Roger Halligan 2022
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The new freedom

My blog: 9/27/17 The new freedom

I have felt a definite increase in my sense of freedom as an artist over the past 10 years.  I believe many other artists I know who have been working all their lives and are now in positions to concentrate more on what it was they started out to do in the first place have a similar feeling.

I am now in the enviable position of being a full time artist who is working on exactly what I want to work on with only some limitations.  I dont have an un- exhaustible budget and my facilities although excellent could use additional add-ons ( I can always use more tools, space, materials, help).  My basic financial needs are met and I dont have to work to meet them so I can concentrate on making the art I want to make.  Thats the freedom I find so exhilarating.  I spend more time in my studio making what I want to make, than I ever have in the past.  I enjoy the whole process more. I also believe that I am making the best art I have ever made. 

I am far from whats considered an emerging artist although I am definitely still emerging.  My work is  not cutting edge . My work is simply evolving in a direction I feel I need to go.  To quote Joseph Campbell Im following my bliss.  It feels good, very good.

My sculptures, wall works and drawings are conversations with myself that reflect on my interests in boundaries (from the Neolithic to the present) both real and physical as well as the self-imposed psychological ones weplace before us. My reading lately has reinforced that.  Edith Hamiltons Mythology published first in 1942 speaks of belief systems (Greek, Roman and Norse Mythology) long dispelled as fictional but at one time very real to those that believed. Robert M. Sopolskys recent book Behave an 800 page piece on the science of human behavior written by a MacArthur Genius grant recipient who is a specialist in neurology and primateology is fascinating in how it explains what happens to us physiologically due to a myriad of stimuli including, genetics, environment, brain functions etc.. In other words he is attempting to answer the question: Why do we do the things we do and what makes us feel that we should be doing them? Finally I had the extreme pleasure of reading Paoulo Coelhos the Alchemist a brilliant parable about finding ones path in the world.

In a preface to one of Edith Hamiltons other books on mythology that I partially read back in my college days, is the one point I remembered and that stuck with me all these years. This one important point: Belief systems are just that, belief systems.  We cant expect that ours is the correct one for history proves that for the most part all that have come before us or are in existence now are probably not correct as well.  Beliefs evolve.  The barriers or boundaries they impose change.  We or at least most of us no longer believe that the earth is flat or the Zeus is responsible for lightning.  We feel secure in the knowledge that if we were to sail around the world we wouldnt fall off it.  A thunderstorm is meteorological not mythological.

My thoughts about boundaries, what they are, where they are and how they impact us seem to be what makes me make things.  Its a dialogue between my evolving beliefs and my evolving physical works of art.  This all started many years ago when I encountered my first Neolithic standing stone in Dingle, Ireland.  It had been standing in that spot silently for thousands of years. It designated that space as something special, something you wanted to approach. The stones location now set up a north, south, east , west orientation to it.  It was a marker a boundary for something.  In the distance stood another.  Now we had a line segment.  Was there another stone over the hill.? What did these boundaries signify for the peoples who set them and those who came after them?  Why in those locations? Why were they still there? 

I say my art is about boundaries, warnings and lies.  If you sail to the edge of the earth (a boundary) youll fall off (the warning and the lie). So what are our current boundaries personal as well as public real and imaginary?   What makes them? Why are they here?  What are the warnings (verbal and non verbal) and are they correct?