Postcard Collective – Progress

Just received the address list for the Postcard Collective, which proved to be the kick to the arse needed to finally get started. The theme for the Fall 2011 exchange is ‘newness.’

I’ve decided to create 30 new paintings of 30 old photographs, using all new paper, paint, ink, even new pencils. I’m still working through what it all means. The postcards themselves, as objects, are the newnew to me, but as images, they look old. And not only are the original images old, they’re also photographs taken by someone else. Without putting too much thought into it, I painted the first two trying to be as accurate to the originals as possible (where normally, I would use a photograph as a starting point only). This got me thinking about Sherrie Levine’s series, ‘After Walker Evens.’ Which, naturally only brings up more questions- Why paintings? Why not photography?

For a more eloquent description of the other questions I’ve been throwing about my brain, see this site. And if that excites you, check out After Sherrie Levine. Talk about meta.*

materials assembled

 

30 new paintings of 30 old things (#1), mixed media, 2011

30 new paintings of 30 old things (#2), mixed media, 2011

 

2 down, only 28 to go...

*And if you want to get hella meta, think about this: thanks to the internet, you can now take your own screenshots of Levine’s photos of Evans’s photos. And then you can take a screenshot of your own screenshot. And then take another of that….
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Absent and Present

Apologies if updates have been sparse in number and in content. I was essentially useless last week due to the beginning of peak marathon training (coinciding with sudden “record breaking” heat) and a lack of sleep. Add to this the energy required to not get fired from my amazing new job and a trying family emergency and you get one useless person. I was even napping after work- Napping!

Fortunately, though, all things must pass- Been spending the weekend practically hibernating, the heat wave is breaking at this very moment (rain! huzzah!), and the family thing has been brought to an end that, when viewed unselfishly and objectively, is the best possible. Finally feeling like the me of seven days ago.*

Also been working on that drawing/performance collaboration that no one but me remembers (probably). As strange as it may sound coming from one who writes in first person narrative and makes largely autobiographical pieces, I hate being looked at, being the center of attention. My work? Fine, yes, totally. Look at it! Look! Just don’t look at me. With most of my work, there’s an object or image or words that can act as a buffer- tell the stories I want to tell while being detatched from myself. With performance, however, there’s immediacy. The audience is right. there.

With this drawing project, I knew almost from the beginning I didn’t want to do a big, elaborate ‘in a gallery with an audience’ type of performance.I admire the hell out of artists like Marina Abramovic, but Marina I’m not. Around the time of the Goodwill Project, I started to do a lot of thinking about performance as PERFORMANCE! vs. performance as ritual. Over the course of several conversations with artists who I’m lucky enough to know, including Hannah Barnes and Jen G., the idea of private performances came up. The idea of making things in general as a sort of meditative and ritualistic process is already a favorite theme of mine- even if the end product isn’t a tangible object, why couldn’t I keep working with this theme? Hannah in particular made a comment about ‘setting up an experience’- making public work (like the Goodwill Project) that invited participation which could be noticed or not. (sort of like Miranda July’s Eleven Heavy Pieces or Art Club’s shows).

So, over throughout September, I’ll be doing a series of five performances- each 1-5 minutes, each based on a 5 min. drawing from 5 artists I know that I’ve received over the course of a year. In keeping with the themes of impermanence, lack of control (on my part) collaboration, and the use of antiquated technology**, the performances will be executed with the help of 5 new artists met in the past year and documented with pinhole cameras.

This weekend I built a prototype and experimented with exposure times. Here’s a ‘best of’ (most of the rest are repeats of these images w/ slightly different exposures).

Also, I’m pretty sure using a matchbox to take photos is akin to magic. Definitely sure. I’m practically a wizard.

*Jeff Smith would say it was the rain.
**and in part because my A4 is in disrepair

a beautiful day in This neighborhod.

Most people:
Hello new neighbors! *insert general nicety/comment about the weather* Oh, I see you have a new puppy. I acknowledge, coo appropriately and continue loading into our new home.

me:
Hello new neighbors! *shuffle past with box, sweating from heat, exertion and the knowledge that you are wearing pj shorts* NEW PUPPYZ! I acknowledge, coo appropriately, we speak briefly about pitbulls being charming dogs which then I take as an invitation to pet the puppy. Find, however that I don’t feel comfortable taking that step forward into your space. Still want to pet puppy. Neighbor and neighbor’s boyfriend (also neighbor) have conversation. Still here. Still want puppy. Suddenly realize it’s been five minutes and all visual cues being sent have been ignored. Run.

 

Body Criticism – A reading in many. many. many. parts.

Body Criticism – A reading in many. many. many. parts.

I’ve mentioned Barbara Maria Stafford on here before, especially her book Body Criticism. which I bought nearly a year (?!) ago, and which I have yet to read, for one simple reason;

It’s so. so thick.

Don’t get me wrong, I like to think I’m a fairly intelligent person, Not To Be Daunted By Big Words, but for real.

Haaaaard. *whinge*

I’ve skimmed, I’ve flipped about, I’ve looked at the AWEsome collection of illustrations throughout the book, but I’ve yet to sit down and really read it. The book came up over food/conversation with Sean a few months (!!?) ago where he not only showed off an autographed copy, but also reassured me that yes, it is hard, but that every struggle, every word looked up is totally worth it.

So, this year I’ve been making a concerted effort to really read it, thinking I’d post about it when I was done (book reviews being something I’d like to do more of on here in the future). Seeing as last night I just finished the introduction, however, by the time I finish we’ll all have been absorbed into the internet a lá Tron and will be too busy fighting for our lives against evil coorporate computer overlords to care about one 20something’s thoughts on Barbara Maria Stafford, so I figured I’ll just post as I go.

Smarter Than Youll Ever Be.

I mean, not too much to say so far as all I’ve read is the introduction, but I do finally know what the book is about and why Stafford wrote it. Prior to last night, had you asked me, the conversation would’ve gone something like this;

you: Body Criticism,eh? What’s that about?
me: um, it’s about the Enlightenment! And bodies. And…criticism….
you: Bodies during the Enlightenment? What about them?
me:

... picture?

you: I mean, is the author arguing for or against the majority view of the time period? Is she contrasting the Enlightenment view to the modern one? And why bodies?
me:

...?

you: Do you even know when the Enlightenment took place?

.....?!

But now! Now I would tell you it promises to be several things- One, a history of perception, and how the scientific advancements as well as early microscopes from the Enlightenment (18th century BOOya) altered the way humans see perception (har. har.). It’s also an argument for the need to return to the pre-Enlightenment view that things which can be felt/touched/physical have value (as opposed to the post-Enlightenment emphasis on the Idea and the Ideal.). Especially as our world gets more and more digital, and the boundries of our ‘selves’ expand, “the body, and indeed all bodies, lose their former indestrucible organic spatial and temporal unity” (Stafford, 36). In other words, we need to be more…in touch with ourselves? eh? eh?

One pun too many. the end.

Laura Hruska, don’t read this post (but do check your mailbox)

After a disgracefully long interim I’ve finally finished my next installment for Laura’s Collaboration Correspondance Campaign, in response to Laura’s last card:

scabs.

Laura’s cards are always just a little bit off, size-wise, which I love. I feel like my last card was way too limited to Official Postcard Size and Format, so decided to try and do something different.

The subject itself is a painful looking burn a coworker got from a hot pan at work (Thanks Lauren!), which she graciously let me photograph and paint.
You can see detail photos of each stage under Collaborations.

What have I been doing other than painting scabs that could’ve kept me away from the slew of loyal readers*?

-Was offered position of Artful Adventures Coordinator (!!). Confirming tours, setting up stations, training other staff/interns, and generally doing all the paper-work-y stuff so Jen can really focus on the tours. Only three hours paid at most, BUT great resume line and foot in door. (AND I secretly love managing/ organizing  everything.) This also means facing two of my greatest fears (high expectations and talking on the phone).

-Also putting in hours at Paneradise to pay for upcoming Roadtrip of Whiskey and Wonder with J and B.

-Alsoalso, working on THIS for Boyfriend, whose birthday was this past weekend. (more details under Story)

Sometimes I use my power for good. Sometimes I don't.

-And it’s spring. It’s been warm (mostly) and  I’ve even seen green things. All responsibility hereby abdicated in favor of frolicking.

*All two of them.

you would see, the biggest gift would be from me.***

My former professor/thesis advisor and friend Hannah Barnes used to always say (to me. Presumably she’s still saying it, just to other students now) “College is about finding your friends.” Meaning, not just the people in your class/dorm/etc, but your art-friends. Research artists who’s work you like, see who they looked at/hung out with and look at them, and see who they looked at/hung out with and look at them.*

Doing so has helped me not only to be more aware of the world in which I’m living, but has also given me an ‘in’ to the Conversation. Rather than being That Person, the one who jumps blindly into conversations, blurts out the first connection she’s made, embarassing herself and everyone around her, I’m able to listen, think, and every once in a while, join in. Looking at other artists who’s work is really interesting to me has also helped to pinpoint certain trends/interests/directions in my work that might not be apparent in isolation.

I recently had a conversation with another artist who, after expressing an appreciation for figurative “realistic” paintings and a dislike of conceptual art, said “I’ve been told that’s narrow minded, but I’m not. I just have an opinion.” And while I lovelovelove all the art he was talking about hating, I had to respect his view. I sometimes worry that I make ‘friends’ too easy. Even the art I don’t react to on an immediate gut-grinding-I-LOVE-YOU level, I can usually find something to appreciate in the history or philosophy (and even sometimes lackthereof) behind it.

Fastforward a few days to another conversation with Jen, wherein she mentioned her Top 3 Living Artists at Whose Feet She’d Like to Sit. As she told me hers, I realized that if pressed, at that moment I could come up with several artists who I enjoyed, several more who I reallyreally loved and only one that was still alive (Ann Hamilton).

Whether it’s an argument or interview or even just plain conversation, I always find the right thing to say about ten minutes after the fact. “…OH. That’s what I should’ve said. Damn.” So, for my own benefit, knowledge and just in case the question ever comes up again, I’ve thought, run, and thought some more and put together my list of three** Living Artists At Whose Feet I’d Like to Sit.

Tim Hawkinson

Ann Hamilton

Janine Antoni

Miranda July

Check them out. Like ’em. Or hate em. I could wax poetic about any one of them for another four large textblocks, but you’ve been with me this long, so go, run, explore the internet.

*thank you rabbit-hole that is wikipedia
**well, four. Three and a half really as I really just love Miranda July’s brain. And writing. And, okay, her art. So it’s four.
***And the card attached would say?

things seen and not heard.

New stuff!

Just finished a few illustrations for a story in Miami University’s literary magazine, Things Heard and Not Seen by Eileen Bordy (gig thanks to my friend Kasey). Unpaid, but a nice bit of exposure and validation. The story itself is full of some great grotesque descriptions, and anxiety.

Work over at Sean’s is on a bit of hiatus, as Sean and Katie spend a few weeks at MassMOCA installing ‘Ruse’. (you can read about it, as well as see some installation photos over on MassMOCA’s blog here). Unfortunately, due to the complications of work,adulthood, rent-paying and an impending family vacation (which I am quite looking forward to) I was unable to go. Qué será. You can’t stay away forever Mr. LeWitt.

Speaking of impending vacation, been trying to get as much done before leaving, putting together some proposals, taking a page from my man Morandi, and working on a monster-image-heavy post to make up for two solid text blocks of self-serving whinging.

turnip study, watercolor.