Sunday, September 22, 2013

First Mentor Meeting, September 20th

     Judy said my photographs are not static.  They are off kilter, enigmatic, mysterious, and almost seem to be evaporating.  They are very lurking, and cinematic.  Judy said when you look at William Christenberry’s photographs of houses they embody a sense of the iconography of “houseness”.  Judy said my photographs are very different than Christenberry’s.  The images feel more glimpsed than composed.  They are not self consciously constructed, and have an intuitive sense of the psychological.
     Judy asked if I’d considered creating a narrative with my photographs.  We talked of that quite a bit, and how and why I liked certain images paired together.  She said I should be conscious of what kinds of things I want to be recognized for in order to control the conversation when presenting my work.  And I need to know what language I want to embrace.
      With that thread in mind she said right now my sculptures and photographs are living in two different worlds, and do not at present function as a group of work.  She said the sculptures feel playful, while the photographs create a visceral response.  She said I had to push their languages towards each other.  She said when you look at Beverly Buchannan or William Christenberry’s sculptures you don’t think of ‘birdhouse’ or ‘dollhouss’.  Rather you think of ‘house’, despite their small size.  She said my photographs of my sculptures were more successful.  And she liked the way they tricked the viewer as to their actual scale, making the viewer believe the sculptures are much larger.  Although she said I should photograph my sculptures the way I photograph actual buildings, creating a feeling that the sculptures are looming.
     Judy said my recent Memory House was pushing closer to my photographs.  She spent quite a bit of time looking at it and discussing it.  She said she like the idea of fragmented images on the house sides, but they all appeared too composed to get my meaning across.  She suggested printing the image on a transparent surface like glass or Plexiglas or acetate.  She said then I could actually shatter the glass and reassemble it, or burn the acetate and melt it.  She also suggested making the house lean more, or perhaps be just a broken section of house.  She said I needed to find a way to make it more artful than forced.
     Judy said I needed to also consider other ways of working with a structure.  She asked how would it be different working with clay, or differences in scale, and how should it be displayed: should it be floating from the ceiling, or poking out of the wall?   She also said I should also consider other ways of representing ‘house’ than with an entire structure.  She said I should consider just part of a structure, or separations and dislocations or rupture as part of the architecture.  She said because my photographs are so visceral I need to make my sculptures feel more phenomenological.  She said to consider constructing a very physical moment in space that was just an abstraction of torn elements of wood.  She said to think outside of the box with a broader sense of possibilities.
     Judy liked my experiment with torn and reassembled images.  She said she enjoyed the concept of two different broken things coming together to create a third whole thing.  She also liked the size of them.  She said it would be interesting to create a series of them that ran along the wall in a narrative.  I said I had an idea along that line with the fire images.  I will try and bring that one next time I see her.  She did suggest that I take black watercolor and paint the bare white tears in the paper.  I have since done that, and it is interesting how it changed the images.
     Judy said that I needed to know that I have a very successful body of work just in my photographs.  And what I am trying to do, create a combined body of work with photographs and sculptures that speak in concert is a very difficult thing to do.  But she said she thought I could do it, and was glad that I am open to experimentation.  We meet again in two weeks, so I better get to work!      

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