The Metamodern Work of Now

On January 6th, a new semester began at SCAD. (Savannah College of Art and Design). I look forward to interacting with most of my classmates because while we are all very different people, some of the most thought-provoking, intellectual conversations I've ever heard have happened within the pages of our discussion boards. Within the first day, I was hit with a term I'd never heard of: metamodernism.

Metamodernism believes in reconstructing things that have been deconstructed with a view toward reestablishing hope and optimism in the midst of a period (the postmodern period) marked by irony, cynicism, and despair.

Generally speaking, metamodernism reconstructs things by joining their opposing elements in an entirely new configuration rather than seeing those elements as being in competition with one another. If postmodernism favored deconstructing wholes and then putting the resulting parts in zero-sum conflict with one another—a process generally referred to as “dialectics”—metamodernism focuses instead on dialogue, collaboration, simultaneity, and “generative paradox” (this last being the idea that combining things which seem impossible to combine is an act of meaningful creation, not anarchic destruction). Metamodernists will often say that they “oscillate” between extremes, which really just means that they move so quickly between two extremes that the way they act incorporates both these two extremes and everything between them. The result is something totally new. (Source.)

In one of the classes, the main project is to create a High Modern work. My work is normally abstract realism, but I do tend to dive into non-objective imagery from time to time. I've had people comment on what I do with color and line as "interesting" or "cool," but nobody becomes a beloved artist for just making beautiful art that is "interesting" or "cool." It seems like most artists that find big success in the world of modern art are troubled in some way. I'm a middle-class white woman. I've known very little trouble in my life, generally speaking. How do I go about eliminating stagnancy within my work; developing work that is innovative and visually powerful?

When I sat down with a sketchbook to cultivate ideas for this grand project, I drew a blank. Then I sat down with a paintbrush, to do what I do best--paint a colorful animal (a cow)....and it just happened.

My life is happy. I have a nice husband, a farm, three kids, great jobs, healthcare and the ability to support my recreational shopping habit. But one thing plagues me: makes it so I can't work, can't paint, can't even really take care of my kids. Migraines. Not headache migraines. Migraines where I can't see well, I can't talk, I can't feel my hands or my face. I had one of these this past Monday. I had to have my husband come get me from school. It came to me in the morning--with blurry gray lines obstructing my vision. It then progressed to me being unable to put any words together clearly. My students looked scared. I felt scared, even though it's happened before. My arms then went numb, my face followed. I was able to contact my husband well enough to get him to come pick me up.

So here it is. This is my connection to the world of metamodern artwork. How the hell do a cow and a migraine fit together? They don't. How do you depict this intense feeling of not being in control of your own body?

Well, my friends, this is how I did it:

This is the best visual depiction I could provide for a migraine. From nonsense "words" scribbled in the background, the gray, broken-glass-looking marks throughout the work and the intense colors. The perspective is skewed and even slightly odd to look at. This is my interpretation of the odd feeling others experience when they witness one of these episodes. I am looking forward to pushing this concept as I move forward. Trying to even more accurately capture the essence of this neurological phenomena.

Make sure you follow me on Instagram so you can stay up-to-date with what I'm working on!

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