Barbara Cone

About the Artist

artist Barbara Cone

I’ve always believed that an artist’s work should speak for itself. I love questions about my work, but an artist statement is another matter. It’s not about a specific work or series. It’s about philosophy and process, which are more difficult to describe. There may be people out there who are drawn to reading artist statements, and in truth it means a lot to any artist that a viewer would care enough, be interested enough, to want to look at the work and read what the artist has said about it, so I will do my best.

I am interested in a lot of things and I experiment with materials. A lot. For me, the ideas themselves dictate what I use to make the work. A need to say something is where it starts. While the idea is forming in my head of what I want to say, what I should use to make the work — wax, foam, oil stick, inks, old photo-graphs, found objects, film footage, video, hardware store odd and ends- comes at exactly the same time. As the idea takes shape, so does the list of materials I will need. As the image of the finished work becomes clearer and clearer, I have to figure out how to get there.

Some materials are easier to adapt to a purpose for which they were never intended than others. Since most of the time I am experimenting and adapting materials, there is a steep learning curve with lots of trial and error. My first efforts, often representing weeks of work, may be a bit awkward or messy. I often feel at this stage that my ability to make things, my technical ability, is simply not up to the job. But what pushes me forward through the frustration is that image in my head, that thing that wants to come into being if only I can make it happen.

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