Sarah Fagan's February Blog Post: All Art Is Quite Useless

March 2, 2016 by Laura

-written by Saran Fagan,
2015-2016 Artist-in-Residence

"All art is quite useless." Thus states playwright Oscar Wilde in the introduction to his sole novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray

I tend to agree.

Perhaps a gentler way to put it is to quote one of Concord's own, Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Beauty is its own excuse for being." There can be pressure on contemporary art to serve some other immediately pertinent societal or political purpose. If we allow ourselves to see a multitude of meaning in a single work of art, Wilde's quote rings true. 

I love that art can be amorphous, full of so much more than a single intention. I feel this is why I am drawn to the color white and a use of empty space in my work as of late. In conjunction with accompanying objects that have some innate "blank slate" quality, like glass bottles or envelopes, I wish to push this idea of "possibility" that each viewer gets to complete.

A recent turning point for me came when I took apart a small soapbox. The functional object turned into a beautiful shape, like a puzzle piece. As I literally deconstructed my subject, I found a satisfying affinity for the "almost" utilitarian vessel. I see this new form as a blueprint for a box. A thing that could be a box one day, and could be useful and hold something some day after that. But now, it is pure potential. 

Useless, you could say.

And for some reason, the completed composition feels like one of the most important pieces of art I have created to date. Oscar Wilde may be onto something.


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