Artist Statement

Making things is an important aspect of living, and the constant pull of creativity is not limited to people who call themselves artists. This tenet is at the core of my activity. Though I love art history, art history does not explain the creative impulse as a phenomenon to anyone who endeavors to make things. It is the confluence of beautiful critical minds trying to understand beautiful creative minds of another kind, but its conclusions are separate from the conclusions of art and art making. Though the historical record is my only access to work lovingly preserved across millennia, work that survived bombings, carelessness, theft, decay, and mass ignorance, it is the impulse to make things, which does not proceed from a teleological vision of artistic advancement but from a dissatisfaction with how things are, that sustains me. I need both the critical framework of the past which fires the imagination and the tenuous, uncertifiable engagement in process that has no goal, an exploration without explanation. 

The central problem of my work is that in explaining something visually to myself, the idea is a moving target. Selectively, and from the outside, with the benefit of retrospection and a historian’s objectivity, patterns always emerge regarding connections between works, artists, and eras. I have to address in my own work, however, the basis for questioning, of dissatisfaction and relentless curiosity, and--to a certain degree--of daring. Making art, like loving, gives purpose to the wild-flung absurdities of living, and makes meaning of the moments that make up our days. In my work I explore transience, lack of substantive subjects, reversals and the ever-present threat of being devoured. I do this because pictures always lie about themselves and about their subjects. They fret over and argue against the reversals they cannot predict or fend off. An image, for me, sustains the process of questioning rather than giving answers. This is true of any of the visual arts, including photographs. All stasis is illusion, and the mind is never satisfied with being in stasis. I am trying to make something that will endure my dumb and obsessive questioning, at the intersection of my imagination, my resistance, somebody else's history, and the world hard as facts before me. I am most interested in processes that blithely ignore defining boundaries of genre and proscribed ways of making imagery. Making art is punk rock, no matter how refined it seems on the outside. 

Charles Grogg
July 2017