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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A January/February Grab Bag of Rambling…

Words are failing me lately.  So I haven’t been posting.  I’ve slowly been working on this one for about a week.

 

I’m still struggling with exactly what I mean when I say I don’t want to make things.  And I’m still a little unclear on the specifics of some of the pieces I’m working on.  I know I should just sit down and write until my hand falls off just to get it out of my head and onto paper, but honestly I just haven’t had the time.  I rarely get more than an hour to work on any one thing at a time right now.  This semester is just hectic in the sense that I’m bouncing back and forth between VAST and campus a lot, I either teach or have class every day Monday through Friday, and I have a lot of home work and prep work to do in general.  The weekends are my only uninterrupted studio time, but those are also the only days I get to see the husband because we are running on completely opposite schedules this semester.  Yuck.  I’m hoping though now that the first set of reviews are nearly over, and I’ve settled into the rhythm of this semester things will calm down and I will find some uninterrupted time to sit down and write out the art thoughtz.  It’s about time for me to start the thesis anyway…

 

As always, I have several things in the works, and I’m considering adding a few more.  I had a studio visit for one of my classes last night and my professor suggested that I do some more quick, sketchbook type things using the video camera, just so that I don’t focus so much on some of the other things I’m working on, but frustrated with.  I think that’s probably a pretty good idea right now because I’m finding myself just repeating the same thing over and over like the outcome is going to drastically change…

 

So I have two video pieces I’m working on.  They might become one, who knows.  One is an extension of the Bleed videos I was working on in the fall.  For me its about destroying something and that destruction creating something beautiful.  I’ve had a pretty fitful start with this so far.  First I was shooting tests with my iPhone, then I had to build a table to shoot with, then once I started shooting again, I had to stop and troubleshoot the water that was leaking on my camera, I’m trying to master (or at the very least be adequate at) shooting video with a DSLR… It’s like this crazy new ball game to me… and so I’ve been having problems with focusing and depth of field, and then of course just to make it a little harder on myself, I’m learning a new video editing program, Adobe Premier (not that I really knew Final Cut that well…).  Oh and I’m shooting something that can’t be reshot.  Sometimes I can hear my mind laughing hysterically at me, saying:  “Figure your way out of this one!”  I’m thinking that once I do win this battle, the video will become one component of a large installation, but we’ll see.

 

The second video I’m working on revolves around the idea of communication and self-defeat.  I’m really not certain where it’s going or what form it will take in the end, but the idea popped into my head last week and I ran with it.  And that’s that…

 

I have a couple of performances planned revolving around the idea of saying no and setting oneself up for failure.  I’m kind of keeping the details of those under wraps until I actually do them because I don’t really want people to know I’m doing a performance until after the fact.  I’m concerned that if they do know, they are going to react or behave differently, and I want genuine participation, which means I may not be able to document them…  I also am still really unsure of how I’m going to actually do these performances.

 

Speaking of documenting performances, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on that subject since the fall.  I really go back and forth on it for various reason.  I have a blog post I wrote for one of my classes all about it… I’ll post it on here for your edification.  But basically I don’t know how I feel about documenting my performances anymore.  In fact I kind of don’t like the idea, because no documentation can ever fully express the experience of that performance/happening/action/installation/event…

 

I don’t know.  My brain is working overtime.  Both on ideas and school work.  Again it gets back to the idea that I need some uninterrupted time to sit down and write/think/enjoy silence.  But right now I need to go update my artist statement, and maybe eat something.  Why don’t you look at these pictures while I do that?

 

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I some how magically made the spectrum unintentionally...
I some how magically made the spectrum unintentionally…

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Messy, messy lady I am...
Messy, messy lady I am…
The studio, cluttered and busy because I've been working.
The studio, cluttered and busy because I’ve been working.

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I'm sort of fixated on my iPhone's capability to take panoramas.  It's fun to mess with.
I’m sort of fixated on my iPhone’s capability to take panoramas. It’s fun to mess with.
Documentation from shooting some video... If you look carefully you can see my colored water leaking on to the camera.
Documentation from shooting some video… If you look carefully you can see my colored water leaking on to the camera.
Some documentation from an ongoing piece.  I've committed to wear these shoes until it's no longer safe to do so.  For me this piece is about unnecessary worry, and the idea that just because  something isn't perfect or precious, doesn't mean that you've failed.
Some documentation from an ongoing piece. I’ve committed to wear these shoes until it’s no longer safe to do so. For me this piece is about unnecessary worry, and the idea that just because something isn’t perfect or precious, doesn’t mean that you’ve failed.
One of the resultant graphs from my January FF performance.  There are a lot of them...
One of the resultant graphs from my January FF performance. There are a lot of them…
Sometimes reflections can be cool... but only sometimes.  And certainly not when you don't want them.
Sometimes reflections can be cool… but only sometimes. And certainly not when you don’t want them.

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My most recent contraption for shooting video... I've solved the leaking problem.  Yay caulk!
My most recent contraption for shooting video… I’ve solved the leaking problem. Yay caulk!

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A still from the video about communication and self defeat.
A still from the video about communication and self defeat.

 

 

“I don’t want an art that points at a thing, I want an art that is the thing.”

I’m sorry for any typos or nonsense in here today… I’m tired and in a rush, but wanted to finally post something.  Please don’t grammar Nazi me right now!

While it’s been some time since I’ve posted on here, rest assured it was an intentional silence. I needed some serious time to decompress and recover from Fountain, and to process all the millions of arts I saw while I was in Miami for Art Basel. Also I’ve been experiencing what I am going to call an existential art breakdown, so the last couple of weeks haven’t exactly been the best for me to be writing about my work, or really any art in general. I was doing a lot of thinking about it, but my thoughts have been all over the place. Also I need to put my blogging pants back on because I have to contribute to blogs for two of my classes this semester.

Now if you can stretch your minds back to the beginning of December/end of November-ish, I am sure that you will recall (or at least I’m going to pretend that you recall) that I was going back and forth about my video works (specifically Bleed), and the artifacts created therein. I was also struggling the same way with my waterlogged notebooks and the images I had created of them. Well right around the time I left for Fountain, I realized that while I really enjoyed making things, like those photographs and prints, I just didn’t give a crap about them once I was through the process of creating them. So then the entire time I was down in Miami for Fountain and Art Basel I had this thought kicking around in my head as I looked at art, trying to find some inspiration to move forward in my work. After two days or so of this, I had another realization. I hated walking through these huge fairs and seeing painting after painting, sculpture after sculpture. I was profoundly disturbed to see video art presented as paintings, in frames, hanging on walls. Photography was boring me… People, PHOTOGRAPHY was boring me. I felt no connection to, and very little interest in these objects. The work I saw that I was most compelled by were live performances or all encompassing installations. Environments and situations where I could have a reaction to the art that was happening in real time. In short, I think I hate art objects. Which would explain SO much about why I’m not satisfied by the photographic prints I create anymore, and even why much of my video work isn’t sitting particularly well with me right now. This also really goes a long way in clarifying why I liked the random detritus that comes out of my performances and videos so much more than any intentionally created objects.

So after spending a week in Miami, I came home, finished my semester, and started to freak out. I see this realization as a rather powerful indication that I need to focus, and focus hard, on my performance and installation work, however I feel extremely uncomfortable about this. It is my process to work in a very organized manner, going from point A to point B in a methodical, intentional manner… And I don’t think that approach is very appropriate for creating performances especially. When it comes to performances, it seems like no matter how hard I try, I cannot control nor plan for every aspect of what willor even might happen. And as we all know, out of control is not a place I like to be… So I find myself in this completely self-created predicament… Completely confused and flipping terrified to move forward.

Stupid art objects, ruining my groove.

Well… OK, it’s not the object’s fault. Let’s be honest here, my work has been headed in this direction for some time, and I think I’ve been fighting it with out even knowing I was doing so. But it makes me feel less like an idiot if I can blame the inanimate object. Because I spend a good portion of my time feeling like an idiot lately.

I’m coming to believe that the experience that is created via performance or installation is so much more meaningful than one created by a passive viewing of an object. Performances and installations are often interactive, requiring a much more active experience, one that won’t likely slip out of your mind so quickly as a painting on a wall. To my mind this is a much more meaningful exchange. Call me crazy (and I most like am the spitting image of the crazy artist stereo type right now) but I think an art should stick with people… Kind of bug them, or pop up in their minds every now and then as they go through their daily lives, giving them something to think about or process for a long time to come.

The only piece I’ve done since I last posted was for January First Friday at Working Method. I had the entire front gallery to myself, and after having forgotten about the fact I had the January First Friday show until a week before, had to figure out a way to use the space. Several anxiety saturated hours followed my recollection. I didn’t want to just show old work because that would be silly. But I didn’t really have any new work. So what did I do? I did a performance. I set up a “fake show” of some large photographic prints from my High Tide performance and projected the video from Breaking to Bend/Bending the Break BUT my “real” show was to act as a survey taker, asking gallery patrons to fill out a survey about the gallery and art in general.

Here it is:

Final Questionnaire

Why did I do this? Probably because I’m insane. But the answer I’m sure my committee would prefer to hear is as follows: I was thinking about how it would be so easy to just have a show of old work… Prints, or videos I could project… and how most people would know. But I would know. That got me thinking, of course about failure. If I took the easy way out and threw some crap up on the wall that I didn’t care about, or that was not my best, or was kind of old, I would be being lazy, and subsequently my show would be a failure in my view. That in turn got me thinking about how shows can be categorized as successful or failures etc which led to the re-contextualizing failure thing and blah blah blah. To give credit where credit is due though, it was my husband’s suggestion to use the survey and we fleshed it out from there.

Now what I’m doing, is taking all of the responses and quantifying them so that I can use the numbers to skew the perception of success or failure for the show/ gallery itself. I must say I’m preeeetty proud of myself, I’ve made a database and have figured out how to use that database to calculate results and create charts/graphs from. I feel very business like while I’m doing this. Too bad I can’t do this for my taxes…

 

Here are a few images from the show, but I’m waiting to get the rest from a friend who helped document. I’ll post some more later.

 

BendBreak_0002 BendBreak_0029 BendBreak_0069 BendBreak_0094 Breaking to Bend poster

I think, regardless of how much this actually fits into success/failure, it’s a project that still has some potential. For instance I could base an entire show around what type of art was highest rated, or what a specific age demographic found appealing. I could also continue to create surveys to gather data about more specific aspects of a show or a work of art… It can also become this hugely collaborative on going performance. Making art with strangers! However I’m not sure how many of my participants got it… Thats ok though!  There’s also a certain amount of absurdity in this whole thing, which is only increased by the people who don’t understand it to be a performance or art…

Now I need to go do some work! More images and new things soon, I swear!

 

PS The quote in the title is from artist Tania Bruguera.

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!  😉

The Artist Statement….*Duh Duh Duuuuuh*

I apologize for having not posted in the last week, but I’ve been busy getting ready for this:

It is that time of the month again!  First Friday!  And some crazy part of me decided it would be a great idea to organize a show…only I wound up being the only one willing to show this month….everyone else seems to be out of town or in an awkward/bad place with their work.  Whoops.  That’s OK, solo show for me I guess!  The work shown will be a rework of Flawless (sans video component and some changes in the installation) and a new video installation piece that I just recently “completed.”  I put completed in quotes because I’m still not entirely satisfied with it, but it will be good to take it out for a spin and see what kind of reactions I get.  I will eventually get around to posting up here for all to see.  But first I need to export it from Final Cut…Better get on that.

So instead of writing witty or insightful blog posts, I’ve been sweating my butt off at the gallery (it’s been pretty hot here in FL) installing things, working out logistical stuff, designing the lovely promo piece you see above, and desperately trying to write an artist statement to have posted at the show.  Oh the chores and secret delights of being an artist!

If any of you have visited my artist statement page, you well know that all you get is a picture.  A pretty freaking awesome image (from one of my photographic series), but a picture nonetheless.  You might be asking yourself why an artist might be writing a blog and posting about their own art work, without also posting an artist statement.  That is an excellent question my dear imaginary readers!  The answer is quite boring really.  I decided suddenly that I needed to have an artist statement page, and put one up.  I didn’t have (and still don’t have) an artist statement to post there, but figured I’d put up the page to A) Give me motivation to write a new statement, and B) Continually remind me that I wanted to put an artist statement up here.  It only proved useful in the latter.

In any event…I think the more pressing question, is why I don’t have an artist statement to begin with.  This is also a good one.  When I moved down here and started grad school…I had one.  I had to have one to apply to grad school in fact.  I’ve always been pretty good at writing artist statements.  It’s not a difficult chore if you are familiar with your work and your process.  If you’re good with art history, that’s just a bonus.  However, after starting my work down here, the thematic explorations of my work began to change drastically.  I also began to veer away from my medium of choice, photography.  As my work was in such transition (aka crisis), I found it incredibly difficult to even attempt to write an artist statement.  It took almost the entirety of the school year for me to even begin to understand thegeneral scope of what I was trying to explore and express visually, let alone organize and verbalize these ideas.  While I’ve had more time over the summer to think about it, I’m still very much struggling with writing an artist statement.

I said before that writing an artist statement is simply a matter of knowing your work and your process…and I certainly think that is what is hindering me now.  In a realm that I am relatively new to (performance and installation), and having had my process changed so completely in the last year,  it’s hard for me to get a good perspective on what I am doing and what I want to say.  I also feel that I am struggling because I don’t have a good grasp on a vocabulary for performance and installation.  All in all a ridiculously frustrating situation.  Have any of you dear imaginary readers struggled with this?

Bah.  Everyone things being an artist is so easy…but that’s a rant for another day.  Rest assured I will have the darn artist statement written by Friday, and will post in here for all the internet world to criticize sometime in the next week.  Until then, have a happy Fourth!

 

First Friday…Seriously!?!…

The MFA gallery at FSU (Working Method Contemporary) is located in a  place called Railroad Square Art Park.  Every month, on the first Friday of the month, RR2 has a sort of festival called First Friday.  Every First Friday there is an opening at WMC by a group of the MFA students.  Well, March First Friday was my turn, along with three of my friends.

We decided to have a little bit of fun…which turned into a LOT of fun, and a GIANT mess, but it was totally worth it in the end.

We had been talking about how we are required to take ourselves so seriously, and that we can never just do something to do something.  There always has to be an underlying reason, with back up research, and yadda yadda yadda.  We just wanted to have some fun.  Enter a reading that we had done for a class last fall.  It was a Dave Hickey writing, from Frivolity and Unction…

“So, I’ll tell you what I would like.  I would like some bad-acting and wrong thinking.  I would like to see some art that is courageously silly and frivolous, that cannot be construed as anything else.  I would like a bunch of twenty-three-year-old troublemakers to become so enthusiastic, so noisy, and so involved in some stupid, seductive, destructive brand of visual culture that I would feel called upon to rise up in righteous indignation, spewing vitriol, to bemoan the arrogance and self-indulgence of the younger generation and all of its artifacts…   And it is going to happen, is already beginning to happen. The question is whether or not we will recognize it when it catches our eye..”

An extremely long story short, we decided to be stupid, destructive and enthusiastic.  We painted the quote on the wall, built forts, we each picked a color of paint, and essentially had a paint war with Mr. Dave Hickey. We engaged the audience by leaving out piles of candy taped to a card in each of our respective colors.  The card had a copy of the quote printed on it, and as each person walked up to take the card and candy, that person ran out of their fort and attacked the wall.  It pretty much turned into a free for all at one point, but oh what an amazing free for all it was!  By the end of the night, nearly the entire gallery space was covered in a mix of blue, green, purple, and orange tempra paint, my friend Sam had chipped her tooth, and we were all painted from head to toe.

Now for some pictures!

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AAAAAAAAnnnd…a brief video clip to illustrate the insanity.

As always, full disclosure:

The promo flyer was designed by Samantha Burns, AKA It’s not Easy Being Green.  The images of the installation were done by me, and then the group shot and image of Sam with her busted teeth were taken by Cynthia Hollis.  The video was shot by the most amazing  Mr. Jay Corrales.