Tuesday, May 5, 2009
...Yeah. But you didn't.
Modern art is one of the most controversial topics in art culture. People say it just takes up space. It's usually not pretty. What is it? What qualifies it as actual art? What qualifies anything as actual art? In my opinion, the problem is not necessarily with the art itself, but in the way people are looking at it, or not looking rather. In our society, art relies way too heavily on superficial value. I admit that when I'm looking at something in a gallery, I think to myself, "this is not so visually pleasing... next?" Because that is the way our society has conditioned us to judge, and i'll admit, I am a visual person and I like surrounding myself with things that are nice to look at. However, the reason I am so intrigued by conceptual art is because it completely challenges this way of thinking and judging. It actually necessitates that the viewer use their brain to decode the message that the artist is expressing, but the thing is, the artist doesn't usually care if you understand it or not because he didn't create it for you, he created it for himself. That is something I respect. But the question stands, what defines something as arbitrary as a literal pile of cow feces, or a chair in the middle of a field as art? After reading the book about Squeak Carnwath, I came upon this definition: "Conceptual art elevates a quotidian object or action to the realm of art by the decision of consciously observing and isolating it- distinguishing it as outside of the regular and imbuing it with a meaning we then decode through our own personal associations." I see art as both scientific and poetic; experiencing, observing, absorbing and then recording the process of examination and the expression of experience. This process is what makes it art. Not the fact that you perfected the rendering of a human nose, but WHY and how this is an expression of something below the surface. What I love about art is that there are so many ways to define it, and that's the beauty of it.
More quotes from Squeak Carnwath's book:
Art is proof of human majesty
Art is an act of devotion, a practiced witnessing of the human spirit.
Art is trust... trusting your instincts. To believe, to observe, to borrow, to create, to become.
It is not the job of art to mirror. Images reflected in a mirror appear to us in reverse. An artist's responsibility is to reveal consciousness; to produce a human document.
It makes our invisible visible.
Monday, May 4, 2009
As the semester is coming to a close, I think this is a great opportunity to look back at everything that has happened thus far and really reflect on where we are going. The final assignment for drawing really tied it up for me in forcing me to think about who I've become as a person. Everyone was able to pick two things that they felt has brought them to pursue art. I find this exercise important because though we are constantly experiencing events in our everyday lives, I feel that many of us fail to really "look" at what is happening around us (and to us) in terms of the grander scheme of things. It's so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of getting from one point to another that the whole journey is lost in a blur of activity.
What I've struggled with all semester was trying to keep myself from growing indifferent toward my life and what I'm doing. They say we're young and we should live it up, but there are many people who just breeze through college without ever thinking about what really mattered to them. Those people end up not fully realizing what they want to do with their lives. This can be a big problem, because the world is much more demanding and we have to be prepared for it. On the other hand there are people who are like zombies; semi-numb towards everything...those kinds of people also miss out on a lot. I've found myself falling towards the latter part in that I was loosing sight of why I choose to be an artist. I think this drawing class has really help me rethink everything that I'm doing in my art and in my life. I have a school girl crush with art. By maintaining my passions and constantly reflecting on all that I do, I feel myself falling in love with art all over again...reminding myself why I want to be an artist. Every drawing has to matter, we have to have interest in all that we do (even the little things), otherwise what's the point?
So I hope that everyone can look into themselves and their work and remember their goals. It's the simple but hard questions that must be answered..."where are we going?" Even if the question cannot be answered just yet, simply acknowledging these finer details will get us there. With that said, I hope everyone has a good a summer! Go do ART!
Best Wishes to all,
Why does it seem like I'm always trying to compromise with color in paintings instead of deliberately making them do what I want? Why does sculpture seem more deliberate, and less like a guessing game at times?
Color works specifically with the eyes and the response to visual stimulus, but it seems as though there's a different realm when it comes to sculpture. It's a difference I've been trying to understand for myself since I decided to become a sculpture major a year ago here at UNCG. What is the difference between the visual realms of color and space? Space seems to be something that is felt with the mind more than seen. Our way of understanding space requires a different part of the mind, it almost seems. There is a strange dichotomy, though, that tends to complicate things. What is the real difference between looking at sculpture and looking at paintings? Both are visual stimuli, dependent on aesthetics and concept, both are art. You can walk around a sculpture, but some paintings also have a feeling of depth that can create a feeling of space.
So what is the feeling of space? And what is the feeling of color?
Color, in its purest form, seems to actively communicate with our eyes. It is either there, or it isn't. It is finite, deliberate. Space is all around us, all the time. Our awareness of it changes and it sometimes altered because of sculpture. Perhaps the difference lies in that: color is more active than sculpture because it generates new perception each time we see it; space is something we're more or less always aware of, and the sculptor's job is to manipulate what's already there to make our perception of space more powerful. Which is harder? I'd definitely say that painting is harder. It seems as though every time I start a new painting, I end up asking myself, "How did I get to this point? What is happening with these colors. What are these colors doing?" It becomes a question of specifically how the colors are communicating with me rather than a question of whether or not the colors are communicating at all or what I want them to communicate. I feel like I ask similar questions when sculpting, but don't have to try as hard to explain it to myself. Is space understood more easily than color? Perhaps with me, it is. Perhaps with others, it is not.
It's a difficult issue. Lately I've been trying to figure out ways to explore the differences between painting and sculpture more deeply than I have been. If anyone else has any thoughts about thisto it, I'd love to hear them. I could go on forever about this issue. (But I won't. I'll stop here.)
The longest finger: a flame.
A perfect-circle is formed
A consolidation-consensus is reached.
In the name of the Holy, they produce a flame.
A vibrant sustenance, tarred and burning
Expelled, expelled, expelled, expelled.
Slowly, the waving vibration of sundanced trees
Of a long and snaking line of time.
A grand expansion grows to transcendence.
AngerLanguageWorry fall to humanity.
And what is left but a wordless art, teeming and golden
Seen perfectly through infinite strings of life?
Living beings, like tiny specs of organ
Squeeze past one another in a mass of entanglement.
Patterns, internal, move them.
A universal hum emerges from one
And, finally, all.
An internal movement, an external pattern,
A pulse like ephemeral light.
And all are rendered still.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
I bought a bird feeder a few weeks ago and the word has finally gotten around the neighborhood that there is food on Hazel's porch! So far I have accumulated: two couples of Mr. and Mrs. House Finches, one Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal, one Mr. and Mrs. Gray Catbird, one Chickadee, one Tufted Titmouse, one Mourning Dove, and one Tree Sparrow!
But that's not all! What has been even more fun to watch are the two squirrels who have been frequenting my porch. One is really, really fat and scared/neurotic, but the other is the cutest, sweetest little button! I named him Arnold and he loves me because I put bowls of seed out for him. He is the only one of all of the animals that have been visiting me that won't run away when I come close. I suppose he's the only one that realizes that I'm where his goodies come from. We've bonded...
Last week, as I had only the week to finish them, I had to put several hours in to get the paintings done. Consequently, this resulted in few hours of sleep and a bit of mental and physical strain as I was also winding down for all of my other classes and working at my job as well. So anyway, night after night, I went to the studio right after work to join the rest of my class in our race against time. Though I never really wanted to go and work on these paintings hour after hour, there was something invigorating and stimulating about it. I was learning to paint quickly and to see beyond the surface. Multiple colors resided in one color and shadows came to life and took on a vibrancy I greatly desired to captivate and translate accurately but not necessarily realistically. I grew tired and sometimes had to stop prematurely but tried to apply equal investment to every portion of each painting so that it was at least balanced in its shortcomings.
I finally finished. I set the paintings alongside one another for a final personal analyzation before the in-class critique. As I viewed the works all splayed out together, I noticed a bit of an emergence in my paintings, an evolving per say, in which I was finding my way to understanding the subject and the matter. Albeit, one can never be done learning as long as one seeks to do so, but I found that somewhere in the midst of all that seeing and painting, rushing and not thinking, it started to make sense. There was a beauty in it all that I never would have seen perhaps, had I not worked and reworked the same setup from different angles. I was learning to look and find while actively doing. Even though my works are no masterpieces by any stretch of the imagination they contained something much more wonderful than a prestigious title or appraisal. They contained me.
During the process of my first piece I observed about every tree around the art building, I also did some observing outside of class. I tried finding trees that were both interesting and simply, I wanted to capture the essence of the outdoors, that I so enjoyed drawing when I was younger. From my list of 25 one that I chose was the memory of learning how to draw a tree. My Dad was always a bit of an artist, he never went to school for it or anything but he had a lot of natural ability. He just knew how to draw things, and he enjoyed doing it as a hobby. When I was five I remember my dad drawing and I tried copying him, to my dismay my drawing was no where close to his. I quickly became very frustrated, I couldn't understand why his drawing was so much nicer then mine.
My dad saw how irritated I had become, and he ask me if i needed help. Well I was a stubborn child and quickly turned down his offer, acting like I knew exactly what I was doing. After a couple more failed attempts at drawing a tree, I finally gave in and ask my Dad for Help. This was my first real brush with art, It was The first time I really tried putting effort towards a drawing, and it is still one of my fondest memories. Here I have included some of the photos of trees and plants I took to help me with this project.