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.