Thursday, September 24, 2009

Things that make you go "hmmm"...

More than once I've been...accused is too strong a word, I guess, but it has been suggested, of taking stylistic liberties with someone else's ideas, borrowing, appropriating, stealing, call it whatever. I've never consciously done such a thing, but since there are no new ideas under the sun coincidences do happen. So I try to be understanding when I see elements I have introduced in my own work turning up in someone else's work. The problem is when the artist coincidently introducing those same elements has a higher profile than I do (which wouldn't take much). Then, when my work including those elements gets whatever recognition it has, it appears I have ripped off that artist, whose work is seen before and more often and publicly than mine.
So it is, with an element I introduced into my paintings about ten years ago.
Here's an example of the element:

It's a simple circle, achieved by loosely applying a circular surface with paint onto the surface of the piece. Here's the first example of my having used it in an abstract painting, in about 1999:

Here's an example of its application in a fairly recent landscape painting from a couple of years ago:

And here's the more recent application, from my current "Rooster Series":

Okay. I'm not accusing anyone of stealing a minor design element from me. The artist in question is one I've been personally acquainted with in the past, although I haven't seen her in several years. Her work is featured in the new issue of a prominent regional art magazine. The loose circular element is used as a design device throughout the article and is seen in one of the featured paintings. I first noticed this similarity in one of her paintings on view at a Santa Fe gallery I was visiting last year. Now it's a major element in a magazine profile of her work. So whatever exposure my paintings utilizing this element may receive in the future will appear to the uninformed to be taking an element she originated. This kind of thing happens, and is more often than not innocent, and I'm going to assume it is in this case. I'm not happy about, but pointing this out is all I can do about it, and I think it's an important thing to do.
So there.

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