Learning to let go and not worry about the end result
Several years ago, I participated in a group exhibition called “Edge”. The curator asked the artists to challenge themselves by finding new ways of working — literally an “edge”.
In response, I set out to free myself from too much thinking. I gently asked my narrative, representational impulses to take a rest. This new piece would be abstract, and fuelled by the joy of worry-free making. I said, “Let’s see what happens when a piece is invited to make itself!” But how to achieve this?
Let's see what happens when a piece is invited to make itself!
A description of the process sounds rather convoluted, but it flows intuitively in practice. It’s a bit like keeping a visual diary. To start off, I divided a panel into 100 equal squares, and concealed each square under a numbered piece of paper. For 100 consecutive days, I picked a number by lottery, uncovered only that square, and filled it with a tiny painting or collage. Immediately it was hidden again under its paper blanket. To keep the piece from having a dominant orientation, the panel was rotated daily a quarter-turn clockwise. Only after the one hundredth day were the paper covers allowed to come off, revealing the finished piece. Surprise!
Exhilarated from both the process and the result of the first 100 Days project, I was sparked to do it again, multiple times over several years.
Once, I introduced circles as a daily theme just for fun. As soon as it was was unveiled, I knew immediately that it was the start of a series of nine unified, interchangeable panels – a full 900 Days.
The final 900 Days panel was completed just prior to the Lyceum Gallery show in April 2022, the first time that all 900 tiny paintings were seen together.