A Press Release…

It’s been a lazy, kind of busy holiday… But I’m back and better than ever.  Fired up to finally pop out this thesis and the accompanying arts.  An update on that another time.  Today I just quickly want to share with you all the press release for the Live Amateurs exhibition I’m participating in, which opens this Saturday!  Feel free to share it around.  🙂  See ya kids soon.

 

LIVE AMATEURS at MINT Gallery-Press Release

 

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Positive Experience/Negative Reinforcement

It’s obviously been quite some time since I’ve been around here.  I can’t even say that it’s been time well spent doing things to post on here.  So instead, I’m going to pretend like I was never even gone…  Yeah.

Anyway.  I (finally) did a performance last weekend at SMALLS here in town.  The idea for the performance sort of came to me randomly, and as a bit of a joke.  Recently I’ve been contemplating the reasons why I love photography (the process, but not the product) as well as the way our culture depends upon photography to record our memories.  The thing however, is that most of us, with our super smart phones and the dozens of photos it takes every day, NEVER LOOK AT THOSE PICTURES AGAIN.  We literally mediate our experiences in order to create these photos, and then forget them.  Oh, sure, maybe we might see them when we flip through quickly to find pictures to delete to make room for more pictures, or we might see them briefly when we look at their comments on Facebook, but we certainly never print them, or cherish them in a photo album.  So then, to me, the question is, do we even need the photograph to remember that moment?  No, I don’t think so…

So I set up a mini photography studio at this local alternative space, and invited people in to have their photograph done.  Using a 4×5 camera, I created portraits by working with each individual, asking them how they wished to be photographed.  I then issued them a number and told them I would get them their image before they left.  Additionally I took copious notes on a post-it with their number on it, about what they were wearing and what happened during our abbreviated session.  What my subjects didn’t know, was that my film holders were empty, and that when I went in to the “darkroom” to process their images, I was simply pulling out a sheet of undeveloped film from a box and placing it in an envelope along with a hand written note from me.  The note was a summation of our experience together, culminating in the phrase, “You do not need a photograph to remember this experience.”  I then signed and dated it.  Each participant was given a sealed envelope with “their picture” in it to open at their leisure.  At first people were confused, but in the end, I think a lot of people really enjoyed it, even got a kick out of it.

I chose a large format camera for a couple of reasons.  First of all, this allowed me an individual negative for each person I photographed.  Secondly, it never fails to impress visually, and people automatically take it seriously.  Along with this, using a view camera is somewhat more time intensive.  You can’t simply point and shoot.  Finally, and this is a piece that really only I knew about, but am amused by nonetheless… I used Kodak Ektachrome slide film.  A totally obsolete technology.  I only happened to have some (which was outdated), because a professor of mine donated a couple of boxes to me in undergrad.  I’ve been hanging on to it for years, thinking I would find some really good reason to use it… But never have.  I think this was a perfect use.  🙂  This amuses me because people were so excited when they found out they would be getting a picture very quickly.  We most certainly live in a culture of instant gratification… and I gave them not that.

A lot of this plays on the importance of the experience I try to emphasize with in my work.  I think that as a whole, people have forgotten to live in the present.  We live in the future, we live in the past, and we live our lives digitally mediated through various devices.  We put those devices between ourselves and the experiences around us.  For me, this performance was just a way of reminding those present that they don’t really need a photograph, or to make a photograph, to experience or remember a given moment in time.  All they have to do is live it.

Show Time!

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Yes… That’s a safety harness. It’s all part of the performance.

While I may or may not have been avoiding blogging here recently, I have been up to many other things, including (what I hope to be) a really rocking collaboration with my friend Craig (you can find him over at Craig Ryan Studio). I’ve been sworn to secrecy on exactly what we’re doing because he’s terrified it will turn out terribly (maybe that anxiety is why we get along so well? lol) so I can’t go into specifics, but I’m going to share some generalities and pictures with you.

It’s really been a trip to work on this installation/performance with Craig because in a lot of ways we are total opposites. He’s a bit of a sociopath (I mean that in the nicest way possible), and likes to pretend he’s mean and too good for everyone, but really, if you take the time to get to know him, he’s an amazing person. I, on the other hand, and too damn nice for my own good and secretly hate most people. When it comes to our practices and the work we make, we are like day and night though. Craig is completely materials focused and has astounding technical fabrication skills. He wants to make beautiful things that people want to touch. Clearly worlds away from my own conceptual, relational approach, but in reality these two approaches met and made beautiful art babies. His technical/materials focus has augmented and supported my conceptual intents, and my insistence on having a theme have focused his sometimes erratic material investigations. It worked somehow. I’ve learned a lot about the way that I think and the ways that I share my ideas, simply through the contrast between our approaches and communication styles. It’s been fun and exciting and I think we managed to transcend our differing approaches to find a wonderful balance in what we hope to present on Friday. We’re both excited about what we’ve got planned. And that never happens.

 

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A piece of the installation. There will be about 8 of these in the end.
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A general schematic of the performance. Make sense of it if you can!

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While Craig and I each have drastically differing takes on what this piece will be or mean in the end, for me, this collaboration grew out of some things I had been contemplating a researching this summer, including ideas about the relationship between performance art and it’s photographic documentation, and the trustworthiness of photography in general. It was also driven in part by my desire to move into more relational works. I think that I’ve hit that intent on the head with what we have planned. But I also think that it’s starting to address some other really interesting issues, like mediation of experience, trust, balance, self-preservation, control and a certain amount of playfulness. I’d really like to look back at this and be able to say “Yep. That’s where my thesis work really started.” It’s going to be epic.

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I MAKE AAAAARRRRTTTTT!

I haven’t actually posted anything about my art recently.  I lot of random pictures…and frustration, but no art.  If you actually follow this and like to hear about my art, sorry about that.  But rest assured, I have been CRAZY busy with a million things… Here’s a list of some of them:

*I shot A TON of video

*I did a performance

*Turned that performance in to a video piece

*Worked on some of the photos I posted up here awhile back

*I applied for a scholarship to attend the SPE conference in Chicago in March

*I submitted my work to 3 shows

*Helped to write a proposal to get Working Method Contemporary into FOUNTAIN ART FAIR/Started planning for WMC’s trip to Fountain

*Managed to fill up my entire 750 GB laptop hard drive with video files and had to panickedly run to the store to buy a 3 TB external hard drive to get the files OFF of my computer so I could use it.

*I flooded the MFA warehouse (during my panicked run to the store)

*Read books about Failure and Control and Perfection

*I nervously watched the election results

*I DIDN’T clean my house

*I cooked AMAZING butternut squash mac and cheese

*I got to be a unicorn

*Cleaned my studio

I’m sure that there was more than that, because that doesn’t seem like very much.  But rest assured I did stuff, I’ve just forgotten most of it.  Which reminds me… I need to send a link to this crazy shindig of a blog to my committee.  HI GUYS!

My other excuse for not posting the stuff I’ve been working on recently is that it takes FOREVER to export them from Final Cut to a QuickTime file (anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 or 5 hours), and then another FOREVER to upload them from the hard drive to youtube.  4,834 minutes (according to youtube) to upload a 4 minute QuickTime?!  Come on now The Internet, you can do better than that.  So I’m trying a different upload method this time, but the videos may not have as good of quality, sooo… Don’t judge me for that imaginary viewers.  Thank the academic gods that I get to take a video editing class in the spring.  I’ve never taken one before, so I will finally learn how to do things the right way, rather than the “Courtney Seat of Your Pants Special” that I’ve relied on for the past 4 or 5 years…  Shhhh, don’t tell anyone I don’t know what I’m doing.

Anyway, back to making art.  I’ve been trying to explore much more subtle areas in the concepts of failure and control.  I think I’m starting to make progress in that direction, but it’s coming slowly.  One of the things that I’ve realized about myself is that I am an incredibly literal, straightforward person.  I also gravitate toward extreme opposites, hence my tendency to create work which is black and white in terms of interpretation or content (I feel like there is  a photography joke in there somewhere too…).  I want a clear, concise direction or outcome in which to head.  I don’t operate well with uncertainty.   It’s hard to reel that part of my personality in, and to embrace those uncertainties.  I’m trying though… So here is a list of some of the videos I’ve been working on (They will all eventually be links to youtube, but since it is still taking FOREVER to upload my videos and I would like to publish this post some time before the end of the world…)

High Tide Performance

Breaking the Bend/Bending to Break

Bleed 2

Bleed 3

Bleed 4

Fairy Tale Logic

High Tide was a performance I did a few weeks ago on St. George Island, a state park about 2 1/2 hours west of here.  What you see in the clip is about 4 minutes of an hour long performance where I laid perpendicular to the tide as it came in (at high tide).  It was sort of a last minute kind of thing.  I just got this idea of laying in the tide as it came up, and I went and did it.  I’m not 100% sure what my intent was for the performance, certainly something about control, but I couldn’t say specifically.  For me, there is something there about the necessity to accept the fact that there are some things that you cannot control.  Going into it, I really had no notion of what would happen, except that I might get covered in the sand that the tide carried in over me.  I had NO idea that the tide would eventually take me, swing me around, and push me down the shore.  I had no control, except to roll myself back over after the water flipped me.  I wasn’t smart enough to think of wearing ear or nose plugs so there are the involuntary jerks of my body trying to resist  the water, and I’m kind of torn as to wether I like these or not.  I think I may have to sit with this piece for a while longer before I can make that call..

Bending the Break/Breaking to Bend, was an extension of High Tide in some ways.  The same day I did High Tide, I also shot some footage of me trying to fight, or stand up to the waves which would frequently knock me down.  Pairing those two shots together seemed to get closer to some of the ideas I’m trying to work on in terms of control and quite, subtle failure.  Again, I’m not sure I’m completely happy with it… I feel like it might need something else, or just some closer shots.  Everything seems so far off right now.  I’ve also had it suggested that I need to rethink what I’m wearing.  Which, me being me, I never even considered wearing anything but a bathing suit.  My thought process went something like this:  “I’m going to the beach.  I am going to the beach to shoot a performance.  I am shooting a performance in which I will be in the sand and water.  I will wear a bathing suit, because that is what you wear at the beach.”  End of story, no further consideration.  See what I mean about being painfully literal and straightforward?

Clearly the Bleed videos are influenced by my experience with the ruined notebooks.  I’m playing around with the water and how many pages and stuff like that, but ehhhhh… I don’t know…  I think I’m much more attracted to the artifacts created in the process of shooting the video than the video itself.  I think this might be the case too with the photographs of my ruined notebooks I’ve been playing around with.  Here are some quick snaps of the objects themselves…

See!  They are so much more appealing.  I don’t know what to do.  I think it would be a little extreme to continue flooding things just so that I could take pictures of the things that were water damaged.  Also, living in Florida, I feel like that could be misconstrued or some what insensitive, what with all the hurricanes and flooding that happen down here routinely.  On a semi related note, is there a water equivalent to pyromania?  Because I think I might have that…

Fairy Tale Logic is my rework of …lies expectations… the performance I did back in September.  What you’re watching is sort of a mash up of how I envision it being displayed.  Ideally, I’d like it as two separate projections or screens, each playing one side of the “conversation.”  Obviously I don’t have this luxury on youtube, so you get a bastardized version of it.

The entire time I was working on this, I went back and forth on how I feel about it.  I spent the better part of two weeks reshooting this and another week editing, so I’ve spent a lot of good old quality time with this video.  I’m concerned that it feels to forced and stiff, where as the performance itself was much more organic and unscripted.  I do like it better that it’s just me in a room by myself, but in doing that I feel like I lost some thing…  It also seems some how more insincere.  Maybe I just need to not look at it for a few weeks and then re-watch it, because at this point I know the damn thing back and forth.

That’s pretty much the wrap up.  I have some other things I’ve been working on, like those photographs of the ruined notebooks and the liquid light tests.  Buuuut, neither of those are in any state to be documented or shared…  I’m a little lost with those two.  I would like to say “We’ll, you can’t win them all” to myself, but that feels like a cop out and that makes me feel lazy.  SO instead, I will just say that I will win them all, it just might take me awhile…  Just remember…

More another day… And check back, I’ll have links up to all of the videos as soon as I can finish getting them uploaded.

This Will Have to Tide You All Over for Now…

Hey imaginary followers!

I’ve been meaning to sit down and write a post, but many things have taken place in the last few weeks that have gotten in my way.  Like WordPress crashing and my half written blog post disappearing into the digital ether…  But the bottom line is that I still don’t have a blog post ready for you, and unfortunately I don’t have the time to write a good one…  So in the mean time I present to you a pictoral version of my last two weeks.  Feel free to write your own captions or stories to go along.  It might be funnier/more interesting this way!

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Ellen Mueller

I swear I’ll get a real post out about what’s going on in the studio pictures as well as my most recent performance… It just won’t happen til the beginning of next week.  There is SO much going on right now!

Most of the images are mine, or are borrowed from the web.  Paintings from Monica Cook, performance stills from Ellen Mueller (except the ones of me…those are mine, fair and square).  Books from respective authors/publishing companies.  Fountain logo property of Fountain Art Fair, Working Method Contemporary logo property of Working Method Contemporary Gallery.  Did I miss anything?  I hope not.  If I did I’m sorry, and IT DOES NOT BELONG TO ME, IT BELONGS TO YOU.

Looming Deadline: Impending Anxiety Attack

In a little over a week I am supposed to be doing a performance here in town.  I voluntarily opted to do this, thinking that it would be a great motivator to flesh out some ideas and get the ball rolling for the semester.  And then I decided to double it up with a required performance for my Performance History and Practice course, still foolishly thinking I would be fine.  But I am not.

I still have no idea what I am going to do…

Well, technically that is a lie.  I have a general idea of the themes and concepts I wish to address, but I’ve got NO clue exactly what the performance will be.  And I’m fending off an anxiety attack because of this.  I swear I’ve been thinking about this for weeks.  Before school even started actually.  I’ve been doing research, and brainstorming… I haven’t gotten anywhere.

My intended concept for this performance revolves around reality versus expectations,  using the themes of failure, futility, and anxieties that I have been dealing with over the last year or so.  I was thinking about how hard I often making things for myself, frequently choosing the most difficult or involved manner of performing tasks.  This in turn made me reflect on the way that my expectations are often drastically unrealistic, and that disconnect between expectation and reality is very likely the source for much of my anxiety.  Additionally, for me, there is a factor of repetitious, and sometimes destructive, behaviors, because I refuse to give in, or to do something in any other way than I envision it.  In a word, inflexibility.

In it’s original iteration, the idea for this performance was a video of  me running and jumping for a tree limb, just out of my reach, over and over and over again.  Until I was exhausted, possibly bruised and/or bloodied.  That then evolved into a performance of me attempting to jump over a limbo stick that was placed at a height which I could have easily walked under.  Again, repeating this same pointless and destructive action, refusing to admit failure or adjust my behavior to a more appropriate course of action.  But the reason neither of these ideas came to fruition, is that I see them as a bit to literal.  Like one liners that will cause a laugh, but not provoke thought.  With the limbo stick idea, there was a factor of physical technicality too.  The performance is talking place in a space which I cannot permanently alter, making it difficult for me to construct some type of structure which would allow me to repeatedly throw my body against it and have said structure still remain standing.

And that brings me to my current quandary.  I have no idea what to do…

So I am going to continue to write about this and hope for one of my magical moments where everything connects and finally makes sense.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few weeks doing research into Matthew Barney, specifically his Drawing Restraint series.  I will wax lyrical about my love of him in another post, but there are a number of things in his Drawing Restraint series that parallel some of the things I want to do or am thinking about in relation to this performance.

The thing about all of Barney’s work, is that it is informed by the practice of hypertrophic training.  Briefly, this is the way that athletes train their muscles at increasingly difficult levels in order to build up strength.  According to Nancy Spector, the chief curator at the Guggenheim (or The Gügg and The Husband and I sometimes refer to it) in New York, this informs the fundamental tenet of Barney’s practice:  Form cannot materialize or mutate with out struggle against resistance in the process.  In the grand scheme of Drawing Restraint, Barney willingly puts himself in ever increasingly difficult scenarios, using extreme lengths to create a mark or create form.  It’s really pretty fascinating.  Thinking about that, you see the desire to make a mark, or more basically to create, and then you contemplate the accompanying restraint and training required of creating.  So in this really beautifully, and mildly absurd way, Barney is challenging himself, level by level (a theme also seen in his other major body of work The Cremaster Cycle, to make a mark.  Barney is also a proponent of using art to overcome psychological division and conflict, which is very much right in line with where my thoughts are these days.

I’ve also spent some time looking at an artist, William Lamson, a fellow student recently brought to my attention.  In his work I see so much of what I want to convey.  There is this sense of tension and self-defeat in his work that I find completely compelling, particularly in his Actions series.  He very carefully choreographs events in his videos, expending tremendous amounts of time and energy in the process of creation, knowing that the moment he initiates the plan, he is actually pressing a self destruct button.  When you watch these videos unfold, you hold your breath with this feeling of anxiety and anticipation because you know exactly what is going to happen and that it is all going to be defeated.  You are watching self imposed failure.  The scary thing is, I can completely relate to the train of thought.  I can understand and predict the outcomes of my actions or behaviors, and see the possibility for failure.  In fact, no matter what, there is always a possibility for failure.  But that version of events is totally overshadowed and out weighed by the prospect of successfully executing something to my exacting expectations.  So really, it becomes about this tension between the reality of the situation and the expectation, about the inevitability of the out come.

Which brings me full circle back to the expectations versus reality thing.  And for some reason I keep thinking about this scene from 500 Days of Summer, one of my all time favorite movies, and possibly one of the most brilliantly filmed scenes ever.

I just keep watching it over and over again.  Obviously the content is not what I am trying to get at, but there is something in the format that really intrigues me.  The whole movie is brilliant really (and it doesn’t hurt that Joesph Gordon-Levitt is in it, or that there’s a lot of Regina Spektor’s music), but this scene has stuck with me since I first saw it back in 2010 or so.  And no, I didn’t go out of my way to find a JGL connection here.  It was a totally organic happening!

I think the question here is how do I put this all into the meat grinder and distill it into something?  Can some one answer that question for me?  Is that like asking someone to do my homework for me?  Nah… We can just call it an artistic collaboration.  😉
So, no magic moment yet, but maybe it all just needs to process?

 

Oh, and of course, the video clip is not mine.  I wish.  If it were I wouldn’t be in the position I am!

Overflow/Overwhelm/Overcome

Since I spent an aggregate two weeks on this show (not including the actual time it took to create the work), I’d thought I’d share with you all the fruits of my labor.  I meant to post this a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted to upload the video projection component of one of my installations onto youtube first.  That, sad to say, did not pan out.  Apparently it’s too long.  So, what I do have to offer you is A TON of pictures, and a shaky cell phone video of the installation itself…

I am actually incredibly pleased with the way this show pulled together and the response I got from the audience.  I really can’t believe how well it turned out.  It was, by far, the smoothest installation and opening I have ever had.  Everything went as planned, no sudden, dramatic obstacles reared their ugly heads, I never once freaked out.  That is a MAJOR accomplishment for this control freak.
So how about some pictures before I blather on more?  OK!

So, as I mentioned in a previous post, the first room at WMC was dedicated to a re-installation of Flawless…We shall hence refer to it as Flawless II.  Originally, I had thought that I would need two pieces to properly fill the space in that front gallery, but after I started installing and saw how Flawless II was taking shape, I quickly revised that decision.  I’m glad that I did, because the room would have been way to cramped and the pieces would not have had any breathing space.  I think the resultant installation came out beautifully.  Much more like the crashing wave I originally envisioned.  I installed it sans video component this time, and I loved it all the more for that.  But I think I might still add a different video…I had the suggestion of actual waves.  What do you all think about that?  We’ll see what happens… For the meantime I’m putting this piece to sleep.  Maybe I’ll recycle the prints into something else…

The back room at Working Method housed a video installation which I suppose I am calling Overflow.  The video component was an approximately 20 minute loop of a kitchen sink filling with water and, get this, overflowing!  The video was projected onto a plastic sheet with water running down it at various times.  The water collected in puddles and pools on the floor (at one point even leaking under the wall into another gallery space…whoops) which viewers had to walk through.  The resultant foot prints actually wound up making a fantastic trail through the front gallery space.  Additionally, some of the water seeped under the plastic sheeting and through the bottom of the wall between the front and back galleries, making some excellent effects on the Flawless II installation.  The final bit of the Overflow installation was that there were cans hanging from a frame on the ceiling, dripping water down onto the viewer periodically.  It made for some awesome audience reactions.

If you would like to see the video documentation, it will magically appear if you click this link.

Overall, I am incredibly proud of the way my show turned out.  I really got some great feedback, and the audience really seemed to enjoy the work over all, particularly the older (say over 30) crowed.  They truly appeared to make a connection to the work in the way the younger visitors to the gallery did, with a few exceptions.  One of them being a freaking adorable little girl (about 6 or so) who came in with her mother.  This little girl asked me some really good questions, and really seemed to understand what I was trying to get at by “making it rain” in the gallery.

So until the next time…Joseph Gordon-Levitt and make some art!  😉

Rediscovery…and the Illogical Process of Keeping Versus Destroying

Yikes!  It’s been two weeks since I’ve posted.  I’m sorry!

As usual, my excuse is that I’ve been busy outside of the cyber realm, in the real world.  I had to install my show, then I had to recover from my show, then I had to clean up after my show (I drilled about a hundred holes in the ceiling of the gallery that had to be spackled, sanded, and painted… Oh, the joys of being an artist.), and then I had to clean and move my studio.  Also in the meantime, I played Cowboys and Indians.  I was a Cowboy.

Anyway…to the point of my post.  A lot of this summer has been about rediscovery for me.  For instance, I have, in the past few days, rediscovered how disgustingly hot the MFA warehouse is during the summer.  No, seriously…I’m currently sitting in my studio literally sweating buckets as I SIT typing.  I, in fact, have a paper towel laid under my arms where they touch my laptop so that I don’t create pools of sweat on my computer.  I’m certain that would void the warranty.  I can’t wait til the MFA studios move to our new facility…we get air conditioning!

Wow.  That turned into a way longer, not funny digression than I expected.

Again, to the point.  I’ve spent a lot of time reading and thinking this summer, trying to get a new perspective on my work, and to find a solid direction or theme to follow.  In the process, I’ve really rediscovered what I love about making art, and what is important to me as an artist.  This, in and of itself, is very comforting to me, because it means that I do know what I’m doing, and that I am still passionate about it.  There was a point in the last year where I was really questioning this.  I’m very thankful for the time I’ve had for this reflection over the summer.  Away from school assignments, special projects, visiting artist duties, and people in general.  It’s been incredibly refreshing.  I haz rediscovered my art groove.  Yay.

Another refreshing aspect of my summer has been “teaching” at Lafayette Arts and Crafts Center Summer Camp.  (I put teaching in quotation marks, because while I do teach the kids stuff, its really just about letting them be creative and enjoy themselves.)  Since the first week of June, I’ve been working there Monday through Friday, essentially 9-5.  It’s been so amazing to watch a group of 6-12 year olds engaged in the artistic process.  What is most refreshing about it though, is that they are so uninhibited by the “rules” of art making and they are so unafraid of just doing something to do it.  It’s really fantastic.  Through them I’ve rediscovered the simple pleasure of just doing, not worrying about how, or why, or what it means…just making art because you want to make something.  Worrying about fixing the problems later, and using whatever they have on hand to create.  Watching them turn the most banal, basic stuff, into the most amazingly creative things.  They turned the cores of giant paper tubes into cannons, and then into megaphones…construction paper into entire  houses, complete with furniture.  These kids and some of the other instructors have also helped me rediscover the joys of being silly about creativity.  We had a Cowboys and Indian day last week, and I spent the day with a mustache and beard painted on my face by another instructor… I’ve also had the joy of using my camera to document their projects and adventures.  I had forgotten how fulfilling and enjoyable the simple act of taking photographs is.  It is so second nature to me, and yet I deny that part of myself so often.  It’s been an incredibly instructive summer job for me.  I just hope that I can come back next summer… I’m technically not allowed to say anything about it but, suffice to say, I may not have the opportunity next year.  And wouldn’t it be a shame if no one got to see this again?:

 

 

 

 

I hope that made you laugh and rediscover the Cowboy inside yourself.  🙂  I’d post more pictures of the amazing costumes, weapons, and forts the kids made, but I’m not allowed to without the permission of the parents.  Oh well.  Where was I?  Oh yeah…

The most recent moment of rediscovery I’ve had, was while moving my studio a whole 50 yards down the hall way in the warehouse.

I decided that since I was going to move my studio (I wanted a little bit bigger space that was less centrally located from traffic and noise), I was going to clean and get rid of any bad juju that I was hanging on to.  I realize that sounds crazy, but sometimes we create associations with certain objects or pieces we’ve created, and that can affect you subconsciously.  I think that physical spaces can also have bad juju associated with them.  I sort of feel like my old studio space had some negative vibes floating around…In any event, I did a purge. It’s hard for me to explain my rationale behind what I choose to keep, and what I choose to get rid of, except that I just know when I need to get rid of something…Stick with me here.  I’m sure all of you other artists out there have a similar process.

Now, I  burned a lot of stuff back in February.  Things that just held bad memories and negative thoughts, or just plain old bad art, but in moving I wanted to make a clean sweep.  So sweep I did.  But in the process, I rediscovered some really old art that I’d forgotten I was even carting around with me.  Seriously.  Things I made at UT, bits and pieces of works I made while living in Erie.  For the most part, I hang onto old work for a few years, and then, unless its very meaningful or significant to me or my career, I dump it.  The things I throw away, are work that typically never grew beyond that single piece or idea.  For instance, yesterday I threw away a set of photographic paper dolls and a photo tile puzzle I made several years ago.  When I do this, I pretty much feel no compunction about throwing away my art work.  I hate keeping pointless stuff around.  It just becomes distracting, meaningless clutter.  (I get very overwhelmed if I am physically surrounded by too much clutter.  I find it…distracting and irritating.)  I’m actually seriously considering doing this to all but a select few of the boxes and boxes of negatives I have…But the photographer in me cringes at this, so clearly the time is not ripe for a negative purge (Whoa…did I just rediscover my inner photographer?!), so the boxes went into a cupboard in my studio, out of sight, out of mind, for now.

I also found some little pieces that, while unfinished, unrelated to other works, or otherwise deemed random, I can’t seem to let go of yet.  These are things that I just feel a connection to, or that speak to me on some level.  I keep thinking that maybe these little bits of ephemera just aren’t done with me yet (or vice versa)…that they’re time is yet to come.  Perhaps they will eventually influence new work, or I will be able to successfully complete them.  Whatever my psychological reasoning, I just can’t let them go.  Which is strange, because I can be pretty merciless about getting rid of things (just ask my husband).  The super strange thing, is that its not all art work.  There are things, like a set of famous TV mother paper dolls my dad gave me a couple of years ago, that I just gravitate to.  Or maybe, in another year, I will find these things again and decide it’s time to throw them out, that they have served their purpose.  Who knows.  But for now, they all reside in the top drawer of the flat files in my studio, easily accessible from my work table…Just in case.

Battle Scars Make Art Stars (Subtitled: Risking Life and Limb for Internationally Famous Artists)

An in-progress shot: Thicket

Today was a good…no, great, day.  Seriously. I got to risk life and limb for an internationally famous artist duo.  Not really, but that’s what I’m going to tell people in the future when I show them my battle scars, because really, the true story isn’t that exciting…You’ll see.

Part of what I was going to post last night, was that this week, the artist duo, Guerra de la Paz are working with the MFA students at my university to create a collaborative installation piece at a local gallery.  If you are not familiar with their work, then please check them out!

Now, to be perfectly honest, I was not so excited about going to help out today at the gallery.  For many reasons, including the fact that I am currently in a funk over my own art (another aspect of last night’s disappearing post), and a previous visiting artist event that was somewhat disappointing, I just wasn’t in the mood.  And sometimes when it’s supposed to be a collaborative thing, the visiting artist either takes it over and dictates everything, or gives an idea and the students do all the work.  In any event, I wasn’t expecting too too much today. I thought to myself, “Oh, I’ll go for a few hours, make an appearance, then cut out.  I need to go to class tonight, and then I have work to do myself…”  And don’t get me wrong, I really dig their work, but you never know when it come to students working with famous artists…

Oh.  I had no idea what the day had in store for me!

I got to the gallery with a friend of mine and we started working a little before the artists showed up.  As they started interacting with other students, I was listening to what they were saying, and they were so totally focused on making this project happen. They were saying that they felt they were over booked, being taking to classes, and going to meet and greets…(All things that my friend and I had been thinking/talking about over the weekend…) and that they weren’t here for social hour, but to put on a show.  AH-Mazing.  They were so dedicated to making sure that this project took precedence over all the crazy unimportant stuff!  They canceled a meet and greet that was supposed to happen tonight at a wine bar in town so that they could stay and work late at the gallery with the students, and were completely open to suggestions and involved in all the different aspects of the work.  Guerra de la Paz want to make this a TRUE collaboration.  So. FUCKING. AWESOME.  They were totally approachable and down to earth, and super funny.  I stayed about 5 hours longer than I had planned, I skipped class!… All because I was enjoying myself so much!

As the night started to wind down, we were working on some “trees” for the installation (The giant crazy looking wood structures in that first pic), and I was standing on a  plastic lawn chair to help a fellow MFA-er screw in a “branch.”  We had had a little pizza party earlier in the evening instead of going out to that meet and greet, and the pizza happened to be from a great local joint that Hubsley likes a lot.  So when the gallery director asked if anyone wanted any before she put it away for the night, I went to turn around and ask her to pull a slice or two for me, when suddenly, I found my self about two feet lower than I had been a second before.  I was so stunned, that it took me a good minute to realize that I had fallen directly through the chair, and landed completely flat on my feet.  Of course everyone was freaking out and asking me if I was OK.  It was another good 45 seconds before I could coherently assess the fact that, yes, I was in one piece and nothing seemed to be damaged.  So I just kind of laughed and said I was fine.  Then some one asked me if my leg was OK, and I looked down at it…and well…

My self sacrificing injury! I particularly enjoy the blood on my pant cuff. It makes it all look so much more dramatic!

Clearly I am fine.  Shortly after that, we closed up shop for the night and all went home.  I bandaged myself in the most logical way possible…

Wound Dressings. Clearly this is the best way to deal with the problem.

And now I am at home, avoiding doing my reading for class on Thursday, feeling fine.  Until tomorrow morning when I wake up with my knees throbbing in pain.  But that’s a problem I’ll deal with then.  😉  I had to laugh though…Alain Guerra asked me if I was OK after I came back from washing up the blood in the bathroom, and then he says “You know, its funny that with all of these dangerous power tools laying around (there were multiple drills and a nail gun being used), you injured yourself on plastic…”  My response was, “Well, if some one were to do it, it would be me!”  Because I am so accident prone.  🙂

Oh, and PS, they saved the broken chair and they want to use it in the piece!