I just returned from the Parrish Art Musem in Southampton, NY, where I saw an exhibit called “Studio as Muse.” The word studio, I learned comes from the Latin, studium, which contains elements of both study and zeal. The exhibit contains detailed miniatures of various artists’ studios. Like dollhouses or diaramas, one can peek into these scaled-down rooms in barns and outbuildings and see every detail of the artist at work: from tiny tubes of paints and tooth-pick-sized paintbrushes to doll-sized artists and their doll-sized pet dogs.
In Chuck Close’s miniature studio one sees the artist sitting in his wheelchair, ankles crossed, contemplating a canvas. On a wall nearby in the museum this quote from Close is posted:
“The most interesting thing is to back yourself into your own corner, where no one else’s answers will fit and you will somehow have to come up with your own personal solutions … I think that’s a really good way to get all those other voices out of your studio, all those other people who are sharing that space with you.”
Close offered that quote to Joe Fig, the artist who rendered the miniature studios at the Parrish. He was describing, he said, “a moment shared by all artists.” …
… And, Iwould add, poets! That quote so well describes what it is like to create a poem; that moment of backing oneself into the corner of the poem’s form; that feeling of utter — sometimes painful solitude — while one searches for their personal solution; the necessity of leaving all other voices behind in order, ultimately, to find your own.