Saturday, June 16, 2012

New Charcoal Drawings

Six Drawings from the Series "Finding Valois"

Other explorations from the semester:

Off to Boston

Next week I will be leaving for Boston for the second residency at AIB.  I am really looking forward to seeing what my fellow MFA candidates have done over the past few months!  I am excited about the painting/photography seminar with Peter Rostovsky, critical theory with Michael Newman, the critiques, and guest lecture presentations! I welcome your input on any of my postings and would be happy to give private showings of my most recent drawings.  Stay tuned for news about my next big show--probably late summer or early fall!

Semester 1 Summary

Artist Talks

Ann Hamilton - Colgate University, “A Conversation with Susan Stewart”.

Faye Hirsch, Senior Editor at Art in America – at Cornell University, Johnson Art Museum, “The New York Gallery Scene”.

Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, South Korean artist collaborative – at Cornell University, Johnson Art Museum, in conjunction with the exhibit “Lines of Control.”

William Kentridge, South African artist – at Harvard University, Norton Lecture Series, “Six Drawing Lessons”. Attended Lecture 5: “In Praise of Mistranslation”. I watched the other five lectures once they were posted on the Harvard website.

Gregory Sholette, founder of NYC artist collectives Political Art Documentation/Distribution and REPOhistory– at Cornell University, Johnson Art Museum, “Dark Matter”.

Roy Staab – Guest artist at Ithaca College, ephemeral environmental art

Professional Activities

“The Carved Mark: Concept to Image”, Presentation I gave with Patricia Hunsinger at the Handwerker Gallery, Ithaca College, February 2012.

“The Multiple Block Woodcut” workshops series I gave at the Ink Shop Printmaking Center.

“Figuratively Speaking” workshop series with 15 Advanced Placement art students from Ithaca High School, I gave at the Ink Shop Printmaking Center, and showed how to transfer photographic imagery onto paper and create monoprints with oil-based media.

Taught “Introduction to Drawing” semester course at Ithaca College to 20 students.

Southern Graphics International 2012 Conference: “Navigating Currents”, New Orleans, March 2012.

A “Survey of Contemporary Printmaking” Conversation: with panelists Rockie Toner, Beth Grabowski, Matt Rebholtz, Bill Fick, R.L. Tillman and panel chair Matthew Eagen.

Open Portfolio – presented my Orchid prints

Themed Portfolio Exhibits: “A Quantum Print”; “Global Impressions”; “Hell Or High Water”; “In the Background”; “Moral Compass”; “Navigating Currents”; “On Water Bodies: Beyond Horizon”; “Primordial Soup”; “Taking Bearings”

Exhibits: 2011 SGC International Student Fellowship Awardees Exhibition

INKubator Session with David Jones, Director of Anchor Graphics in Chicago, Illinois.

Keynote Address: Nicola Lopez, at Tulane University

Visits to galleries in downtown New Orleans

Galleries in New York City

Mary Ryan Gallery in Chelsea: 

Artist Kakyoung Lee had two bodies of work exhibited. One was called, Dance, Dance, Dance, consisted of about 200 hundred drypoint prints of a woman dancing. Each print consisted of a stop-motion portrait of her dancing, conveyed through multiple scratching on the plate at successive stages of her performance. Each finished print was also photographed and incorporated into a video as a kind of flip book where you could see the complete movement of the dance. Lee also exhibited another 2 channel HD video called Coffee Circle, in which a person is drawn with coffee on paper walking in a circle. The overlapping linework successively added produces a sense of motion.

Bailey Gallery in Chelsea:

Louise Belcourt’s large oil paintings were exhibited here. These Mounds comprised of color rectilinear fields carefully manipulated to give the illusion of depth, and spatial investigation of form. The color choices were calculated and vibrant. The impression was formal but lacked a certain emotional engagement.

Aquavella Gallery in Chelsea: Lucien Freud Drawings 

This was a fabulous show of his drawings. Many of them were raw and “unfinished” in feel, but nonetheless carried an immediacy and honesty in approach. They show a rugged realism and emotional intensity that was very refreshing.

L & M Gallery in Chelsea: Frank Stella Black, Aluminum, and Copper Paintings

This too was a great show. For the first time, I feel a deep appreciation for the concept of function following form in these pieces. The shaped canvases and surface treatment of these paintings exude a wonderful presence. There size contribute to their sublimity.

MOMA : “Print/Out”  and “Printin’”

Metropolitan Museum of Art:
            Nineteenth Century Hudson River School painters
            “Storytelling in Japanese Painting”
            “Stein’s Collect: Matisse, Picasso and the Parisian Avant-garde”
            “Printed Images in China, 8th – 21st century”

New Museum: “The Ungovernables”

Herbert F. Johnson Art Museum, Cornell University:
           “Witness: 20th Century Photographic Images from the Collection of Gary and Ellen Davis”
            “Memory and the Photographic Image”
            “Age of Discontent: German Expressionist Works from a Private Collection”

Meeting with Dorothea Rockburne at her studio in New York City, May 2012 

Meeting Dorothea Rockburne was incredibly inspiring. She directed me to some great exhibits (Frank Stella and Lucien Freud), gave me an amazing tour of her studio, and offered to give me a critique next semester!

Plays at Classic Stage Company in New York City

“Midsummer Nights Dream”


“The Mill and The Cross”

“In Darkness”

Meetings with Mentor Sarah McCoubry, Syracuse University

Four meetings with Sarah provided much needed feedback on my new transitional work in large charcoal drawings. Throughout our sessions, Sarah recommended that I look carefully at my process and the surfaces I create. She suggested that I start with where I live, work in series, and look for what is the most powerful that I can touch and feel. She feels the layering of mark is strong in my work. She thinks that if I simplify what I am doing, that the message will be stronger. This means going for immediacy and direct experience. She urged me to explore accidental mark-making, but also find marks that belong to the subject matter. Introducing stencils into the work to produce silhouettes is an interesting idea too. Especially in the large drawings, she feels I need to stay with them longer and work back into them. The small “sketches” have great potential as large pieces. She was not keen on the shaped canvas idea, but really loved the textures, marks, and surfaces of these pieces, and recommended that I work these in a larger format as charcoal/encaustic drawings, not collages. She very much liked the last 6 drawings I showed her that combined the hard-edge geometry and lush textured landscapes. These are handsome pieces she said and wants me to show them together along with the small sketches.

Phone Meetings with Advisor Deborah Davidson

1st session: Deborah suggested that I try to get out of my comfort zone and investigate mark-making. Doing large black and white drawings will help to find different ways to make marks and explore “making mud”, allowing the process to direct the next step. She also suggested that I make a list of experiences from my childhood and experiences of the landscape, to enrich the memory of those experiences. She thinks I should not use photo references for now. She urged me to look at Anselm Kiefer, Golub, Goya, Daumier, Doris Soceldo, and Judy Pfaff.

2nd session: Deborah suggested that I should take a look at the book Spirituality in Art, the Transcendalists, the Luminists and the Hudson River School painters (Heade in particular, Church, Fitz Henry Lane, Geoge Bingham) as well as Thoreau and Emerson. She urged me to visit the Frederick Church homestead in Oneonta. For an example of a good critical analysis, the recent article in the NYT by Ken Johnson about the Rembrandt and Degas exhibit is especially good. Deborah also reminded me to keep track of all the lectures, events, galleries, and museums I attended.

3rd session: Deborah reminded me to number my pages on the research papers. She recommended that I look at Kate Carr’s work, and see the three large Kiefer pieces at MassMOCA. In general, she urges me to look at the means of production: the materials, how it is made, and ask why. This will help me go from idea to the art object and to understand how to make a strong connection between them.

4th session: Deborah strongly suggested that I try to see MixIt group print show at the Boston Public Library when I come for the next residency. She felt I had written a very good paper on Bierstadt and de Leon, and how I mentioned Newman’s “zips”, with good analysis and comparison. Save the line: “Our empathy becomes a spatial act.” And “Ultimately, by virtue of our act of awareness, through the agency of art, brings us to ourselves, and that itself if beautiful.” She thought I could further research the underbelly of the Sublime, perhaps by looking at he relocation of the Native America populations. Or investigate the way in which artists mirror their particular cultures.

5th session: Deborah said I wrote another good paper. She liked the title of the paper especially, “The Sublime, Progress, and the Reinvented Landscape.” She suggested that it would be interesting to look at the strategies Kentridge used to portray his subject, and the cultural possibilities that were available to him that have not existed before now (e.g. revealing his studio practice via video) and what is revealed in the process. The scope has changed, the vanguard of the “edge” -- painting the edge of the landscape. All these artists look at Ideality—keep thinking about that.

Highlights of the Semester

This has been an amazing semester in many ways. Through my research, I delved into so many ideas about postmodernism, landscape and memory, spatial practices and contemporary theories about space, as well as on beauty and the sublime. The crux of my interests has crystallized around spatial dialectics and the experienced landscape. Reading about the Hudson River School painters, Robert Smithson, Barnett Newman, Anselm Kiefer, and especially William Kentridge have informed my thinking about the landscape, spatial representation and studio practices in profound ways.

Attending Kentridge’s talk at Harvard was the most numinous of my experiences this semester. All six lectures were transformative for me, in terms of both how he discusses his studio practice and how he develops the ideas for his animated drawings.

Also, three books were especially revealing and helpful to me: Simon Schama’s Landscape and Memory, and Edward Casey’s Representing Place: Landscape Painting and Maps, and Edward Soja’s Thirdspace. Lastly, my advisor Deborah Davidson and mentor Sarah McCoubry have been especially helpful to me this semester, as I have covered new territory in the studio and research. I am indebted to them for all their support and advise.