This interdisciplinary fine arts course results in the development of a body of work around contemporary art topics. Research, concept development and studio practice will combine to broaden your skills and ideas. Stimulating assignments together with experimentation promote analysis and understanding of contemporary art ideas, world cultures and historical periods, and other areas of visual information. Studio production and the communication of concepts visually, verbally and in written form will be combined in this thought-provoking course
Monday, December 12, 2011
Friday, December 9, 2011
This image has come out of my (possibly morbid) fascination with Victorian post mortem photography.
In my thesis paper I note an avid collector of medical and post-mortem photography who described his "fascination for 19th-century documentary photography, a large portion of which depicts dead children, infants and murder victims of all ages. He views them not as macabre images, but as indisputable reminders of how Americans grieve throughout history… in Victorian times, families commissioned photographs of their dead children lying in bed or in coffins in a home’s front parlor – often posed with a living sibling -- as keepsakes, and to send to far-flung relatives to announce a child’s death.” I was entranced by the photographs that I came across as I researched this obscure practice for my body of work entitled Memento Mori. The images were haunting, of course, but they were also strangely beautiful. I was fascinated most with the unsettling confusion that I feel when I looked at the photographs of living children posing next to their deceased siblings, who were often photographed with their eyes open. It is almost always impossible to tell which of the two are dead.
The thing that disturbed me the most was not the images themselves. I have seen so much of it that I have developed quite a strong stomach when it comes to the physical tangibility of death. No, what frightened me was the amount of time I would spend sifting through the images and reading the stories of the people depicted. I hesitate to call it obsession for fear of being seen as a highly disturbed individual. But I cannot deny the fact that death has always been so significant throughout my life. The desire to understand it, to find the intellectual aperture into the unknown, has indeed obsessed me.
This was my third attempt at creating a collage of these images and I found it difficult to create an image that I was satisfied with, aesthetically speaking. I do, however, intend to explore this further in the future.
This image is the result of my thoughts about memory.
The image is adapted from a photo taken when I was a very young child. My parents took my brother and I out one summer afternoon to feed the geese that lived on Alum Creek (one of our favorite pastimes before it became illegal). In the photo my mother is holding my little brother in her lap as I play in the sand on the banks. I choose to use that photograph as my inspiration for this piece for a few reasons. When I found this photograph I was struck by the fact that of the three figures in the image, none of our faces are entirely visible. We are all staring out at the water away from the viewer. A lot of the work that I have done over the past 2 years is in some way connected to the death of my mother.
The fact that I choose this image in particular was a decision made in recognition of the loss that occurs in memory over time. My mother was murdered only two short years ago by the man that she began dating just a few years after this photo was taken. I've always been so saddened by the fact that as soon as that man stormed into our lives I began to develop blind spots in my memory. To this day I still have very long memory blocks in the early years of my life and I'm almost positive that this is because of all the abuse that we suffered through because of him. The faceless portrait that I have created in this piece alludes to two specific ways in which my memory has deteriorated.
The first is the fact that I cannot actually remember this day. I was told the story and have filled in the gap with the memory of others, but without this image, it would have been lost to me completely. The second deterioration that I intend to address with this piece is a direct result of the loss of my mother. It has been two years since my mother died, and I have very slowly lost so much of her. I cannot remember her face without looking at a photograph of her. I can only remember her voice on the rare occasions that it comes out of my own mouth.
The thing is though, that there are some things that I can remember so crisply that I doubt I will ever lose them. I don't have my mother's laugh. Mine is usually quiet and conservative, with a smile small and thin because of an irrational self-consciousness about my teeth. But I remember what hers sounded like perfectly with out even having to catch it within my own. Bright, high pitched and so unrestrained. But not obnoxious. It was a laugh that made you smile even if all you wanted to do was stay angry. I can't remember the days between her death and her funeral. But I can remember with perfect clarity the sight and the smell of her blood and that of her boyfriend's brains. I remember how it caked the floor of that disgusting off-white living room that I hated for so many years, adorned with furniture the color of vomit covered denim. Everyday I wish that I could forget what I know, and remember what I lost. I wish I could remember those precious few peaceful years before the apocalypse that our lives became. I would gladly give up the last eighteen years if I could have back the first insignificant five.
In creating this piece I have tried to capture the nature of memory by alluding to the blind spots and fading the ones that are seen. Memory is a whisper of the past, as is this work of very personal exploration.
This is my personal project that I have slowly been working on over the course of the past month. I really enjoyed doing the image transfers and lately have also been kind of obsessive about looking through family photos. All these photos were taken at family gatherings at my grandparents farm as I have grown up. I have arranged them so that they are as the property is mapped out. I wanted this piece to be a collection of memories from this dear place as it is no longer inhabited as it once was. The transfers work well for this piece because they are not perfectly clear and do not reveal all the details, just like how our memory is.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
I have been working the past weeks on getting some photo's taken of the work I have done for class. So I wanted to post some of them this week and talk about each piece individually. As a collection the work has over all feelings about things in our lives that overwhelm, but individually the work has specific meanings.
An Elizabethan collar or space collar (many people call it a cone) is a protective medical device worn by an animal, usually a cat or dog. Shaped like a truncated cone, its purpose is to prevent the animal from biting or licking at its body or scratching at its head or neck while wounds or injuries heal.
The device is generally attached to the pet's usual collar with strings or tabs passed through holes punched in the sides of the plastic. The neck of the collar should be short enough to let the animal eat and drink. Although most pets adjust to them quite well, others won't eat or drink with the collar in place and the collar is temporarily removed for meals.
While purpose-made collars can be purchased from veterinarians or pet stores, they can also be made from plastic and cardboard or by using plastic flowerpots, wastebaskets, buckets or lampshades. Modern collars might involve soft fabric trim along the edges to increase comfort and velcro surfaces for ease of attachment removal.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
During this class I have developed a project that will slowly develop into my senior thesis exhibition. My idea involves taking my father, who is a "collector"/hoarder and using the objects he collects to create a show. At my family home we have a three car garage, green house, and basement which are completely filled with objects my father collects. I have been unable to narrow it down beyond this generalization and know I will be creating a small scale version of this for the final project in this class. The image above is shelving in my house that house a few of the objects my father has collected and given to me over the years. There is a stipulation that everything loaned to me must be returned when I move/die/etc.
Monday, November 14, 2011
This is a piece that I have been working that past few weeks in my painting class. I think I am almost finished with it, I think. the entire point of this painting is to break away from my comfort zone with paint, to stretch my thinking and abilities, and to loosen the heck up. I normally work very tight and smooth and this is helping break colors up for me and paint faster in my regular technique as well as learn a new technique. I just wanted to see what you all thought. This piece is more about style and technique than subject matter.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
This piece is about being engulfed or overwhelmed by something. Sometimes things in our lives take a hold of us, or surround us so much that we lose ourselves. There has been some debate on the formal elements of this piece, that there is possibly too much of it, but it turned out exactly as I envisioned it. I am obsessed with obsessions. And sometimes our obsessions cover up who we are. Whether it’s the house being clean, or making sure you always have a plan, or never having a plan. At times these things can add to who we are and be a part of our personality. But there are times when we become “overwhelmed” and lose the balance of our personality, obsession, identity or whatever form you want to put it into. More or less this piece is a reflection of my own feelings of being overwhelmed and trying to find the balance in the form. The piece is made form the folded pages of an entire dictionary.
The idea for the altered book that I am working on stems from my curiosity of how and why we remember things as we do, as a great deal of my work is somewhat memory related. I have started with the 5 senses and how they work, and will continue on how the information they perceive travels to the brain and how it is stored, and retrieved. I wanted to explore this in a book because it is partially an informative piece so it seemed appropriate. So far I have used only pen, but will work with image and text transfers as well as watercolor.
Monday, November 7, 2011
Symbols and icons are a language all on their own. Although each individual viewer can interpret them based on their own experience, the overall narrative of the symbol is the same. I have created individual allegories worn on the body. These totems, enhanced by textures and rhythms, possess energy that ceremonialize life and natural beauty: each composition is a distinct and tangible poem. When worn, the jewelry allows the individual to make an independent statement without physically saying anything at all.
Friday, November 4, 2011
My point I am trying to make is that a story that our grandparents told our parents who told us is a pretty powerful thing in our human existence. It has the power of connecting us all, and it is a story we will keep telling generations to come. Which to me makes this idea iconic to me.