Friday, November 29, 2013

November 22nd Mentor Meeting

     I started off my meeting with Judy by showing her my pinhole photographs of my sculptures at the location of their inspiration.  She really liked these images.  She said that in the past my sculpture photographs were more self consciously done, stating “this is this”, and “that is that.”  But now there is a unification where lots of different things are stating to talk together.  She said that the way Charles Sheeler photographed factories, and Hilla & Bernd Becher photographed water towers, spoke of “this place is iconic”.  But the way I have photographed my sculptures is very internalized, the way Gaston Bachelard’s writing in The Poetics of Space is very internalized.  She said the low vantage point has an ambiguity, and makes the images feel more in the moment.  She said they are also enigmatic, and not completely knowable. She said my images echo “house” without overly defining the deconstructed overlay of damaged house.  She said they feel like the occludedness that happens in memory.  She said the viewer has the sense of being within the piece as opposed to looking at it.  She said they’re visceral, with everything collapsing together right in the image.  She felt the images were very active, with an openness: the copper house levitating, the barn fracturing, and the form moving to image to texture. The fracturing and diagonals repeated keeps the images vibrant, and she liked the play of the geometric with the biomorphic.  She said I really need to consider how to display these, because the paper surface is so rich: glass or no glass, perhaps mount on aluminum and have them come out from the wall.
     Judy was very excited about my large 34” X 44” images (printed on 4 separate sheets of 17” X 22”).  I told her my original intent was to piece them together into one, but I actually loved the fracturing that occurred by having them as 4 separate images.  She agreed.  I talked with her of my plans for layering torn pieces of color images onto them, connecting them with chicken wire, and so on.  She opened up that discussion to include other ideas of how they could exist and evolve.  So I think I will break with my original intent and experiment a little further.
     I showed Judy my larger transparencies for my fire series, and we discussed how their larger size changed the image.  I told her I wanted to pick 3 images and frame them in a box.  She said I needed to lay three out together, and work them as a trio to see how they would work in concert.  She said I am composing now, so I need to think about how they flow together. That was good advice, and not at all how I’d been approaching it.
    Judy was also excited about my material exploration.  She said it was interesting, though, that the only substance I poured as a sheet and then broke was the plaster.  I hadn’t really thought of that.  I said I really enjoyed breaking the plaster, and like the fracturing that occurred.  But one of the plaster pieces I had to stop fracturing because all the material wanted to fall away, and both of them kept shedding bits.  She said I should try lining the back with paper before I pour the plaster.  And then when I break the plaster I can burn away the pieces of paper where I want the plaster to fall away.  She also really liked the grittiness of the dog hair pumice gel medium piece.  She said I should try combining these two materials with the plaster and see how that would be.  She also talked quite a bit about armatures, other backings, and methods of hanging plaster pieces.  She said to experiment further within this narrower range.
     Judy said I should look up the artist Elaine Spatz Rabinowitz.  She said she does hyper-realistic paintings on broken plaster.  She said it might give me a good idea of how to marry my images with broken things.
     I told Judy I felt like I had all these parts and pieces, with no definitive completed project to show her.  She said she thought I was right were I should be, and should just keep carrying on.  So I guess that’s what I’ll do.

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