Artists strive to be respected, to be remembered, to be immortal but works of art don't always endure eternally. Some fall to criticism, as Richard Serra discovered when his steel sculpture Tilted Arc was removed because of complaints from the public. Other works of art are designed to be temporary, like Krystof Wodiczko's slide projections that blink briefly in calculated criticisms on monuments and fortresses.
The process by which art is created, the spark that compels the search for a fuller understanding of life, endures past the objects of it creator. In the photograph reproduced here Paul McDonough catches another artist in the process of discovery and provides us with an open-ended story revealed in the quiet presence of solitude. In this graceful description of the eccentric artist intently measuring the distance between the lip and the chin of the classic sculpted bust, McDonough discloses a description of himself. In his work we see an artist set to engage his surroundings, peeling back the layers of confusion to find moments of intensity and charm. Photographs give us a breath of pause to consider the descriptions of moments and McDonough injects those hesitations with a lasting measure of reverence and respect.
Throughout his work McDonough gives us the opportunity to be comforted by moments of human interaction that spark our imagination and soften our struggle. The continuation of this process of discovery is the artists immortal contribution.
Paul McDonough lives in Brooklyn, New York and was a visiting artist at Light Work from August 1-30, 1989.