Blog: In Freedom - Revealed
Posted on October 12 2020
Featured image (detail view): Engineered Spaces
Recently I’ve been organizing my artwork archives for my website. I was struck by how much my artwork has changed over a lifetime of creating. Take my landscapes as an example. I have always painted landscapes – from my earliest creations right up until today. Looking back over the evolution of my landscapes we can see how my artwork, my mark making, my journey has become more free.
As my career progressed I worked with interior designers to make paintings with an assigned color palette to match a client’s sofa. While I was creating these works I was learning, working, hoping for something more. There was very little bliss in what I was doing. I put food on the table, I helped pay the rent, I helped support my family and our dreams. Those were my values at the time.
Those days were important steps on my journey. They were necessary. While my family no longer struggles to pay for food and rent, I still value my family and I am still creating landscapes. I am blessed that I no longer “have” to create, but rather I choose to create. Because of this change, I don’t know if I would still consider those early works “art” in the way I do now. I did what needed to be done at the time. I didn’t have a choice - I was unable to do things differently even if I wanted to (and I did want to).
As I look back, I see that time is an integral and essential part of the foundation I stood upon as I moved forward. Because of that foundation I can stand firm today, knowing what I want for my artwork and for myself. Today I think differently. I move forward, with experience and perspective, and continually ask – is that art?
What we choose to put on our walls says a lot about us. Some people simply choose something they like that matches. Who made it, what it means – these things don’t matter. It is just inexpensive décor that works with the couch or the carpet. Other people choose based on the character of the work, who made it, what is important to them. They value what the artist puts into the work. These choices show the character of the collector – and to the artist, these choices matter.
A work of art should reveal the values of the artist. The same goes for the art lover – their values are revealed by what they choose to collect. Each is subjective. Each has values and opinions based on their experiences and foundations.
Wind Beneath My Wings by Christine Alfery (2020)
So what is revealed in my work today? Hopefully my artwork reveals that I value choice, freedom, uniqueness, one of a kindness, originality, and independence from conformity to the thoughts or influence of others. My artwork today also reveals my history and foundations – it shows how much I have learned over a lifetime of creating.
Our Connections by Christine Alfery (2019)
As an artist I wasn’t revealed in those early works, but they are part of who I am today. I may not consider them “art” by my current standards, but those creations are a vital part of my journey. Without them, without the street fairs, without the interior designers, I would have never started, practiced, learned – yearned - and figured out what it was I DID value as an artist. I would have never figured out how to reveal myself in a work of art. I would have never found those lovers of the arts who reveal themselves through their collections.
Christine Alfery's Where Sky And Water Meet in a collector's home
Today I value those art lovers who tell me “I see you in the work”. They say something kind. The ask me to tell them about myself. They ask about my art and my journey. And in the process I learn about them. Sharing what we value, revealing our true selves – that is what real art is all about. Through the freedom of what we value, what we create, what we collect, we are revealed. Through art we are revealed.