Sunday, April 29, 2012

Art Event #2 : Pam Cardwell talk

     I thought that the talk given by visiting artist Pam Cardwell was interesting on several fronts. I really liked how she explained her process as working like a writer or novelist in that she starts her works with lots of details, from whatever source she is working from, and then begins to refine them and abstract them. I also thought her talk was interesting in that she explained her interest in the work of Gorky and how she was first exposed to his work when on a field trip when she was very young. Cardwell then explained how she taught and lived in Turkey from 1998-2004, during that time she traveled in Armenia and Georgia where she looked at Armenian illuminated manuscripts and monasteries. She elaborated on what she loved most about these sites by describing how she looked to the frescoes in Georgian churches by loving the “massive scale and vibrant colors” and the faded images from the churches.
     Perhaps the first point that I picked up on, and I saw realized in the drawings she did while visiting SMCM, was her idea that she works like a “novelist.” In that she will work from imagery seen in the environment around her and her first sketches will be more “realistic” and then she will go back into her drawings with an eraser and charcoal and rearrange and rework her drawings until they were abstracted forms of the original. I feel like this idea is exactly the same mindset as what I am working with in my current project. When I say that I am referring to how my current work involves taking preexisting documents and slowly making alterations and additions to the document to remake them in a fashion that seems more “real” in accordance to my own vision. So, in a way I find that my own working process is in line with what Cardwell described in her talk simply by coincidence of a similar mindset/practice while working.
     Finally, what I think is working strongly in Cardwell’s work is that her drawings and paintings really do appear as these unique, natural “things” that your eyes have never seen before, yet also have some familiarity behind them. Looking at these images does allow the mind to start forming some connections – perhaps because I did see her studio when she was visiting, it is easy for my own mind to draw connections between these works and various natural formations (beaches, rocks, etc) and natural organisms, such as plant life. I also though that her explanation of her working process – taking in as much information as possible and then slowly letting some of it go – made her work much stronger and more relatable, as I could better understand how her mind was working through these artistic situations.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Intention Statement

     The world around me is a thing that is changing so drastically that it has become nearly impossible for me to understand what is around me. It is constantly pushing its own signs and messages onto me and nothing is sticking. To attack this lack of understanding the world around me and its contents my own form of art has developed. My pieces look to reanalyze, reinterpret and recreate forms from these outside, worldly forces and make a record of them as they would exist in my own conscious understanding of the environment that is surrounding me. Images and figures and documents are no longer static, calculating and unreadable, but are fluid and vivid and contain all the passion and deep-felt emotion that they originally had before being passed down from one supposed source to another. The works are aiming to remake history into a completely emotional and visual arena that is just as absurd and beautiful as it supposedly already is.  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Project Three Research - Adolph Gottlieb

Blast I, 1957

     As I continue to grow interested in developing my own form of visual writing, another artist that I look to for inspiration is the later work of Adolph Gottlieb. Now on one hand I do find Gottlieb’s earlier work – his pictographs – interesting because of how he filled them with “universal symbols” of his own creation ( I took this to mean that he was interested in interpreting the grand and overlaying stories/concepts of the world in his own form of visualization. To that end I am very much interested in his work, such his painting, Man Looking at Woman. This type of painting is also interesting to me because it is done in such a primitive style that it looks as if it could be interpreted by any group of people, however, because Gottlieb put his own imagery into the biomorphic forms, the work becomes more personal.
     However, as my own writings become more visual in nature and plays off of the surrounding images and text that I am looking to “reinterpret” I find Gottlieb’s latter, Burst paintings to be more within the mood and look of what I am trying to create with my own work. For example, in his painting Blast I (1957), Gottlieb uses huge strokes of paint and color to establish a mood for the piece and for the viewer to experience, all without any discernable, direct imagery (Wilkin 16). With these paintings, Gottlieb focuses solely on color and form, which I find myself more and more interested in; line and shape as portraying a mood or feeling, as opposed to directly spelling something out for the viewer to feel. However, I do think it is interesting that Gottlieb’s paintings really exist on their own, there is no real background or backing imagery, which is very different then how I want to create my next works, which are based solely on a preexisting text, which will serve as the basis for my works. So it will be important for myself, as I progress with this work, to understand that there must be a balance between the marks that I make, their relationship to each other and the relationship to the original document.

Man Looking at Woman


Wilkin, Karen. Color as Field: American Painting 1950-1975. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007. Print.

Project Three Research - Helen Frankenthaler

Mountains and Sea

     I have only recently become drawn to the work of Frankenthaler after have seen one of her paintings in person. What strikes me is that even though her work falls into the category of “Color Field” painting, the work is still very graphic in the way that the paint is dripped and poured onto the canvas; and in some areas I could almost see her painting form into symbols or words, which I found very appealing to my own artistic mindset.
     What I found really amazing after seeing her work in person was how her images/compositions really seemed to “emerge” from the canvas itself in a way that looked completely natural and believable ( Her works to do not seem like something that was obviously layered and fussed over by the artist, instead the imagery seems to come from within and extend out in all directions and at the same time, “…The figure and ground become one” and any trace of 3D illusionism is completely removed ( After reading this, I could look at her famous painting, Mountains and Sea, and have a better feel as to what she was going for, because at first look I thought the painting was just a total mess- nothing really made sense to me. Now, however, after better understanding the practice behind her works, the imagery seems much more powerful and fitting in with the technique used to make it.
     Yet it is also interesting to my own artistic mind that Frankenthaler was interested in the “ambiguities of symmetry.” In fact when describing her own pieces, Nude and Eden, Frankenthaler stated that there is a balance between what is “enclosed and what is seeing out of an enclosure” (Brown 45). Frankenthaler elaborated by saying that in regards to her work, she was interested in something being symmetrical and not at the same time – each side of the work being different, yet still balancing out the whole composition. 
     I think this is why I am now starting to appreciate Frankenthaler’s work as some form of inspiration for my own projects. Just as her stain paintings seemed to emerge from the canvas itself, I want my drawings/writings to not seem to be layered on top of some background or source image. To be truly effective as a drawing and as writing the work should look to have been originated from its background. So for this final project I need to pay close attention to my backing image/documents because if I start to make marks that do not agree with the original, then the whole piece will come across very badly. I think though if I work to layer, shade and make my marks in a variety of ways then my works will seem as organic and wide-spreading as Frankenthaler’s are.


Frankenthaler, Helen. Interview by Julia Brown. After Mountains and Sea: Frankenthaler 1956-1959. 
New York City: Harry N. Abrams, 1998. 27-49. Print.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Project Three - Initial Sketches

 My initial thoughts going into this project are to bring back my evolving, hand writing/drawings. However, this time, instead of adding my writings onto images (which I saw as a way to re-describe those images) I want to reinterpret historical/political/military documents with my writings directly on top of these documents. I want my writing to have a sporadic, child-like manner that works to show how I see these types of historical/political documents - as these items of a world in which there is this clean, presentable world on the outside (what the public sees), but these documents really represent the desires and wants of these mysterious, cult-like organizations and governments. Basically, I want to again illustrate my uncomfortableness with the world of politics by bringing these documents into my own world.