Public Critiques are Somehow Less Anxiety Inducing…

Another thing that has kept me from posting recently was a visiting artist event in which I was involved.  Although this one I didn’t know I was participating in until nearly the last minute…

FSU brought in Stuart Horodner as part of our visiting artist lecture series.  He’s the boss man in charge at Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, and just recently published The Art Life:  On Creativity and Career (Which was a really good book by the way), and one of the faculty arranged for public critiques to happen.  Four grads were selected to have their work reviewed by Stuart, but we didn’t get told about it until a week before it was supposed to happen…

As I’m sure you can imagine, that was a little stressful.  I was less worried about the actual critique then I was about figuring out how to install my work in the gallery.  It was chaos for a little while… I had to go buy TVs and export videos several times, battle difficult projectors, paint things, oh and I had to read the book…  But it turned out just peachy keen in the end.  I showed an updated version of my Bending the Break/Breaking to Bend video, with a new audio component, and Fairy Tale Logic.  Bending the Break/Breaking to Bend was pretty much installed as I had it installed at Working Method back in January, but I finally got to install Fairy Tale Logic the way I’ve always wanted to… On two monitors!

Fairy Tale Expectations, Video Installation, HD Video, 2012
Fairy Tale Logic, Video Installation, HD Video, 2012

As a really awesome bonus, Craig Drennen, who is currently a studio artist at Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, an instructor at Georgia State, aaaaaand the dean at Skowhegan, came down with Stuart to participate in the critiques.  While my peers may or may not agree with me, I had a really great experience.  The main thing that I wanted to get out of the crit was that someone, outside the hermetically sealed environment I have here at school (yes, that may be a little bit of a dramatic way to describe it), related to or understood the things I was addressing in my work.  Between all the doubt and frustration I had been experiencing lately, this was really the best thing I could hope for.  And I feel like I got that, as well as just positive feed back in general.  For what ever reason, I found this process much less anxiety provoking than our usual reviews…  Which I told to my committee head.  The way that Stuart ran the reviews was critical, but constructively so.  I sometimes feel that our committee reviews are not so constructive…  But again, that’s my opinion.

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Me being critiqued… Rocking the bright pink blazer my friend convinced me to buy and wear to the SPE conference last month. Her logic for the pink blazer? No one can forget the girl in the brightest, pinkest blazer that ever existed!

 

For some more pics and info you should click HERE!

 

In any event, this was one of the best experiences I’ve had so far in grad school.  It came pretty close to the Guerra de la Paz collaboration last spring…but not quite as awesome!  Speaking of which, I’ve been meaning to show you how the battle scar I acquired during that installation looks now:

Not to terrible, but you can still see the three distinct scars from falling through a chair!  I love it :)
Not to terrible, but you can still see the three distinct scars from falling through a chair! I love it 🙂

Why can’t grad school just be awesome experiences like these?!

On that note… Adios!

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!