Thursday, December 8, 2011

Artist Post: Anselm Kiefer

Nuremberg, 1983

     The main thing that has drawn me to the work of Anselm Kiefer has been his treatment of the surface of his paintings. Specifically, it is just how much he works up the surface - the use of frenzied and heavy brushstrokes and the inclusion of different materials - that makes his work so appealing to me. I think this  use of found materials is successful because it directly connects you, as the viewer, to the subject that is being depicted in the work. For example, in his painting, Nuremberg, Kiefer has mixed in real straw into the applied paint, which connects you to the farm land that he is depicting. Personally, I think this inclusion of materials to be a really unique idea and it really adds another "dimension" to the work - almost as if the painting is coming right at you; the viewer feels more like they are "in" the piece - and it is something that I think would like to try at some point in my own future work.
     However, I think that I am not only interested in how Kiefer's pieces look, but also in the thoughts that are the creative force behind them. Specifically, I am really amazed by his determination to face his German heritage/ facing the legacy of the Nazi regime. This legacy makes its way into his paintings as they are reflections of the scorched and destroyed earth left in the wake of World War II. So the painting, Nuremberg refers to the site of Nazi war crime trials - which marks it as a site of german redemption, while also marking the location as the turning pages of history. 
     I guess you could say that I am just impressed by how well Kiefer respects and interprets his subjects on all sides. I also think that it is interesting that he searches, "...For parallels in world mythology - Nordic, Greek, Egyptian, Early Christian, Jewish - is a romantic trait" (Fineberg 413). He not only is working to face his own cultural heritage and its legacy, but he is also looking to make parallels to other cultures. By doing this, Kiefer is looking to establish cross-culture connections. I think this fact makes his work even more appealing, even if you do not understand his predominately German references, there can still be connections for the viewer to make and feel.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Project 3: Test Print

Project 3: The Process

So after the first test prints (Image to come soon), the process for this final project has been focused down to this:

1. Print film image on transparency sheet, not sure on size right now, but probably similar to project 1 final size

2. Transfer image onto wood panel (ply wood with a birch top layer) using the Super Sauce solution. During the transfer I need to be careful about smearing the image/press marks from my fingers, unless I want some kind of distortion in the final print.

3. Light layer of drawing with oil pastel on top of image - being careful to not overwhelm the image.

4. Light coat of beeswax. A light coat will add to the physicality of the piece, and will not fully fade out the image.

5. Possibly another layer of pastel drawing followed by a second light beeswax coat.

So now the next step is to think about image pint size, wood size and the number of pieces I want in this project.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Artist Post: Vito Acconci

Following Piece, 1969

     I chose to write about the performance artist, Vito Acconci, because I find that his works and the ideas behind them to be very different then work I am usually drawn to. I think this is the case because most artists that I like, their work usually has a meaning that is hidden or maybe even unimportant to the viewer. But with Acconci, his work usually, "...Incorporates subversive social comment" (MOMA). His works were constantly changing in the fact that some were more focused on himself, while others were focused on the relationship between artist and viewer, such as the Following Piece or his piece Seedbed.
     However, this is a strange choice of an artist for me to write about because I, honestly, do not like a lot of Acconci's work. I find a lot of his performance pieces to be disturbing, off-putting, and uninspiring (his work Seedbed, for example). However, I must admit that there is something about his work, Following Piece, that I find absolutely incredible. I find the fact that the artist was so compelled to find and establish a connection between the artist and the viewer that he would, essentially, follow a complete stranger around NYC, until they went inside someplace private, to be very daring and inspirational. He was not scared of being "discovered" or "found out," he simply wanted to work to make some connections to the strangers that view his work. I think I find the whole idea behind this work to be so interesting because, in my own art-making, I am usually pretty unconcerned with the viewer. I usually will write-off my own work as being "open to interpretation" and thereby I allow the viewer to have any relationship they want to my art. But Acconci was actively trying to understand and form a relationship with his viewers, albeit in a way that I would have never have considered possible.
      One thing that I really love about this work is the final physical piece that can be seen in the image above. This final piece makes a such a personal experience visual and tangible for anyone to study and experience in a sense. Personally, I love the mix of different types of writing; the big bold headings and the small, detailed notes of the artist, which detail the people he followed about the city. I love how there is this simplified organization of information about the "followings," which are arranged in order from October 3rd - October 25th. This allows for some form of coherence in something that was probably a very chaotic experience. Finally, this "final piece" is exciting to me because it is, essentially, the artist's process in the making of the work. I think it would be very interesting to make or develop a piece where the action or process is the main aspect and the "tangible piece" is almost an afterthought; it is only a monument to the event that happened.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Art Event: Hannah Piper Burns Talk

As her work that was presented was mostly video, here is a link to her vimeo page:

  One thing that immediately interested me about Burns' artist talk was how she started off by showing us the work she had done in her own senior project while she was a student at SMCM. I personally thought that it was really, really cool to see how someone has made the transition from being a student to being a working artist in the real world. It was also pretty cool to see how drastically her work has changed, as it started off as a mix of photography and sculpture and now her work consists of video pieces, or as she calls  them, "mash-ups."
     I thought it was interesting that Burns described her move from photography to video as one influenced by her desire for more narrative. As she put it, a photograph/singular image could not express the full narrative that she wanted to tell with her respective pieces and so a time-based narrative would allow for these narratives to develop more. I think I found this interesting mostly because I find myself to be very uninterested with video and find still images to provide the exact amount of narrative that I want to explore. I liked how Burns explained how she uses the medium of video, through "mash-ups" of song and film that thereby alter the meaning of all the parts, but I, honestly, did not enjoy the final product. I know that in the piece I saw in full (the video about Morgellons) consisted entirely of footage found on the internet, but i thought this made the final video look unfinished and roughly constructed.
     However, that is not to say that I did not enjoy other aspects of her artist talk. I really loved seeing her own SMP work, I could see this inspiring my own work with photography in some way. I also thought her description of youtube as a "unending container" and as a research tool was a really interesting way to see an everyday website as a limitless source. Finally, I thought her comment that art is all negotiation and compromise after the initial idea was very provocative because it made me think about all the art-based ideas I have in a more "logical" or "concrete" sense, if that makes any sense.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Art Event: Chris Saah Talk

     I was not sure what to expect when I went to Professor Saah's artist lecture. I knew going into the talk that he was a photographer, but I had no idea as to his choice of subject or technique or really anything about him as an artist. With no knowledge about him, I thought it was interesting how he discussed in detail his film influences (particular films, directors, etc), particularly since I am coming from not using/liking film as an artistic medium.
     One major discussion point that I found really fascinating was Saah's discussion about his interest in dealing with light and color in relation to photography. I thought that it was interesting in how Saah talked about using color and lighting to help develop the spaces in his photographs, particularly the images from LA, as "psychological enclosures." I also thought it was really awesome for Saah to show us how these images were mounted and presented in a gallery setting: each image was mounted separately on plexiglass and set up in the gallery to feel like stills from movies in a movie theater. This part of the discussion I thought added an element that I don't always hear about in these artist lectures.
     However, there was one part of the lecture that I did not find as inspiring. The problem I had was when Saah was showing us the last group of photographs he was working on (from an Untitled series), in which he let the audience know that the last images we had seen were composite photographs; in other words, the photographs had been created through combining elements from several different images. At first when I was looking at these last images I thought that they were extremely beautiful and well composed/thought out, but when I heard that they were essentially photo-collages, I found that that took a lot of weight out from the works. Maybe I just feel that a photograph should be more exact in it's representation of a subject, but then again Saah's images were very truthful depictions of certain places. I guess I just wish that the artist had left a little mystery as to the origins of the works.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Project 1: First Drawings

So for this project I have decided to do a mass continuation of my sketches of drawing on top of Holga photographs. By doing a large amount of drawings I hope to find a few that have some connections either through the background or in the drawing aspect. Below are only the first three that I have done so far.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Artist Post: Jean Michel Basquiat

Jean Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) was an American artist whose work consisted of, "...a busy style mixing many words and images, often done on intentionally primitive handmade stretchers" (Basquiat). His unique style in painting and drawing made him a "overnight star" in the New York art scene in the 80's (Jean Michel). He is also know for his strong friendship with fellow artist Andy Warhol which affected his artistic output throughout his later career.
Personally I love this really "diagram-ish" style of painting/drawing. It is a way for both text and images to coexist in the same frame, yet draw to their very evident differences. But I like this work because neither of the elements ever look out of place; Basquiat's sketch-like way of painting and writing provides a flow in the pieces that makes you think about where would see this type of work in the outside world. Personally, I feel that the above piece would be in some bizarre, backstreet anatomical diagram book.
Of course I think it would be fair to say that I am drawn to this artist because of similarities I see between his work and that of Cy Twombly. Both artists are using a very visually messy style that, in my opinion, makes you see the whole piece at once, and then allows you to look into certain details and gain additional meaning. After looking into Basquiat's work I really want to try to work on incorporating drawing and writing in my work in a more uniform manner. I want to try this in the future because I feel that sometimes when I try using writing/drawing on top of photographs, it sometimes comes out as disjointed or two dissimilar, and I would worry about how it looks in the end. But if my whole piece has a same style from the beginning (a la Basquiat) then the work would look like something completely different.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Thoughts After Homework 1

honestly, after going through the process of the first homework assignment i have decided that i do not want to explore the medium of film further. in my opinion there are just too many factors to be thinking about when recording film (lighting, set-up, sound, actions, etc). i feel that the medium of still pictures are more what i would like to proceed with as i have more experience with them, and i feel like i could relate to the process and products more then if i was working with film.

with this in mind i was very interested in looking at the different "homemade cameras" that people have used. i particularly like the digital pinhole cameras, heliochromy, and photoacustics images. after looking at these images, i would really like to explore the relm of "blurry" photography, or some craft some sort of pinhole camera to use with either my digital camera or my film camera.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

New Start (Experimental Media)

This blog has now been reclaimed from the depths of the internet as a spot to rejoice over the wonders on my work in the Experimental Media (Art 333) class.

Here is a print that I did over the summer, and one that I really enjoy:

It reminds me of a virus, or something only seen under a microscope.

And while I am on this tangent I think it would be important to point out an artist who I adore: Max Ernst. I can not say enough about this man, so I will use only words to introduce him and show you a wondrous picture:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Artist Post: Cy Twombly

Apollo and the Artist, 1975

     Cy Twombly is an artist whose work stretches beyond any one form of general communication. His works contain aspects of painting, drawing and writing; this combination of art forms makes for different interpretations of meaning, and, in my opinion, makes the work way more interesting. It is particularly interesting to notice that Twombly, starting in the 1970's, incorporates the names and aspects of Greek mythology into his work, there by drawing on aspects of this childhood interests (Twombly). However, it is important in looking at Twombly's works to realize that he often only connects to Greek myth through use of a single word, such as, "Apollo" or "Orpheus" or "Bacchus." Twombly uses this single word to illustrate the power that we associate with this particular myth, if fact he believed that a god's power lies, "...Not in a single act, but in the mobilization of the space between reading and seeing" (Twombly). So when we look at examples of Cy's work we are in fact interacting with these legendary characters and myths simply by reading the name presented to us in the work; the work itself is a way to return to the myth.
     I think that Twombly's work is interesting because it so strongly presents a "meaning" or subject but it does not elaborate on the said meaning. For example, in the work above we are confronted by the name: "Apollo." This name becomes the center focus point of the work, the rest of the piece seems to add to this one name, giving it definition and some form of substance. Now, where this work becomes so fascinating, is in the fact that we bring our own thoughts about the name to the piece, there is no figure or scenario to alter our frame of mind on the subject. The whole piece, text and imagery acts as a biography for the concept/ character of Apollo; as a, "... Network of illusions given word and form" (Twombly).
     Personally, I think this work, and almost every other work I have seen by Twombly, is amazing. I have never seen another artist that presents "text" in such a graphic and dramatic way. The fact that the text is so important, and not an afterthought, makes the piece very interesting to myself, as I find text and handwriting to be very fascinating. Also, I love how the rest of the piece, particularly the painting and drawing, adds to the concept behind the central word; one may at first think the piece is disjointed, but on closer inspection, you can see how well connected and layered the piece is. The only way I could see to make this piece any more incredible would be to place it amongst other pieces on the same subject (in this case Apollo) or perhaps provide some original context as to how the artist became interested in the subject.

Lost in Leonardtown - The Journal