For the Ride of Your Life:

"It may well be that there is no human urge more fundamental than that of making a mark"-

In the words of Chuck Close: "You Just Have to Show Up

"I would like to make something that is real in itself," [Arthur Dove] once wrote, "that does not remind anyone of any other thing, and that does not have to be explained like the letter A, for instance."

“Art is never an end in itself; it is only an instrument for tracing the lines of lives.”

—Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari (qtd. in West)


Friday, May 27, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"It’s a Freakin’ Campbell’s Soup Can” Or “My Kid Could Do That!”

"I cannot tell you how many times over the course of time, I have heard the phrase “That is art? My kid could do that!” Usually, the comment is directed at an artwork that came out of post WWII times, the 1960’s in particular, and honestly, there were times, when I myself would think “Hmm, hard to argue with that!” HOWEVER, and a big however as you can see, unlike those that comment and move on without further exploration, I have usually tried to research the reasoning behind the work that was in question, not always successfully so." (Go to Work Ethic in White Papers for the entire paper)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Preparing for the Next Ride

Prior to arriving at AIB in January of 2010, my life and my artwork changed considerably. All of my past works suddenly seemed insignificant in some ways, mere stepping stones to where I was headed. One experience in particular set my path in the direction it has held since that time. I had gone to an exhibit of Rodin’s sculptures where I viewed his work “Sorrow”. I remember thinking to myself, “This is not sorrow!” I set out to represent what I knew of sorrow. My reactionary sculpture (prototype) was one I brought with me to my first AIB residency, and one I continually refer to in my recent works. (See above comparative photo).

As time progressed, and I became more familiar with Critical Art Theory, my romantic notion of the ‘individual’ isolated, bohemian artist became pretty much shattered, though not without a fight. I began to search out artists whose works were ignited by personal experiences, trying desperately to defend my images; images that isolated and shut my audience down instead of asking them to come closer; images that were “too personal”. My intent was being misread, and I was seen as simply a person hung up in personal trauma, when I was truly trying to speak to issues of identity on a broader scale.

Why was my imagery being misconstrued? I picked up James Elkins book, The Object Stares Back. Through these readings, and my experiments with the threads of connectivity between objects, clarity of intent began to formulate, out of which my thesis “We are Not Alone” (Presence in Absence) (Constructed Identities), materialized.

The two prototypes above reinforce the goal of my MFA Thesis which speaks to my commentary on an individual vs. a collective identity. “Ancestry” is the first draft of the proposed room installation using the ‘readymade’ white shirt as vehicle. Unlike Duchamp who used this method to negate authorship, to strip the hand of the artist to its bare minimum and to state that an object was, in and of itself art, my white shirts enlist the manufactured form , but reinstate the hand that made it. The piece talks of how a human identity is not in and of itself, but one of a constructed identity formed from threads of connectivity.

In the second image, I revert back to “Sorrow” once again, this time through the appropriation of an image by Arnulf Rainer where I superimpose myself, adding stitched threads reminiscent of his mark making. Rainer's goal was the deconstruction of form, and his emotion is held within himself, disconnected from another identity. In contrast, my work shows not only the connectivity I now have with Mr. Rainer's emotive, but also the addition of the connection of the sculptural object, the white shirt, to another identity outside of my own, confirming my thoughts on collective identities.

Additionally, the gesture of inclusion of Mr. Rainer's work in mine, poses the question of authorship, and questions the ability of one to have a pure unadulterated idea.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

White Shirts Sketchbook

To view my White Shirts sketchbook, click on the link under Visions on the side bar
You may have to choose view- zoom in on your machine, as the video is small due to
uploading difficulties. Nevertheless, you will get an idea of the scope of the work to come

At the top of the Crest

We Are Not Alone: Presence in Absence

“We are Not Alone is my exploration of the part of human existence that comments on our connections to all that we come in contact with, on that ongoing tug and pull between the notion of individuality vs. that of a collective conscious; of our identities as humans through the continual absorptions, transferences and transformations that occur in our daily existence.

The gesture of appropriation of the readymade object (the white shirt) incites questions of ambiguity through a sense of odd familiarity and identification with the past. As these 3-dimensional indexical signs converse with each other and within the depths of themselves, their forms reify the abstract concept that lives remain present even in their absence, that the marks that we make carry on, even when our physical beings do not.

Through the confines of constructed spaces, threads of narrative are read from afar. Stories of relationships and ancestry are told through the gestures of tearing and mending, tying and fraying, fusing and cutting transporting the viewer actively to that inbetween : between form and space, past and present, reality and obscurity, forcing a state of suspended animation.

The shirts and the marks remind us that we are not alone, that we come from that which has come before us, and with whom we have been and will be connected. That our identities are part of an ongoing collective conscious, and that we are only as individual as circumstances and choices will allow."

The things we do in the name of art

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Ride Continues-Studio shots and Excerpts

Excerpt from recent paper:
“In my recent works, this conversation between artist and object, object with object, and viewer with both is achieved first by capturing gaze through appropriation of a readymade, causing ambiguity through odd familiarity and identification. The white shirts, symbolic of formality, structure, and class, have an inherent pureness about them that points directly to my past personal identity, as well as to the nature of our past culture.
As objects, these shirts converse with each other and, in some with themselves and, like Shiota’s indexical bed and Lemieux’s postcard and furniture, create the illusion that lives are present even in their absence.
This state of presence in absence combined with the mark making and the places they inhabit, causes activity between form and space which sends the viewer continually traveling and conversing between past and present, present to present, and even past and present with the future.
In Figure 4: Relief, the viewer is kept from entering directly into the scene and only allowed to watch and read the narrative from afar through the placement of the spools of threads and buttons on the floor. The facing of the objects and the thread marks create that tug and pull that Elkins speaks of in his book. The tears and rips speak to the past, the mending the present, and through the gesture of the threaded needle placed in between the two shirts, the conversation is allowed to continue endlessly into the future.
In Figures 5-8 which includes imagery from works: Transference, Stay, Fragmented, and Holding on, these ongoing absorptions, transferences, transformations, comforting, struggling, holdings on to and carrying through conversations happen through ancestry, relationships and also within ourselves. This is what transports the viewer into verse. These shirts with their reference to the continuity and threads of the connections of human existence remind us that we are not alone (thesis topic?), that we come from that which has come before us, and with whom we have been connected, and that we are only as individual (in life as in art) as circumstances and choices will allow."

The Strange Life of Objects-Annette Lemieux

This photo is of the cover of the exhibition 'catalog' for Annette Lemieux's current show at the Worcester Museum of Art. It is actually a critical overview of her career in a hardcover book.

This past Thursday, I had the great opportunity to view her show and hear her 'conversation' with critic Robert Pincus-Witten, who has contributed to the book.

This was such an amazing evening. It was as if I were sitting in on an intimate conversation amongst friends. Talk about being transported to a state between reality and fantasy! This was it. At one point, Mr. Pincus-Witten, in less than one minute ran through a chronological list of the entire contemporary art movement. I have never had such a clear understanding of these connections before this talk.
If you get a chance to see this show, you should go. I am hoping the museum recorded the talk so I can score a copy of it.

As an added bonus, Annette agreed to be my mentor for this upcoming residency. This will be my second time working with her and I am so excited! ...AND I got my book signed by both Annette and Mr. Pincus-Witten ....