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!      

Saturday, September 21, 2013


     While building my Memory House I was surprised and pleased at how the back of the house turned out, where I made a new image by tearing apart a color film image and pieced it back together over a cut up black & white pinhole image of the same subject.  So I thought I should experiment with other images and see what happened.  To do the experiment justice I thought I should try a variety of types of images.

This first one is a straight film image over a straight pinhole image.

The second one is a straight color image over a double exposure pinhole image.

The third one is a pinhole film image over a straight pinhole image.

The last two are utilizing sculpture/ event/ action images.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

9/14 Phone Consultation with My Advisor

     I talked about how my Memory House came to be: Ben’s comment that I should isolate parts of my images & blow them up, and Molly’s comment that I should take pieces from my images and reconstruct them into one larger 2-dimensional house image.  I got thinking about Cornelia Parker’s Hanging Fire sculpture at the ICA, and I became fascinated by the idea of making my shredded imagery “float” in space.  (“Shred” was how I saw it in my mind – I think Ben & Molly were thinking of cleaner boarders.)  DT told me to think about the words “isolate” and “attach”.  She also said that what Ben said & what Molly said are two different things.  Ben told me to “isolate” because there was too much going on in my images.  And now I’ve isolated, but put them back together in a format where there is really way too much going on.  DT asked why am I doing this?  She asked if am I reacting to Ben & Molly’s comments, or am I thinking and investigating?  I need to look at how I make decisions.  She also asked me to try to answer what is hitting me about the word “isolate”.   Why am I doing what I’m doing?  But she also said to be careful not to let the thought process guide the work.  Have intuition steer the work, and then step back and try to understand it objectively.

     DT said “process” and “place” are both very important in my work.  She said my work is both material driven and location driven.  She said I seem to be trying to make something that can be seen only through a particular way of working.  She said I seem to work intuitively, but I need to look at how I make decisions.  DT suggested I take some scraps of chicken wire and make small samples of various imagery attachment methods.  I shouldn’t think about a finished product, but rather delve into the investigation of materials and attachments and what the various results convey.

     DT said she looks at my Memory House and thinks that it is not going to just exist as an object, but that something will happen to it.  She said I like to create a situation and a spectacle and document it.   She said I take objects and turn their presence from “is” to “was”.  And she wondered if this was a “fact”, or a “fiction”.  She said I seem to be bumbling down the road to dissatisfaction, and that I am trying to see something I haven’t seen before.  She said I again that should think about “absence” and “isolation”.

     DT suggested I look at the Situationists, like Guy Debord.  And I should read Lucy Lippard.  She said my process reminds her of psychogeography.  And my next paper should be trying to dig down deep into the “whys” of what I’m doing with my work.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Memory House

My Memory House is constructed out of aluminum and chicken wire.  I confess that it was a much fussier and prickly construction method than I quite imagined.  But I wanted a "transparent" house that I could "float" pieces of imagery on. 

The back of the house has two images of the same house - one black and white pinhole, and one from a color film negative.  They are cut & torn and reassembled in layers, because our inner world is a series of layers, some seen, others unseen.

I enlarged sections from some of images and printed them out on cold press paper.  I then then proceeded to tear them into pieces.  My idea is that our memories are really just enlarged segments of time, torn into easily recalled bits, and then re-pieced together to construct our remembered life.  These pieces will form the exterior walls of my house.

I am still piecing together my house.  The back interior wall of the house is lined with a color photograph of a sunlit bed, because beds are comfortable, private, and like our nests.  My idea is that this image will be visible only through holes left in the front and side walls, allowing the viewer just glimpses into the private interior space. 

Self Portraits

A number of people at the residency suggested I take more self portraits.  So I have, and probably will take some more.  I am thinking of printing some smaller self portraits on copper, and hang them inside my copper house.  But this is just an idea I've been thinking about.

Sculpture Photos

Unlike last Winter, when I became bored with photographing my sculptures, this time I feel like I'm using them as experimental props.  It is much more engaging.  And the process is giving me ideas of what to do in expanding my copper house sculpture.

Deering Barn & Inhabitants

The real people from Deering Farm sleep in a graveyard in the woods.  So I thought I'd try some double exposures with the graveyard & the structures.  I think this idea can be a bit cliche, but I'd like to try and find a way to make it work.  And then I thought living people should be photographed as well.  I feel I need more experimentation with the living people idea.