Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
There is lots of room for quick and sequential play with digital tools. I am playing with the space between abstraction and representation -- pushing representation into abstraction and pushing the abstraction back to representation.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I finished my sketchbook for Sketchbook Project 4. Above, "Converse" (inside front cover + facing page) and "Mark Time: Structure" (back and front cover).
The way the soft cover soaked up ink some times in chunks was frustrating, and after the initial pencil marks and colored pencil coloring, the addition of ink pushed the cover through a couple intermediate stages that I hated. The cover seemed to get worse with each fix. The end image, however, turned out well, with a few scars from the journey. The experience is a good reminder that art often needs to go through the awful, and stages ought not be considered sacrosanct as even successful passages may have to give way for a successful whole to emerge.
I had a small amount of bleed through at the spine. The smattering of unintentional marks seems okay in the overall scheme of the sketchbook. Normally, when I work with a sketchbook, I don't worry about flawed marks or cross outs. Sketchbooks are for working out ideas and for practicing accumulate marks. I'll close my eyes at times and make circles, which end up elliptical, or make cubes which end up as blurs moving around the page. But because this Sketchbook is a submission, and hence, will be on display, it proved difficult to be that carefree. Even if not carefree, I was able to be experimental in my approach. The inevitable result is that some pages work very well, and a few are quite a bit weaker than I would like.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I am participating in Art House Coop's The Sketchbook Project 4. Above, Pages 6, 4 and 19 of my sketchbook as of today.
I was assigned "Time" as a theme for my sketchbook -- serendipity as my work involves time. I moved sequentially page to page, cutting much of my sketches with a razor blade, and marking times I made cuts and marks; time markings passed through holes from one page to another page, offering a link between the pages. In some sketches, I arrayed time markings as forms. All the pages have been cut and marked, but I will take a little time away from the sketches before deciding I am done, thus breaking sequence with any additional marks I make.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
While procrastinating, an old thought of mine about relativity (it's all subjective) and cause and effect, really about applying quantum theories like the uncertainty principle to behavioral or moral realms, popped into my head. Most of the time, we operate in a macro world (even if our gadgets operate in a micro world). If a person gets hit straight on by a bus, absent the success of medical intervention, the person is going to be struck, hurt, and perhaps killed; if we're driving the bus, we are going to hit, injure and perhaps kill the person. The bus is not going to pass through a person and leave him/her unscathed. Pretending not to perceive (or in fact not actually seeing) the crash does not heal the person. Whether or not we accurately can articulate objective reality does not mean the objective reality does not exist, even if it is an approximation/limit reached as opposing perceptions meet and vie.
art-21 did a segment, "Identity," in 2001 asking how contemporary art addresses the idea of identity. Among the images was "Allora & Calzadilla's "Hope Hippo" from the 2005 Venice Biennale, with a quote from the artists about very large conflicts effecting everything, including what we identify with.
Looking at the image, without the artist's quote, identity issues do not come to mind, which for me points to the issue of how much an artist must say to identify meaning in their work.
I like the mud hippo as an image and form. I would like to have seen the installation, even if for me, it brings to mind theme parks, rather than conflicts. It's a great big sleepy turtle like hippo, more turtle than hippo. Sleepy danger? Hippos are dangerous. Respect the size, if nothing else. The real ones in the wild looked mild enough ignoring us as we stood a few feet away from a group of them in Ngorongoro Crater. Our guide, however, warned they could charge anytime. It did not seem to us like they would, and we snapped out pictures, like one does at a theme park or zoo. The mud hippo in the image looks benign, with no energy to charge, especially with the person sitting on him reading the newspaper, ignored in the same way that birds and flies don't appear to bother real hippos floating in water pools.
All of this has me reexamining my own intentions, or at least whether I am accurately verbalizing those intentions. It can be hard to put a precise word to what one is doing. Hard, not impossible. Sitting is sitting, running is running. I've looked at my work as being about loss and retention of identity through translation, transition, and transformation, about using imprimaturs of identity of one media in another media, about how identity of an object or installation changes in a new context or arrangement of the same elements. So, identity fits as an arch, but I am doubting that the viewer looking at my work thinks or says, "Aha, identity."
I am not even sure "identity" translates when I explain the work in connection with "identity" as a concept. I myself like embedding in the context of my work "identity" -- aka historical meaning -- that really is just a construct from artifacts that survived the passage of time. But there's a difference between motivation for me in creating and communication to the viewer when experiencing the art. Many viewers seem to appreciate learning the historical story (baggage), if they have not recognized the reference carried by an element incorporated into my work, but that may be more appreciation that there is a history, and less reflective of any additional understanding of my work that the information offers them ... much the same way that the quote connected to the mud hippo did not particularly help me then see the work as relating to conflict or identity.
Why an artists does one thing or another in art often is conceptual, although not necessarily sequentially coherent or recognizably coherent concepts. "Intuitive" decisions are often grounded in learned, ingrained concepts, even if indirectly. Decisions can be in line or at odds with each other, the range of synchronicity or diversion contributes to the artist's inner dialogue with the work and the dialogue between the artists and viewer.
But does the artist want to be, and should the art be, evaluated on conceptual grounds, or instead on the impact of the work, which may differ in projected meaning from the conceptual decisions that informed and shaped the work? Before/during the fact or after the fact? How many artists are honest about their before the fact intentions, and how many more likely characterize hindsight observation as prior intention?
I'll start out with initial intentions that observation of the work (and of my other prior work) changes in the making. In this way, I suppose I discover the work. The beginning and the end are never completely in sync.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Installing at the Palette & Chisel tomorrow night --
Hub: Converging Divergence opens on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Palette & Chisel in Chicago.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The lion (left) looks out of the picture, taking the viewer's eye with it; there's no return entry point. But the dark eye is like a period, fixed, not entirely a part of the lion, and if lion shape dissolves in the viewer's eye, the viewer's eye does not leave the picture. The dark eye and the hard right edge of the lion (left) and the digging animal (right) are in a circle about the angled highlight line, approximately.
Verticality of the digging animal image stops the plane on which it sits from falling inward. Skewing it causes the right image to lose independent stability but facilitates movement within the combination of the left and right images.