This is the End (Mi Amigo Solo)

So this is the last blog response for Art 700 (Intro to Graduate Studies). I have to admit that I am a little relieved. This was a very intensive class, which at times I felt almost overwhelmed me. Though, I doubt I would have felt this way if my  other class (advanced woodworking) hadn’t taken up so much of my time. Truthfully, the amount of work wasn’t the most difficult part of the class for me. What was most difficult for me was the long list of things we had remember to do each week. This may have been different for others, but as a person who finds much disorder in the deficit of my attention (just my funny way of saying A.D.D), I function best when only worrying about accomplishing one thing at a time. Almost all the classes I have ever taken before have never assigned more than 2 different assignments after every class and usually limited it to 1. I, like everyone else I have talked to, also Found myself frustrated by the amount of time I was able to dedicate to my studio practice this term. It was lucky that i was able to work throughout last year so that when I arrived here, I already knew where I wanted to start and was able to hit the ground running. I do believe that this class might have severely impeded my ability to get things going in the studio if I had not already been in the habit of working in the studio every day.

That being said, when thinking back on the many, many, many different pieces that made up this class, I also have to admit that almost nearly all of them class were necessary to the overall development of ideas, information, themes, and concepts that, I believe, will ultimately help us to get through grad school and continue to shape our artistic practices long after we have graduated.

The first and foremost of the ideas that were stressed in this class, which I believe to be most valuable in the years to come, is the idea of community. The small reading groups and weekly one on one meetings with our peers in their studios was such an effective way to build a community out of  a bunch of strangers, thrown together because of their love of art and their thirst for education. From past experiences, both as an undergrad and as a post-bacc, I had come to realize that art students are mor likely to be socially awkward and much less out going that students in other educational departments. I found that it is much harder to begin a relationship or break the ice with other art students. But if they are given just a little push or to require the initial interaction, the ice breaks and they find that they can get along quite easily and will begin to form sense of community.  For these reasons I am very thankful that these meetings were required because I believe we would have found it much harder and taken much more time to get to know one another. These meetings gave us a chance to bond by venting to one another outside of class about the large workload, and giving eachother the chance to take a look at our current practices.  I also really enjoyed ideas of community and collaberationhe show we had as a class. It gave us a chance to either remove ourselves completely from our own work in order to work with our  groups to make something completely foreign to us, or to make work through our own artistic practices, which would play off the artistic practices of the others in our group. ehind t b All in all, I believe getting through the difficulties of this class, side by side with each other served as a very strong foundation for our artistic community. Thank you Laurie Beth.

Another overarching idea of the course was awareness of our environment (UW environment, not nature) which also goes hand in hand with resources. This also could be tied into the community because the community brings their own contributions and resources to the environment. The specific parts of the course that I am refering to when talking about environment and resources are the liberary tours, the presentations on campus resources and our own personal sources for art world information, colloquium and the faculty presentations. For me, I felt that the faculty presentations were most enjoyable and important. However, I can’t say that the other things weren’t important. I think If you had to get rid of something, it would be on of our own presentations, even though I thouroughly enjoyed learning of about and presenting on the design lab. But still, I think it was invaluable to take a look at the work of our faculty in order to get a sense of the different resources that can be accessed through them. These presentations also assisted us in deciding which faculty members we would benefit most from working with. Overall, like was mentioned in Art School, these diffent activities and assignments gave use a good sense of place, which is imparative for the development of a fully realized artistic practice.

The final overarching idea that stuck out to me in this class was the idea of the critique. Critiques are use throughout the art world and its educational system, assisting artists in the development of their work. But instead of critiquing eachothers work, in this class we we were asked to critique the art world itself and its many different parts. In this class, we were given a well rounded selection of books, which were chosen to give us enough information about the art world to participate in a well formulated critique. I felt like the selection of books succeeded. Even Seven Days in the Artworld and Your Everyday Artworld, which nobody seemed to like got us talking about the superficial aspects of the artworld, the ever shifting stucture of its networks and the inflated structure of its market. I didn’t like those book much but I do think it was important to get a grasp of what the art market and the art world out side school can be like. I also think that The Studio Reader and Art School succeded in getting us to think  critically about our present situation as students.  I believe that the most important thing these books did in this class was to assist us in stepping outside of our present situation in order to look back on it as an outsider, allowing us to formulate oppinions with less bias.

All in all, I belive this was a very ambitious class, which succeeded in giving us a well rounded and concise understanding of the artworld and the educational system of which have all chosen to become a part. I say ambitious because this is a very difficult thing to do because, as we have all come to understand, the artworld is very complex and has an overwhelming number of parts, which are ever changing. Its funny, if discribing the structure of this class, I would say the same exact thing. Complex, extremely multi-facited and ever changing.

 

Thanks Laurie Beth

I also plan to put up photos of my final woodworking project and the sculptural work I have been doing for my indipendent studies. Specifically 2 pieces, which I am becoming increasingly excited about. They have come a long way in the past 2 weeks.

 

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Week 13. Welcome Back Frozen Mists (or Gods Airy Snowcone)

I woke up today in the studio, I’m relieved to say that, unlike yesterday, I woke up on time (before 8am) to go move my car and come right back to do some work. Yesterday I slept through my alarms and didn’t wake up until 11am, which was a real drag because it meant I got a parking ticket and lost 3 hours from my day. But when I woke up today I had to walk through the white slush that layered everything while the little pinpricks of cold reddening my cheeks and stinging my eyes (in a very hydrating way). I’ll admit that there are a lot of irritating and unwanted things that get dragged along by the winter season. It brings cold, it brings ice, it brings overly watered down slush, restricts us from bike riding, it soaks our socks our and can break our spirit. At knox, because it was such a small school and such an enclosed campus, I came to realise that winter brings out the worst in people. Everyone is sick or holed up in their dorm rooms and refusing to go out with friends or go to the cafe for meals even though they want to. The only thing people do have the strength for is going to class but when returning to their rooms, because of the boredom that never ends, they resume their free time of continuous procrastination and experimentations with hard drugs. Needles to say, excluding the short spurts of happiness brought on by drug abuse, this put everybody in an almost constant bad mood, which couldn’t be suppressed until good old spring comes to melt their icy hearts. But anyway, despite all of that, nothing can ruin the wondrous feeling of experiencing the first snow. In my opinion, there is no winter without snow, only a gray, cold hell. Here are some pictures of the things I accomplished this week as well as a picture of the three oil lamps which I forgot to put up last week.

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I’ll be back in a little bit to finish this I just need to go try and mill some wood for my next wood project. This is the worst part of the process because my access to the planer and jointer is limited.

The last photo is of 3 boxes that I’m making that will have the orange striped pattern painted on them and used to build a more dimensional structure that the signs I have been making. I also have the parts lying out to make one of these boxes, but it will be 8 ft long to make one of those signs that looks like a giant saw horse. The second photo is of a Sign that is almost ready to be put through a process of deconstructing and reconstructing. The yellow diamond sign in the 3rd photo is one of 2 similar designs which I am planning to use together to make a box which will ultimately be a more dimensional sign. I guess the reason for making these boxes, besides wanting to know how to make boxes is that the other signs were feeling too 2-dimensional and flat and, even though through the alteration process they bill become more dimensional and dynamic, I wanted to add some body to them, almost as if I were turning them into a type of furniture.

I though the colloquium speakers did a fantastic job. First, my favorite work of Allison Roberts was the video work she did displayed on both sides of a window, projected onto the blinds so that it looks as if you are looking into someone’s house from the outside. However if both sides are outside, that in essence both sides are also inside. Depending on the way you look at it you can feel different things from this piece such as feel like a voyeur, a little ashamed because you are looking in on someone else’s life. I on the other hand was reminded coming home from college to surprize my family and seeing them in the window. I felt content and a little excited at the thought of the surprize.

I identified most with Liz’s work however. From the way she talked about these objects behind walls, under the floor, and protruding from outlets, I felt like she has a kind of empathy for these object that are so essential to our daily lives, and yet are unseen, and therefore unconsidered by the majority of people and unappreciated. I too use to work with plastic objects like she does. They were all cheap domestic household objects, such as: chairs, laundry baskets, trash cans, sled’s ect. I too had empathy for these objects because of how useful they were, but at the same time easily discardable. The Idea came from when I was living in Argentina. I accidentally broke one of 2 cheap plastic chairs on the patio and I offered to repair it, which really would not have been difficult because it was only the arm that snapped. However my host mother said that she would just throw it out instead. I felt bad for her, for myself, and the chair. In addition, Argentina, which has yet to establish a good recycling program for plastic, also doesn’t have a great waste disposal service. The citizens also distrust their government so much that they refuse to drink the tap water and therefore buy an overwhelming amount of plastic bottled water. Therefore I was exposed to the overwhelming amount of litter and overflowing dumpsters, the majority of which were filled with plastic bottles. So after my 4 month trip in Buenos Aires plastic, as a material, was on my mind. The idea around my plastic work was that because they wern’t apreciated for their utility, I would instead liberate them from the sense of purpose imposed upon them, and turn them into works of art. In turn, I ended up forcing my own constraints upon the objexts, but I do believe they were shown much more appreciation as works of art compared to when they were just cheap, disposable plastic objects.

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Week 11 (and some 12)

So these past two weeks have been just a little bit of hell that I crave every now and then. It reminded me of approaching the end of my post-bacc year. I finally finished my project for wood which has made these last couple weeks so stressful, exhausting, exhilarating, centering, rewarding ect. I miss those times when I could just tune the whole world out and concentrate on one thing. No matter how difficult that one thing is, no matter how stressed or exhausted it can make you feel, I can’t help but appreciate those times for their simplicity. For a while I have felt ever more stretched in many different directions, as though I’m being spread thinner and thinner. This world does move fast, and at times, I believe it can have too many elements that need to be attended. So although I felt like I was being worked to the bone, I appreciated that I had one clear goal. Truly I did have other things I needed to do, which I ended up neglecting but I thought it would be worth it as long as I didn’t end up with a zero for half of my terms work in woodworking. I probably shouldn’t have picked such a big project but at least they got done. When I head back to the studio I’ll take a photo of the three “oil derrick lamps” I made.

So, that was pretty much all I did up until monday of last week, besides working as the ta-ss at the lofts. For the past two weeks I have been trying to do a lot of organizing in the foundry cabinets. First we got a new vacuum and a new power washer, which were fun to assemble and try out. I had a scare with the power washer however because on the threaded hose hook up there were a couple of grooves which let water leak through. And by leak I mean that if you turn the knob enough for just a trickle of water to run out of the hose, the hook up would leak. However, if, like I did, you were to turn the knob to release a bunch of water, because of the grooves the water would be shot, gushing directly into the motor, which I had plugged in so that I could test it out. I was so afraid I had broken it, but luckily Josh, who has had lots of experience setting up power washers came and helped me out. Turns out you needed to wrap the threads with plumbers tap and tighten the hook up with a wrench.  The vacuum on the other hand was very easy set up. I have had experience with putting vacuums together in the past and have always thought of them as models that need putting together, which I have always found to be satisfying and oddly meditative. I guess that’s just my drive to one day become a sheep coming out. Joke. When I think about it, my interest in following and interpreting visual directions is also one reason I enjoy folding origami so much. I also love the sense of accomplishment I feel whenever I create something.

This is a nice segway into discussing our (Amanda, Anders, and me) project for the upcoming show. I was thrilled that we ended up using origami in our project, and that it hopefully will entice others to learn how to fold paper into animals. I believe that making hundreds of the extinct passenger pigeons out of plain white paper is a sad and beautiful idea. I also like that our display concise, coherent and will hopefully engage the viewers.

After setting up our show on sunday, I finally was able to make some headway with my own artistic practice. I stayed at the Lofts and worked on trying to print out my sign designs in the ceramics office, which I had been trying to do for the past month without success. This time however I was able to get it to work. I had ordered some new vinyl cutting software for my computer because I couldn’t get the ones they had there to go into all the detail my designs required, and last week it arrived, and I had been itching to try it out ever since.img_0307

So the process for making this sign took a little bit of getting use to. I was originally going to make signs with actual words, both in english and other languages. However it was suggested to me that I should leave out actual words that people can recognize and read because it would not be able to hold their attention for long. They would read it and be done. So for this sign, because I had planned on using foreign language signs, I decided to layer  the word stop in many different languages on top of each other until the it is no longer readable or decipherable. I like the outcome. It reminds me of graffiti, which I have come to view as another way of disrupting and destabilizing the structure and language of the sign. I think I am going to fix this sign the structure in the following photo, which I made 4 weeks ago.

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Week 10 the “Woodenning”, or “the Woodworkenning” or, “the Working of Wood”

I went to be last Tuesday night before the election was over. I was excited because I had checked 30 minutes before and Hilary was ahead. But I checked again right before falling asleep and saw that Trump was ahead again, so I decided to just go to bed thinking that only good things happen when sleeping. The next morning, I saw the outcome and realized that I was wrong and sleep is a terrible terrible thing. So, from that day on I haven’t slept a wink. Funny thing, I’m not even tired.

Sorry, I lied just then. I’ve definitely slept since then. I did have two nights without sleep this week though. The first night was Friday night when I decided to stay up and work on my woodworking project. The due date for our first project is coming up fast and I am becoming ever more worried about being able to finish on time. So, I worked twelve hours straight on the table saw, making jigs and cutting angled cross bars. I had a few hiccups along the way, such as getting half way done with all the cross bars only to realize that I has gotten the angles wrong and starting over. Luckily I was able to salvage the pieces I had cut by cutting them down even further, which was time consuming but at least I didn’t end up running out of material. Funny thing, although I use to pull all-nighters every other day as an undergrad (I could never get anything done unless I was the only one awake), I found out that those kinds of nights now take their toll on me. So, the next day I slept a full 24 hours, and that is not a joke. When I say 24 hours, I am being as serious as a very, extremely, super, very serious man who looks at you not with a smile, nor with a frown, but with an emotion of the mouth that is so flat you can actually feel the monotone vibrations of seriousness forcing your own mouthal emotions to flat line. Hah, sorry about that, I just like to see how far I can take it sometimes. It actually takes a lot of thought to write something so ridiculous (ly serious).

The second night with no sleep, or I should say, very little sleep was last night. I took a 2-hour nap at 12am. But again, I was working on my wood working project. This time I did get to try something new and exciting though, which was putting a dado blade set onto the table saw, which I had never done by myself. It took a bit of time because I had only ever seen others change the blades. But it was a worthwhile experience which I expect to use in the for cutting joints for my work in the future. Also, again I worked for 8 hours straight and got a lot done. Now I believe I am about half way done with my project. Now I have to go to class, so I will finish writing this later.

As for the election, I guess It’s just kind of funny in the most morbid sense possible. Just how far up its own ass must the head of U.S. culture be to elect Donald trump. I know the outcome is due entirely to fear of change, but Jesus Christ! And if many of Trumps supporters were to read this, they would no doubt tell me not to use the lords name in vein. But even though I don’t know what to believe in at this time, that was a genuine fucking prayer. What people don’t seem to understand is that change inevitable because stagnancy is death. This is the part of human nature that I think about in my work. When current issues such as racial protest and controversies over gender issues disrupt the system created by and for white men, the instincts of many is to lash out violently, to isolate and destroy the corruption for the preservation of what is known and comfortable…for some.  But there are those who have the ability to step back in order to observe the system from the outside, trying to see it in its entirety. These are the people who can see the unstable void ahead for what it really is, an opportunity for true change.

It was very comforting to here Swoon talk about her work and all her different projects, especially because it felt like our country had chosen loud and outspoken bigotry as our new political agenda. Just when I thought that I could actually lose faith in the overall goodness of humanity, hearing swoon talk about how “looking at a human face is the most loving act a person can do” made me realize that I might not actually have the ability to lose faith. Seeing the documentation of her projects filled with love, empathy and selflessness was very encouraging.

As for my practice as a sculptor, I have temporarily put everything on hold in order to complete my lamp using the structure of an oil well/derrick for woodworking.

Week 9 (Just about to head home)

So I’m writing this just before I start riding home to Iowa. It depends on how hard the wind is blowing and how high I can get my sails, but if all goes right, it should be about a 2:30 hours journey through the treacherous midwest. I have decided to go home tonight so that I can see a show at Cornell College tomorrow. It turns out that the Knox College art department faculty is having a show at Cornell, and since I they all taught me what I know, I decided that I would go home to see the show and talk tomorrow. I’m excited to see them again, I has been a long time. I’m also excited to see my family (besides my dad who I just saw last weekend ;), which includes the three littluns’ (kittens: Louie, Darth Vader, and Rebar) and one big fat Jaba-da-cat who’s name is Pirate.

This week, in our small group meeting, we mostly talked about the inner workings of protests and their structural strategies, especially those of the recent African American protests that have been taking place recently. It was very interesting because I had never actually  understood how organized and ordered a protest has to be. The main thing we talked about is how a group of people who, as part of their protests, are not supposed to be a part of any hierarchical structure are supposed to deal with the police, which inevitably happens. Anders told us how, as a volunteer, one of his friends, a white female, is usually the go to person to elect for the purpose of dealing with the police. This works out great for both the police and the african american protesters because she is use to this kind of confrontation and remains calm while also not being a true part of the african american community, which therefore allows her to remain  vague as to the true nature and future plans of the protests when being questioned by the police. She also serves as a kind of buffer which can eliminate, or at least lower the friction between the two groups and therefore the anger and prejudices on both side can be kept in check. All in all I believe it was a very revealing topic for our small group to discuss and gave me more informed insight into the organized structure behind one of the most important rights given to american citizens.

I’m going to stop here for the day. I’ve decided I will finish my blog post tomorrow night when I get back from Iowa because I would like to write about show I’m going to see.

So I got back into madison around 2:00 am monday morning, and ended up waking up early to go help with the prep work for the foundry.  The sculpture class did an aluminum pour yesterday. It was worth while to see it done because I will be a part of it next term. Anyway, I brought pictures from the Knox Faculty Show I saw at Cornell College.

img_1376img_1373img_1375This is the work of Mark Holmes, Sculpture and Ceramics professor, Chair of the Knox Art Department and my faculty mentor. The work on the wall deals with construction, which comes from Mark’s past experiences as a furniture maker. Through his process of constructing, as well as deconstructing, rearranging, painting and drawing, the work ends up being these “boxish” constructions made up of a collection of found shapes (found in memory, not found objects) and a desire to see how things can fit together while still retaining surprising and unexpected moments. He has been making constructions along these lines since grad school while also making other work. The tall totem-like things are his more recent works in which he has switched materials. For the most part he has always used hard construction material to work with, but in this work he wanted to work with something soft and malleable, so he switched to clay. He arrived at these structures by pinching out the form rather than using slabs, which I think is a way for him to feel out the entirety of a form rather than to construct it.img_1378img_1377img_1379

These are paintings and prints by Andrea Ferrigno who had just got back from a residency in France. She is the painting and printmaking professor at Knox. These works were made before that journey though. From what I remember of her talk/explanation, these paintings were a way for her to break back into he color experimentations while still making use of the shapes and ideas of her prints. These are experiments of color interactions and how they either flatten or spatially expand  the paintings. My favorite parts of the paintings is her use of color to create transparencies, which seems to both play a role in shaping volume/space, and interrupting and flattening the overall form constructed by shape and color.

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This is work by Tony Gant, who was my professor in drawing and open studio, as well as my faculty mentor during my post back year at Knox. He has also taught pretty much all other art classes at some point during his career at knox. Tony’s work deals with nature, site, space, and experience. His processes are physically laborious and necessary to gain both an experience and deep understanding of place/site. I especially thought that the second of the three works would be interesting to us in Madison because, not only was the work made in Wisconsin inside an old rundown building used for the processing of tobacco, but it also has to do with the physical experience of what it is to create mounds, like those made by the Hochunk Native Americans around the Madison area. The photos I took are of the documentations of Tony’s work. He feels that single shot documentations do not do justice to the work, and speak nothing of the experience of being there. So these are collages made up of many different photos of the work which I think speak more to the structure  of the work and the process of making it than any single photo could do.

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These are works by Lynette Lombard. She is the painting and drawing professor at Knox and was also my Open Studio professor during my junior year. Like Tony, her work also deals with both nature and place. There are at least 2 different stages in her process, if not more. The first stage is painting on site. She feels like her work requires a direct experience and understanding of the landscapes she is painting. Besides painting, this processes also involves physically experiencing the landscapes by hiking through the countryside. The second stage of the process is returning to the studio to fine tune the work. In her work, the thick paint and color moves the eyes across the canvas showing the viewers the push and pull of the landscape, both geologically through the different landmasses and organically through the plants and vegitation of the site. They remind me of actual experiences I have had wandering through diverse countrysides and national parks.

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These are works by Michael Godsil, who is the professor of photography at Knox College. His work deals with place, history, experience and ambiguity, both in scale and in subject. All of these photographs have been printed onto canvases with a “micro ink-jet printer?”. There is a question mark there because I can’t remember exactly what he called it. The point of this type of printing is because it makes certain parts of the image appear to extend out into space.

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These paintings are recent works by Tim Stedman, the professor of design at Knox College. And I just realized that I was an idiot and did not get a close up of any of these paintings. Anyway, after having worked in LA as a designer in the music industry, Tim came back to Knox where he had done his undergrad, and decided to teach design. I believe these paintings are a recent development in Tim’s artistic practice and it is clear that they have been influenced by his background in design. What I find most interesting in these works are the ever-so-subtle irregularities of shape, which are unexpected and surprising. He also talked about how this work is influenced by experiences of everyday life, especially the color. An example he gave is when the mundanity of color and shape found in all cities is interrupted by some bright and jarring advertisement.

I hope you all enjoyed this. I certainly did. It was great to be able to see them again. I also need to find a time in the near future when I can go back to Galesburg to visit and to see the new art building that Knox has just opened. I was a post-bacc during the planning, designing, and funding stages of the building but didn’t realize until talking to everyone that they had already finished it and had the grand opening during homecoming. Anyway, finished wringing this so late, but I wanted my writing to do my friends and their work justice. Sorry about the shitty photos. They were rushed because I got to talking an forgot what time it was.

Also here is a short slideshow of my kittens, my old studio, and my parents acreage.

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Week 8 (another busy one)

This past week was another busy one, which is why my blog post is so late. First, I used all my time in the studio to paint my work, which is usually a very long and tedious process, especially when it comes to painting the complicated forms of my destabilized, restructured furniture works. the application of the overwhelming amount of frog tape is by far the most physically draining part of my painting process, especially in my more recent work, in which I am using patterns found in road and construction signs. First, after having cut the sign shape out of a panel of plywood, I have to draw the pattern onto the plywood shape, which, in the case of the 45 degree angled, orange and white pattern of caution stripes, takes a lot of measuring and bending over to ensure the most accurate design possible. This is followed up by yet again having to bend over the work (almost close enough to touch the surface with your nose) for the excruciatingly slow process of apply the frog tape over drawn pattern. For those of you who have never used frog tape, let me just say that it is extremely difficult to apply it in a perfectly straight line. This is also the most physically exhausting part of my studio practice because of having to be constantly bent over, which has killed my back ever since breaking two vertebrae in a snowboarding accident. However, I believe that the end result is worth the pain and the strain on my body. The tape application is also very important for getting crisp lines when using spray paint, which is something I have very recently begun to use in my work. Usually however, the next part of the process is  applying acrylic paint to my work, which is also takes a long time because of the method of paint application I use involving painting of many layers of watered down acrylic. The purpose of this arduous process is to remove any sign of the brush strokes from the finished surface, while also making sure that the textured surface and grain of the wood isn’t removed by the acrylic.

Anyway, I had many long nights this week trying to finish painting the pieces I have been working on this year in time for the sculpture critique we had on the 30th. I believe the crit went well and I received a lot of good suggestions and ideas as to where to go from here with my work dealing with furniture as well as my other work dealing with signs.

As for Colloquium this week, Ben Jones was a fantastic speaker. I was extremely happy with how open and outspoken he was politically and humanistically (he was an all together loving person with others best interests at heart). When he would go off on a trump tangent, I could help but wonder how many Trump supporters were in the crowd (I think the number would have been surprising). He definitely had a fascinating child. I can’t imagine what it would have been like with 14 brothers and sisters. An I loved that he payed homage to his school teacher by telling us how she would make him go to New York with her to see the art museums, and by ultimately  giving her all the credit for getting him interested in the arts. It also really surprised me to see his early college work based solely in abstraction, especially compared to his main body of works which not only figurative, but blatantly politically charged.

The last thing I would like to write about is the new book we started this week. I thoroughly enjoyed the section where everyone was describing the different studios they have had through the years by means of listing the materials and furnishings, events, works created, inspirations, or experiences. So I would like to finish this blog post by making a list describing the different studios I have used over the years.

  1. The potters studio that was located behind our house in Mt. Vernon Iowa, which actually belonged to my dad, was the first place I discovered the joy of making art. Because my dad was a potter, I mostly worked with clay during my childhood. I liked to throw pots and make knives with it as a child.
  2. The next place I consider as one of my studios was the art room on the second floor of my high school. That was the classroom taught by Mrs. Zaiger, who was by far my favorite teacher I had during the 12 years of my primary education. She had such a relaxed attitude and gave me and my friends the freedom and encouragment we needed to put our teenage frustrations into something constructive, like art.
  3. The largest room in the basement of the auxiliary gym at Knox College  in Galesburg, IL, was my first studio as a declared art major. It was very long and wide with ceilings that were an average height and exposed the armature supporting the basketball court on the floor above, which instead of being used for basketball was the location of all dance classes and practices. What I remember most about this studio was how loud dances steps can be when you are underneath them. It was very hard to have crits while a dance practice was goin on. I also remember the late nights and early morning I obsessed over and explored materials while listening to  orchestra of creaks, groans, clunks, and hisses of the old gym. I also remember it flooding every time it rained.
  4. Senior year I was given The Box Gallery to work in, which was owned by Mark Holmes, my faculty mentor and the Chair of the art department. This was probably the most inspirational studio I have had over the years. The 2 studio spaces in the back were taken so I was given the actual gallery space to work and spread my things out in.The gallery was wide and long, the ceilings were between 16 and 20 ft high, and located throughout the space there were large posts extending from floor to ceiling for support. In this large space I began to expand my work, and using all walls and posts began to stretch both thick/strong and thin/weak altered, domestic objects made from plastic. This was the basis of my first body of work that had a true focus and a well developed idea behind it.
  5. During my post-baccalaureate year I also worked at The Box, but was given the large studio located in the very back. This was the larges studio I have ever had, without including the gallery space. Again it had 16 to 20ft ceilings and was about 30 ft long and 15 ft wide. It was the perfect space for sculptures who needed the space. But during the last trimester of the year, Knox hired an artist in residence who needed the space, so I moved into the studio next door, which was 1/3 of the size. My fondest memory of that space is taking naps on the couch I had found over the summer on the cornell college campus in Mt. Vernon, IA. During that time I mostly used that space for storage and ended up spreading what I was working on out in the Main gallery space.

Week 7 “Mawwiage”

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So I got back late last night from chicago. I left friday to go to my cousin’s wedding in Geneva, which is about one hour outside of chicago. It was beautiful to see them get married in the celtic tradition where their hands were bound together by cloth. I also really like the music they chose to be played while they exited. It was the song from the end of Star Wars: New Hope when Luke, Han, and Chewie receive medals of bravery from princess Leia for helping to destroy the death star. (I like Star Wars a lot)  It was nice to have a break from school for a little bit and was really to connect with my mother’s side of the family, who almost all live in Illinois. I also got to spend time with my girlfriend who lives in chicago and works for a charter school as a spanish teacher. It was  great to finally be able to introduce her to the rest of my family. I’ve been with her for 4 years and during that time she only got to meet my parents and my sisters. All in all it was a fun weekend, but I didn’t get a lot done.

However, I did finish a piece before I left and reassembled the table piece I have been working on since the beginning of the year. I took some pictures and posted them above. I’m not 100 percent sure if either are completely finished but I feel like it is time to start something new. This past week I ordered some sign vinyl so that I can use one of the vinyl cutters on campus to make warped signs. I could have done this by hand like I did with the last “restructured sign” that I made, but I really want to start using text and feel like starting with digital manipulations and then moving to physical manipulations is the best way to go if I want to use text. I like the idea that language, as well as type or text, is another structure that helps to dictate our world. The language use in road and construction signs, is a very literal example of this idea and I really want to fuck with it. I would like all of you to take a trip up to the children’s museum that is near the capital building on Mifflin Street. I want you to take a look at the sign out front that tells the name of the street and let me know what you think. The first time I saw it I was already lost and this thoroughly confused me but I couldn’t help but laugh and appreciate how fun getting lost can be.

I really enjoyed colloquium this week. Minkyu Lee had some very impressive work and his ideas about revealing the hidden structure within his work spoke to me in relation to my work about structural disruption. I was especially interested in how his later work he moved from one landmass to the next to get his formal inspiration. In this last statement I am including the moon as a land mass even though it is not physically attached to our earth. This use of the natural and the geometric was different than the typical use in art where the idea is that the geometric (human rationalism) is overtaking or destroying the natural world. Instead he is showing trying to expose the internal structure that is inherent within all of nature. This was especially interesting because of the section of the book we are reading for next week’s class where Nicholas Mirzoeff is speaking about how through past art we have romanticized the industrial revolution and made beautiful the images of industry overtaking nature. He says we need to recontextualize these paintings and our assumptions so that we can see them for what they are showing us, which is the destruction of our natural world. I think what Minkyu Lee is doing is trying to do is show us the beauty of the extremely complex internal structure that is found within all of nature instead of glorifying the forceful way we are imposing our man-made structures upon the earth.