Saturday, January 28, 2012

Finding Valois

Here begins my adventure, finding valois.  Following a very intense 10 days in Boston for my first residency in the MFA program, I came home dizzy with information, challenges, and a bit of fear and excitement, of what is ahead on this journey. Finding Valois refers to the internal re-orientation, and to the physical exploration of materials, travel and mapping the experience, and finding the visual confluence of the sense of self with a sense of place.  Finding Valois also points to understanding the relationship between the experience of the sublime and the ugly. Landscape is both subject and object here, a container of generational, personal, and historic memory.

What visual language can speak in multiple voices?  As I explore possibilities, I see myself as a witness, not just as a bystander, but one who is both affected by and effects changes in the world around me.  The physicality of experience prompts my participation.  A discourse of materials, ideas, and contradictory bifurcated intentions characterize my current thinking.

For the past two weeks I have thrown myself into organizing my new drawing studio, now Studio B.  I reserve Studio A for my printmaking projects, etching press and storage of all my prints and framed pieces.  Wolfie, my Adirondack wolf pelt gifted to me by a Cree Indian after my father's death, is now my companion in Studio B, as I start my next body of large drawings.

In preparation for this next stage of intensive studio work, I compiled a large list of readings.  Simon Schama's thick tome, Landscape and Memory is proving to be a fabulous resource.  From Polish, Lithuanian, then Germanic and English history and mythologies of Arcadia, Schama explores the interconnection of human history and the landscape.  These myths constitute a complex system of understanding that is rooted in the landscape and persists throughout history.

Here are some of the other books I have also started to explore:
Memory Effects: The Holocaust and the Art of Secondary Witnessing by Dora Apel
Unnatural Wonders: Essays from the Gap Between Art and Life by Arthur C. Danto
Land and Environmental Art edited by Jefrey Kastner
William Kentridge by Dan Cameron
Roni Horn by Louise Neri
Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton
After Modern Art 1945 - 2000 by David Hopkins
Drawing Now Between the Lines of Contemporary Art edited by Downs
Whitechapel books on Color, Nature, Beauty, Sublime, and the Archive
The Short Guide to Writing About Art by Sylvan Barnet
On Photography by Susan Sontag
Allegories of Modernism: Contemporary Drawing by Bernice Rose
Phaidon's Vitamin P1 and P2 and Vitamin D
Slash: Paper Under the Knife by David Revere McFadden
The Abuse of Beauty: Aesthetics and the Concept of Art by Arthur Danto
Contemporary Drawing: Key Concepts and Techniques
After the End of Art by Arthur Danto
Landscape and Western Art by Malcolm Holmes

Among other activities in these past two weeks, I have started to look at various artists for their unique contributions to the discourse on Landscape and Memory.  Here are a few of them:
Anselm Kiefer
Roni Horn
William Kentridge
Dawn Clements
Dennis Oppenheim
Michael Schall
John Stoney

I also attended a wonderful talk at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art by the Korean collaborative artists Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, in conjunction to the new exhibit entitled Lines of Control. Please see the museum's website for more information:

The Ink Shop is also gearing up for a wonderful new show called Process and Purpose curated by Alan Singer, professor at R.I.T in Rochester, NY.  This show opens next week Friday. Including internationally known printmakers Dan Weldon and Keith Howard,  this exhibition highlights innovative prints that represent an evolution of the printmaking art form. Please see for more information.

I am also represented in the Faculty show at Ithaca College.  The show just opened last Friday and is entitled You are Here, and includes video, photography, sculpture, prints, and paintings.  My Orchid Multiples, comprised of 60 woodcut prints, hangs in a prominent wall of the gallery! The show is a must-see.

Lastly, I registered for the 40th Southern Graphics Conference in New Orleans this March!  I will be going with my colleague Masha Ryskin from Rhode Island School of Design.  This will be my first time in New Orleans and fourth time to the conference.  My last SGC ended in a visit to the emergency room in Chicago with a very badly shattered left wrist!  I am hoping for a less painful outcome on this trip!

Coming soon:  My summary of my first residency!


  1. Hi Pamela,
    I enjoyed reading your blog! Good luck with your semester, you are obviously off to a great start. I agree with you on Simon Schama's book. Looking forward to seeing and reading about your semester.
    Kathleen Jacobs

  2. Great blog entry, Pam. It was nice to get to know you at AIB, but even moreso after reading all about you here. I look forward to watching your progress as you develop your thesis project, and am exciting to watch the realization of the marks you will leave behind!
    Teresa Bonillo