the artistic growth of our medium.
Recording artistic history is not so much a matter of listing facts as it is about: (1) Studying relationships and connections – showing how one form/technique/discovery inspired the next. (2) Revealing how current artistic expressions are rooted in early discoveries and invention; how one artist may have refined or reinterpreted a predecessor’s work. (3) Providing a context in which to discuss, assess and understand current artistic expression.
My husband, like most of us who grew up in the 60’s, carries on an intimate relationship with newspapers, especially The New York Times. Fingering those pages, flipping from section to section, has a sensory appeal that has gripped him since childhood. And when I mention the fact that today’s generation of younger readers no longer buys print newspapers but simply reads The Times online, he scowls in recognition that the glory days of wood pulp may have passed. Knowing my own agenda in this matter, I just sit back and smile.
Which is my way of shouting HOORAY for the advent of blogging software. Back in the 60’s, if you wanted to see your words in print, you were at the mercy of a publishing house that produced books, magazines and newspapers. Elbowing your way into one of those publications took not only talent, but grit, endurance and compromise.
How much easier today, with a website like this. We begin with that same level of talent, of course. But if I find errors in one of our articles, corrections can appear within the span of keystrokes. Unlimited by space restrictions and production costs, our record of artistic history can grow as it needs to, based on the importance of content not budgetary or marketing concerns. And there’s plenty of space for me to invite those early pioneers to tell their story in their own words.
The blogging software provides an easy way to amass and organize vast amounts of data. As we write, the category and tag systems within WordPress software will build a vast index. In time, you will be able to search within the archive for information by date, artist, or technique. As the database grows, you will be able to access information about relevant publications, professional organizations and key events in the development of our medium.
Elevating the discussion:
Since the emphasis in my title is as much on ART as it is on ARCHIVE, it seemed logical to include posts which address aesthetic study of actual work. To this end we’re thankful to have as a colleague on this site, our critic and discussion moderator, Rachel Carren, whose credentials include a PhD. in Art History. Initially Rachel will draw upon a reservoir of almost five thousand images from my slide library as well as from my personal collection and the collection of Nan Roche. With your support, we’ll be able to enhance and expand this base of visual material.
Recently, I’ve heard the recurring lament from fellow colleagues that they long for a place to discuss design issues, and a way to engage in highly thoughtful critique.
My intent is to shortly develop a forum here that caters specifically to the needs and interests of professional polymer artists. I envision the PAA Forum as a gathering place for the discussion of design, inspiration, exhibition and curatorial issues, technical problem solving and advanced levels of critique.