ArtWrite 9/14/20 Maureen Meyer
Updated: Dec 4, 2020
As I look through Maureen’s most recent collages, my reactions are instantaneous. Some don’t work for me. But each time I come upon one I like, a buzzer in some region in my brain sounds.
Maureen cuts her shapes from vintage paper so the collages share the same muted palette. Occasionally, she works in a hit of a primary color. They’re all the same size, though some are composed vertically and others are horizontal. Why do I love some but not others?
I feel the same way when I’m looking at art on Instagram. In the past six weeks, I’ve seen hundreds of paintings, sculptures and photographs. It only takes a few seconds for me to determine if a piece appeals to me; sometimes I feel like I’m on Tinder. Swipe.
If you’re a writer trying to get an agent, you might hear that querying is similar to online dating. Just like you won’t go on second date if you’re not excited on the first one, no one wants to represent you if they’re not excited about your manuscript.
How can you guarantee excitement? You can’t. It’s subjective. When an agent rejected my novel because she “didn’t connect with the story,” I asked if she could be more specific. Her response: “Personal taste is so subjective!”
It’s also consistent. After three years of friendship, Maureen can now predict what I will and won’t like (not unlike my husband who knows never to order buttery chardonnays or sweet rieslings). Maureen has figured out that I don’t like it when she piles on the shapes. If the overall effect feels like wallpaper, my eye doesn’t know where to go, and I crave some breathing space.
I turn to “The Zoo.” The tower of shapes with its slight Pisa-like tilt. The yolky yellow arched corner grounding the stack. A buzzer in my head immediately goes off.