“Untitled” – Day 30

[Today’s featured artwork for Day 30 of the 365 Days Project is by Ayessha Quraishi.]

Abstract painting by Ayessha Quraishi
“Untitled” by Ayessha Quraishi. Photo courtesy ©Ayessha Quraishi.

Let’s talk about NOT naming artwork.

#30 – Artists don’t always name their artwork. It’s the ultimate liberation, both for the artist and for the viewer.

When I attend an exhibition of an artist that’s new to me, I try not to look at the title of the artwork until I draw my own conclusions about the work without being influenced by the artist’s interpretation. Once I feel comfortable with the piece, I’ll take a glance at the title. For me, it’s a way of finding resonance and trusting my own intuition about art.

Artists who do not name their work often do so because they prefer to let the work speak for itself without imposing their own interpretation on the viewer. Or they just can’t bear to make up a title just to keep their inventory straight.

As an artist, I do name my artwork because I can’t imagine sending 15 sculptures off to an exhibition venue, all named “untitled,” and then having to devise a way for the venue to be able to tell them apart.

Personally, I would rather not give a title to my work because it forces me to come up with a name that gives away its story and shuts down the potential for it to be anything else. Plus the act of naming also confers some type of ownership and I really never feel I “own” any of the work I create.

The titles of my pieces are chosen after they are finished (and we all know that a work of art is never really “done” – see Day #11) and I choose their titles according to my initial interpretation of them. Sometimes I change their names as my interpretation changes.

But mostly I wish I could just leave them “untitled” and let them be who they want to be.

“The mind loves the unknown. It loves images whose meaning is unknown, since the meaning of the mind itself is unknown.”
Rene Magritte

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
Edgar Degas

“If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.”
Edward Hopper

“Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.”
Claude Monet

“I want the people looking at my work to feel a sense of all the possibilities of painting, and, through that, in life as a whole. When that happens, I feel I’ve accomplished something useful.”
Wolf Kahn

SerenaK signature

Abstract painting by Ayessha Quraishi
“Untitled” by Ayessha Quraishi. Photo courtesy ©Ayessha Quraishi.

Ayessha Quraishi’s artwork can be viewed at: Ayessha Quraishi

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The 365 Days Project

In 2012, Serena Kovalosky committed to writing an article a day for 365 days as an exploration into the lives of artists and the value of creative thinking in our society.

Experience the full evolution of the project! Click below to read the entire collection of articles.

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Descriptions of the images included in this post:

Ayessha Quraishi, Pakistan
Oil on paper

Ayessha Quraishi, Pakistan
Oil on paper

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