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.