Most of what I am as an artist derives from an early and perfervid embrace of Marcel Duchamp. This includes his disdain for the word 'artist', and his several suspicions regarding 'art' in general. I do, nonetheless, use those words and use them as if I know what they mean.
Art is one facet of curiosity. Like in its uptown cousin, science, it is simply one form of inquiry, a way of looking into things, nosing around. It is a process before it is an end-product, an object
, in this case, d’art
, and, importantly, it is a process of perception before it is a process of gluepot and paintbrush.
Art has no rules of engagement, no mandatory method of approach. This is the strength of it. Where there are no rules, there are no boundaries. (“In a world without sorrow,” this philosopher instructs us, “nightingales burp.”) Art can do whatever the hell it wants to do; in this freedom is the workplace of art, where the heart beats and the process of perception begins.
Conclusions of science are final; we know them as facts. But in a world without boundary, all things are possible and nothing is final. The conclusions of art - the objects themselves - are not answers; they are matters of opinion, inklings. Postcards home.
I am primarily an installation artist. I do installation because it offers a latitude that more conventional display does not. I do artists’ books for no other reason than that I think of them as installations writ small.
As to why I do any art at all - nature, nurture, something in the water - I have no idea and leave the question to others.
Statement courtesy of M.L. Van Nice
Visual Arts Grant Award, Massachusetts Cultural Council/Somerville Arts Council, Somerville, MA, USA (1996)