What’s in a name? How to name art and influence people


Recently, I went into the gallery to deliver some catalogues for the current show of new drawing works at Angell Gallery when a recurring issue came up. People had shown an interest in a particular work titled, The Wheelmaster; however when I had first completed the work I referred to it as Human Farming. My name change, I was told could affect the outcome of a sale, and I had to concede that in my mind the two were part of the same emotional landscape and that the title simply shifted the focus. I went on to explain that my relationship to my work is a exactly that, a poetic relationship that evolves constantly until the point of sale where the image shifts into a new story leaving my relationship to it as anecdotal.

I made a promise to try and stick to one title per work, however it does bring up an important question where Untitled just won’t do.  We live in a copy ridden world and the title is often the hook as it goes adrift in the flotsam of the art world. Since joining instagram I have wondered if  the image is the hook or is it the copy, one has to come first, is it see it read it or vice versa. Where is the gangplank to the experience start, back in my studio I am extruding open minded content where words stick to it as it emerges on the surface. In the act of light and shadow making words are uttered. I imagine that I am recounting a familiar journey, one that has gone on for the last 30,000 years  when pictograms on cave walls created the language of the hunt, the landscape, the experience.

How do you see it?    How important and final is the title of a work of art?

 Below the drawing I have added the video that got me thinking about the Human Farm.

Siberian Fir charcoal on stonehenge archival paper, 31 x 21 in., 2015 "In The Black" series, Angell Gallery, Toronto
Siberian Fir charcoal on stonehenge archival paper, 31 x 21 in., 2015 “In The Black” series, Angell Gallery, Toronto

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