I've always had mixed feelings about artist statements. Sometimes, I understand their function; they can help clarify and prepare the audience for things that they may not have much knowledge about. Other times, however, their purpose can seem as if it's to cloud already amorphous ideas so that the artwork appears to be "smart" or "complex". This is usually done by using obscure usages for uncommon words. It drives me crazy.
Last fall, I read this article about the phenomenon of bizarre language in the contemporary art world. It's well written: funny, interesting, informative, and surprising. I highly recommend reading it for those who are frustrated with the current confusing language in art, or for those who are simply just curious.
So, here is my attempt at creating an artist statement that I think fits the content of my work, but is also an attempt to work conceptually with my art:
On Baldknobbers: Truth, Fiction, and Construction
Taney County still holds the name of those men who sat up on Snapp’s Bald in 1883.With flashing lights and TV commercials, Branson gives a nod to the folks who swore to protect life and property from bushwhackers and Cole Younger’s gang. Though they’re not the same sorts of folks that are seen today. The Baldknobbers that reside in Branson are old men who sing songs about teddy bears and apple blossoms and the delta that they’ve never seen. They make faces where they suck in their lips and puff out their cheeks. They snap their neon suspenders and say things like “aw, shucks”. Those new-age, old-aged Baldknobbers show no sign of hoods or horns or fire. They don’t show the group of vigilantes that first protected, then grew too large to control and went far beyond the punishment of Matthew 5:38. In an attempt to bury the past, the stories of the Snapp’s Bald vigilantes have muddled truth with fiction. Now most of what’s heard of them is a group of bumbling old men, sold to tourists that come to the Ozarks for some comfortable taste of “redneck country”.
It's certainly not perfect, but I think it starts to point towards becoming art in its own right, which seems far more interesting than creating something that's confusing or dull or both.