Why do we have a theme?
A theme brings cohesion to a group – it is the heart of the exhibition. If there is no theme it would be a disjointed collection of items that the observer probably wouldn’t connect to. The theme is usually a broad message about some aspect of life that we wish to share with the audience.
So isn’t that just a topic? No. Topic is a vehicle for illustrating theme. So each of your individual works maybe on a different topic that still relates to the theme.
For example in our theme of Marks over Time. This is a broad theme that can be interpreted in many ways – which we will talk about in a minute, but, if I create a piece of work let’s say a wall hanging that is about the concentric growth rings that mark the life of a tree. I am illustrating the overall theme of marks over time through my topic of tree rings. My artist statement would reflect my interest in the topic and how it relates to theme. I might say something like “Humans are not the only beings that make marks over time, trees express time through their concentric growth rings.”
The main thing to remember about topic is that it pertains to the piece’s “what.” It’s driven by facts and specifics, whereas theme deals with the big picture and overall meaning that reveal why the piece matters.
We will have a session on Artists Statements later.
Some things to think about to get your inspiration for our theme flowing.
What is a mark? How does time affect it?
Two Broad Definitions for Mark
- Blemish or stain
- Symbol, line or figure that records or indicates something
After a brainstorming session at Toss n Tell these some of the topics the group came up with:
October Toss n Tell – Abstract to Concrete