Monday, April 7, 2014

Structural Integrity

So the works are made and the show is up, what a wild week.  I have been thinking back to where I started this program, and I do believe things have come a long way.  I was present with several challenging situations during the creation of this piece.  The most being the decision of what to do with the safety aspect of the works.  The most simple option, to just screw or glue the works to not be able to fall, ended up being the one I had to fight against to the integrity of the piece.  Ric asked me, if art is artifice, why not just fake it?  This was the clarifying moment for me, I felt the gut reaction of, no.  I do not want this work to be that, this work is honest.  I ended up facing two options, attendants to stand next to the more dangerous works and warn people to not get too close- or to place a sanction in front of the work and not allow people to walk around the space.  Both options had their pros and cons and depending on the hour or minute in which you asked, I was set on one or the other.  This was one of the most tedious decisions I have ever had to go through with my work.  I never thought I would be making decisions for my work based on human safety- thanks grad school.

I ended up going with a thin cable set about low thigh height, which I ended up being quite happy with. I think this barrier worked for the piece in two ways.  The first is the strange occurrence that would happen when a viewer, standing under the works would not be aware that the works were all completely balanced.  The viewer would not think that the works could be balanced because they are able to stand and be close to the works.  The boundary allowed for the viewer to feel that the space in front of them would be dangerous to be in, and that in fact the pieces are balanced.  The second thing the cable does for the work is to control the vantage points from which the works are viewed.  This enhanced the theater of the installation, forcing the viewer to step back and think about the place from which they are looking from.  

I have also decided that the works, if they fall down, will stay in pieces.  I am interested in the works only surviving if gravity allows it.  

I have learned so much.  I can not believe how much I enjoyed/loathed the process I went through.  There were times that felt so fertile and full of inspiration but also times of blankness and utter frustration.  I would love to have another opportunity to do an installation, working with the scale and individual qualities of the site pushed my work.

I also wanted to thank everyone who supported me during this crazy adventure.  Particularly, Ric, Molly, Ian, Michael, Tim and Julie.  Also, I could not have done this alone, all of my cohorts who went through this and who will be going through this next year- you are all a constant inspiration.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

All of this Happened More or Less

A little over a month.  It is so incredible to me that I will be in the gallery making my final thesis work in one month.  I am in the process of making many different works concentrating on making them in space and not reliant on the wall.  I have been experimenting with a few new materials, to make sure if I do continue to work with these materials they are exactly what I want.  I am making sculptures now that include concrete and cinderblocks, I think the grey will be a nice addition to the palette of the works.  As I am working in the studio, I am also writing a lot.  I am working on the artists that I want to include in my thesis.  These are very stragetically chosen artists and I am still making it right.  As of right now they are, Richard Serra, Cy Twombly, Robert Smithson and Sarah Sze. I am interested in bringing these artists into my thesis writing to discuss both the similarities and the differences.  I am also looking at artists who are dealing with sculpture in a minimalist way.  Most recently, Ashley Carter has caught my eye.
Ashley Carter, Paper Weight Two

The work I will be making in the next month will be exploring the options that I have for these works. First, the plaster molds that I have been making have a few different ways they could be used in the installation.  Also, I want to start using some bigger pieces of materials and see the options I have with them.  I also want to investigate what I can do with heavier objects, like the cinder blocks and the concrete.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Beginning of the End

As the final semester gets started, my time in the studio has been devoted to creating work while thinking about the space in the Canzani Gallery.  I have been dealing with a lot of logistical situations lately, how to find materials, how to install in 5 days and how I want to go about those 5 days.  I also have been making works on and off the wall, with the stand alone pieces being the more challenging works to set-up and make work.  I have been thinking about the group of tactics that I have been using to make these works as "moves", such as propping something on a 1x2 and leaning against the wall.  I am adding to my vocabulary of moves and want to continue doing so, so when it is time for install I have them to pull from.

I recently went to Erin Shirreff's artist talk at the Wexner.  Her work talks about the temporality of all works, even large scale outdoor sculptures.  Her work is comprised of sculptures, videos and photographs.      The way she spoke about her work and the balance she maintains between research and intuitive making was inspiring to me.  I have been writing about what my work mean to me and why it is important- this is a hard thing to put into words, it is an ongoing process.

Holland Cotter recently wrote an article in the New York Times, Lost in the Gallery- Industrial Complex.  This paragraph in particular keeps recurring to me:
"How experimental can artists be under such circumstances? How confidently can they take risks in an environment that acknowledges only dollar-value success? How can they contemplate sustaining — to me this is crucial to New York’s future as an art center — long and evolving creative careers? The temptation for many artists, after a postgraduate spurt of confidence, is to look around, see what’s selling, and consider riffing on that. We’re seeing a depressing number of such riffs these days."
Being close to graduation, I am thinking about this and the future a lot.  It is time now that everything is on a higher level than ever, excitement, anxiety, stress, fear and determination.

This is a few of the works that I have done and documented.

Monday, January 6, 2014

A, B, C

A. After shift job searching- benefits of working at a restaurant/coffee house?

B. Sarah Sze's work is just as amazing in person as I have always hoped.  The Fabric Workshop in Philly is great- highly recommend it.  

C. My work in the works in the studio.  -6 degree weather won't keep me away. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Critique Day

I have heard a similar question a lot this week having my work up in the space-
What if they break? 

Well, what if anything breaks? It's broken.  At that point there's a couple of things to do, try to fix them,  throw them away, or embrace the chance and look at them broken.  

I am interested in the work having this quality of tension and I plan on pushing this further in the work.  The cycle of building, allowing the structure to be seen and live but ultimately may be destroyed speaks to the life of walls.  I want to utilize the walls of the gallery to isolate the gestures of my work and to allow for the consideration of what is holding it all together. 
I have been researching and reading about Richard Smithson in particular right now.  His collection of writings and also his photographs have been informing my thoughts about this work.  The ideas of ruins that he talks about are of particular interest to me right now. 


Monday, September 16, 2013

Post for Critique One

As I push forward into my Second Year and my thesis I am finding myself looking back.  I have been doing a lot of self reflection into who I am as an artist and why I do this.  Maybe ironically as I try to push forward I have been finding some answers in early works, works I did back in undergrad.  There was something very honest about this work, a reason that I have seem to have lost.  I am hoping through looking back and rekindling, I can bring this back into the work I make moving forward and join with it the knowledge I have gained.

So what is it? I look at documentation photos that I have taken of old work and it is not the work that I see but the process that created the piece.  For this work I sat in a rolling chair and pushed myself from one side to the other with a sharpie making individual line after line. The upper region was a chunk of graphite that I ground into the paper until it was shiny and my arm hurt.  

I made my first installation piece, I had to go after hours to this little gallery and lock myself in over night to hang panel after panel into the struts in the ceiling until it was just right and I was exhausted.

So, it is the process. As I go into this thesis year, I have to get back to what it is that drives me to make, and I think for me it is just that, to make.  But this is not enough.  As a viewer, I know the kind of work I like to engage with has a visual but also a conceptual element. 

So I have been researching into installation and performance artists who engage with ideas of creating or paring down work until the viewer is aware of the bare necessities of an artwork.  I have been reading a lot about the creative process and how artworks work.  Also, I have been visually categorizing the mental states that creativity thrive in (isolation vs hyperactivity vs dialogue...) in an effort to come across a way to trigger this association in the viewer. In particular the article In Proximity of Performance by Matthew Goulish has been influencing the way I am thinking. 

Artists such as:
Bruce Nauman
Marina Ambramovic
Ann Hamilton
Constructivist Artists (more to come)
 & Art Povera Artists such as Giovanni Anselmo

How does a work work where?
A work is an object overflowing its frame.  Work is an event in which the human participates; the human is an organism that works.  A work works when it becomes an event of work.  A work works when it becomes human.  This becoming occurs when we realize it.  Specifically, it occurs when we realize it where it occurs.  It occurs inside.  We do not need to find a way into a work, since the work is already inside.  Instead we realize a work and its harmony with out point of view.  Then it and we begin to work, and the play of work begins.  
-Matthew Goulish