…She went around the globe collecting kids’ art, so a lot of the art in this show is international. We have art here from Switzerland, from India, from Egypt, from Tibet. What she found was that no matter where finger painting went on across the globe, kids were essentially drawing the same stuff. In Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell compared creation myths, showing the common thread through seemingly disparate cultures. Rhoda was finding the same thing, but in children’s scribbles. She was going into this nexus of gobbledygook and nonsense, with very little support, and she winds up finding that within scribbles are repeating shapes, like the mandala or the Greek cross. What she’s also seeing bubbling up from this is the beginning of all language – the alphabet.
NR:But it’s a graphic language, as opposed to an alphabetic one, so it exists apart from a specific language or nation?
BB: Absolutely. There are certain things the body loves to do, like making a cross, or an X, or a loop-de-loop. These actions are born in the time of early childhood. What’s wild, too, about this practice is that, for the kids, it’s akin to running around on the playground, because kids are only half of the time thinking deeply about what they’re doing. It’s more about motor action and covering a surface.
That’s part of an interview with artist Brian Belott about his latest exhibition, which focuses on the art of children. I was quite struck by the last sentence in the quote above: “It’s more about motor action and covering a surface.” That’s exactly what I’m doing with the Tree Quilt. My fingers go to work, while my mind wanders afar. I surface now and then, to see what my fingers have been doing, then wander off again. I’ve noticed during the time I’ve worked on the tree quilt, that anytime I’m actually focused on it, and thinking about it, I just can’t get anything to work, at all. I end up having to tuck it away. When I’m not paying attention, but my body is singing with energy, and there are a million other things to occupy my mind, the shapes and colours which form are strange, happily organic, and very pleasing to me. Maybe that’s why I’m stretching out the work time on it so much – not just that I have to walk away when I’m in ‘adult’ mode, but at its core, it’s a childish scribble, one which makes me quite happy.
The full interview is at Hyperallergic.