Sunday, December 12, 2010

What's in a Name?

Fission - Detail
20" x 80"

I was once asked how I come up with the titles for my pieces. Do I have a title in mind when I begin working or does it comes after the piece is completed?  I had to laugh at this question because coming up with titles for my work is probably the most excruciating exercise for me.  For most works I have a very difficult time coming up with a title. I dislike works that have long names – pretty much a sentence for a title. To me that leaves no room for the viewer’s interpretation or for the viewer to make their own story about the piece.  I like to use titles that are only one or two words.  In thinking about the pieces I have done there are very few that have been titled prior to the piece being started.  I think I don’t have a title in mind before starting because inevitably the work has a different idea of what it wants to be called! Sometimes the piece whispers its name during the making process.  That helps direct my endeavors in completing the work.  Sometimes the work has been finished for quite a while – it seems that I have to ponder about what the piece says to me before I can give it a name or title.  I like to use words that are not normally heard in casual conversations such as Frangible or Ephemeral. I also like words that may have more than one meaning or meanings that are rather obscure - not one that is normally associated with the word.  The viewer has to go outside of their comfort zone to understand the relationship between the word and the work.