What Work in Progress Means to me
To me, work in progress is simple, it is the entirety of the journey that has led to an artist’s success. As a constantly changing and evolving thing, the work of an artist is constantly in ‘progress’, which peak when their work becomes very popular.
We see this represented in galleries all over the world. From at home in Nottingham, which recently housed ten of Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, that showed an entire exhibition as ‘unfinished’. ‘Work in Progress’ is compulsory for any aspiring artist. Work has to evolve, it has to sit with you, it has to push the boundaries of what has been done before. Without it, the field of art history would not exist.
We flock to galleries to see the work of the masters, masterpieces known all over the world. But what we really need to be looking at is how they got there; their notebooks, sketchbooks and letters. A work of art can embody all of these things, and work in progress reminds us that even the great masters, had to start somewhere. It reminds us of the ever changing nature of life.
Take Vincent van Gogh, for example. The Vincent Van Gogh museum documents his artistic career alongside his personal turmoil. By the end of the exhibition the art has ebbed and flowed alongside van Gogh’s life, a visual representation giving us an exclusive glimpse into his mind. He did not start at the top, his work in progress took him there.
So if work in progress means anything to me, it’s the importance of change. Art and artists alike need it, for without work in progress, the world would be a very different place. It is particularly prominent for student artists, of whom their entire degree revolves around ‘work in progress’, in order to find themselves.
By Daniella Romano
Image Credit: John Hartley 2016 nottinghamcastle.org.uk