Until modern times, “showing your work” was a virtue largely restricted to solving math problems. For works of art or craft, the goal was a perfection of surface and the appearance of effortless ease. No one wanted a whiff of the sweat involved or a hint of the inevitable trial and error behind a successful result.
Only gradually did our culture warm up to the charms inherent in working sketches, false starts, stray chisel marks, and paint drips. Only recently in our aesthetic history has a degree of naivété or clumsiness been perceived as possibly appealing or indeed especially authentic.
Now, it seems, the pendulum has swung distinctly in the other direction: surfaces that are too seamless feel cold and mechanical, classical proportions appear stiff and academic. We look for evidence of the hand, of the human fallibility that bespeaks an individual’s vision and passion.