Monday, January 20, 2014

Test Images

1st Mentor Meeting, Sunday, January 12th

It was great to meet with Shellburne again.  She always cuts through to the essence.

Shellburne said that I should constantly re-evaluate my need to build.  She said “Less is More”, and it takes courage to just let things sit.  She said the quartets were over-kill, and the wire was too fussy and keeping the viewer from getting into the image.  She said I’m not respecting my images, and I need to get out of my own way.  She said I could try using shadow boxes to mix interiors and exteriors, the way my reflection images were both the inside and the outside.  She said the boxes themselves would have to be much more discrete, though, so the frames wouldn’t get in the way.  She said I should let the viewer bring his or her own associations.  Or she said I could think about printing my images on silk and let them float as the viewer walks by.  She was also intrigued by my experimental black and white vellum image over a color image.  She said that was worth trying more of.  She said to think of how memory, like dreams, doesn’t necessarily make sense.  She said I needed to go back and regroup, and not confuse myself.  She said I have a tremendous amount of imagery to work with, and I should spend some time composing with the computer.

January Residency

     The weather wasn't the only interesting happening at the residency.  Stacey Piwinski said it best: I came with four separate bodies of work, and I had to choose.  So with this I had four differing camps of opinion.

     The quartets should function 5 ways: each as individuals and then as a group.  In the quartets I’ve already determined what’s fractured and what’s put together.  But the photos are more ephemeral, and allow the viewer to explore and make determinations.  In the quartets things have gotten too externalized and flat.  I need to go deeper into the visual form.  The more specific things become the more general things become.  Although there were also some who loved my quartets and their fencing and wanted to see more and have them expand and grow.
     With the shadow boxes I’ve mediated what the viewer is seeing.  It is not straight on imagery.  The transparent layers provide a lot of ambiguity, as the imagery shifts as the viewer moves.  They are painterly without being a painting.  But the boxes are kind of clunky and the lights should not be in suck a straight and even line.
     Jan Avgikos said the materiality and craftiness of both the quartets and the shadow boxes disrupted and got in the way of the content.
     Robert Smithson has written a lot about materials and manifestation and entropy.
The house is not dramatic enough.  There is no emotional distance.   Nesting metaphors of house and wall are present but murky. I should challenge my approach.  The house is distance, but Kiefer is not distance.  Washy & watercolory doesn’t convey emotion.  Things have to be more unexpected.  And where are the interiors of these structures where the actual living occurred?  Where are the objects, the pieces of things people hold onto? 
     Memory and reconstruction of the past needs more than the outside of the house.  There is not enough to explore this idea.  It needs to be more nuanced.  I am showing only one side of our sense of security.  I need to branch off and explore other ramifications.  I need to describe the psychology of memory of a place.  I should spend time writing down what I miss or want from my memories.  I need to give a clear indication of what the memory is.
     Sunanda Sanyal said to frame memory in terms of the American idea of memory.  He said I should widen my view of the house, but also discuss the limitations of the house.  As an artist he said not to just look at possibilities, but also the limitations.
     Dissolution and transformation – something lost, something gained.  Find a way to imitate this process: not literally, but emotionally.  I should aspire to a lot of emotional content.
Many people liked my experimental piece with a black & white vellum image over a color image.  Deb McDuff said she liked that the best, because the vellum represented memory, and the color behind symbolized life.
     What most people liked the most were my straight pin-hole camera images of my sculptures.  Lynne Cooke said the detail in my images didn’t automatically correspond with a known process to her.  She said it adds to their mystery and ambiguity.  Assya Makawi said she loved how much clarity and detail was in my pin-hole images, and yet so much ambiguity.  She said all of my other work is a support for my pin-hole images.  Jan Avgikos said I should investigate the idea of haunted houses.