Ways of Working: Tweed Museum of Art

After many difficulties and a lot of mental processing, I eventually produced some great work that I'm really proud of! Especially after having worked hard to complete everything for the opening of the show "Ways of Working." I'm very satisfied with my pieces and really grateful for the opportunity to show them in a gallery setting!

Although I didn't show this latest work that I've been updating about on my blog, I'm happy with the way they've turned out. I completed 4 handkerchiefs that are embellished with inkjet transfers that are the images you see in the post below.

The work I DID have in the Tweed though were two twin flat sheets painted with coffee and grape juice. This work is talking about femininity, expectations society has of women, conformity and difficulties women have faced to become more than just housewives and caretakers. These "stains" on the sheets mimic and reflect what women have struggled to overcome and have attempted to "wipe away" these longstanding injustices, stereotypes, and inequality.

IMG_2471small.jpg

IMG_2482small.jpg

IMG_2487small.jpg

Show Opening:

Yesterday we had the opening reception for the show titled "Ways of Working." It was a lot of fun to install and be able to work together. My pieces went up very nicely and quickly. I didn't expect a lot of problems, but you always have to prepare for the unexpected! Overall, the show is VERY diverse yet mysteriously cohesive. I will be posting pictures sometime very soon since the only ones I have right now were taken with my phone. :D

Thanks to everyone who came out to support us and for those who are saying such great things about my work!

Update: NEW Digital Focus

Unfortunately, my initial ideas aren't doing much for me anymore. I'm still trying to tackle this idea of "modern feminism" that I've been struggling with for a while, but using a slightly different approach. Thus, a NEW Digital Focus.

Things that will stay the same are:
--Use of silhouettes
--Use of a clothes line
--Use of clothespins
--Use of text

Things that will change are:
--Use of "digital embroidery"
--Use of bed sheets
--Use of interactive medium

I've been concentrating on creating handkerchiefs with the "digital embroidery" along with the text that are referencing digital media. Here are the images I have so far.

Handkerchief 1.jpg

Handkerchief 2.jpg

Handkerchief 3.jpg

Handkerchief 4.jpg

I would like to use a straight-forward approach by using t-shirt transfer paper to apply the images to the handkerchiefs, however when I went shopping I purchased the wrong transfer paper (transfer paper for colored fabric) and ended up learning from that mistake. Here's a blush-worthy failure...

DSC00711small.jpg

More information about the bed sheets to come soon as well as a mock up of the potential space!

Digital Focus In Progress:

So after the last failure at transfer images onto the clothespins, I tweaked the process a little and came up with something a little more predictable. It still didn't turn out exactly as I would have liked, but again some learning took place which is all I can ask for. Here are a few pictures of what I've been doing and some of the results.

The product I've been using is Golden Acrylic Matte Medium.

DSC00693small.jpg

I put a couple coats of the medium on the surface of the clothespins and let them dry. This helped create a barrier between the absorbent surface of the wood and the layer of medium that would suspend the ink being transferred.

DSC00694small.jpg

I used a fairly thick final layer of medium before I pressed the inkjet transparency paper (with printed imagery) onto the clothespins.

DSC00697small.jpg

After allowing them to dry completely (overnight) I was able to peel the transparency paper off (carefully) and I was left with a pretty clear images.

DSC00712small.jpg

In hind-sight, I would have extended my layer of medium to cover the entire area of the clothespin so that the method wasn't so overly obvious.

DSC00717small.jpg

Digital Focus Presentation

After my Digital Focus presentation I think my ideas are a little clearer than they were a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, I'm still not completely convinced about everything, but I am working through it. Here is my presentation I gave to my class which talks about my inspirations and has some examples of some of my previous work that is related to this theme/project.

Inspirations:

Vintage dress patterns and the imagery found on them have been an inspiration to me for quite a while now. The simplicity and line quality is very true to what I try to achieve in my own work. With me, more is less.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Vintage Pattern Envelopes.jpg

Traditionally silhouette portraiture was paper-cut like this example from Hans Christian Andersen.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Hans Christian Andersen.jpg

This work by Kara Walker is a large-scale, paper-cut that she adheres to the wall of the gallery.

Thumbnail image for Kara Walker.jpg

The simplicity and use of a shadow to convey a mood or idea is directly related to the work I've been exploring recently.

Thumbnail image for Kumi Yamashita.jpg

Wilhelm Staehle's work is using silhouettes but pairing irony or humor along with it. I tend to struggle conveying my idea solely using imagery so I often turn to language to help clarify my ideas.

Thumbnail image for Wilhelm Staehle.jpg

This form of feminist art combines type with a traditionally "craft" medium. One of my longtime grudges has been that craft has remained separate from "high art."

Thumbnail image for Stitch Bitchery.jpg

My work:

This white on black silhouette embodies an element of art that I tend to manifest in throughout all my work: simplicity.

Thumbnail image for Chandelier.jpg

This digital drawing I feel connects to this project on a certain level in that the figure is simple, of another era and remains anonymous.

Thumbnail image for Darcy.jpg

Here is an example of how I have used these vintage silhouettes in embroidery.

Thumbnail image for Embroidery.jpg

This (poorly scanned!) relief print I made recently shows another form that this theme has taken with my work. I have been struggling with this idea and these images I have in my head for a while now and would, quite honestly, like to move on!

Thumbnail image for Relief Print.jpg

So the "gist" of my project looks like this:

Silhouettes--Which to me is a way to represent a figure in a specific yet anonymous way.
Clothespins--With art, I feel that by adding functionality to it gives it another layer of meaning which is significant.

Handkerchiefs--These pieces of material would be a catalyst for embroidery and would contain modern day "mutterings" or things spoken under the breath by a woman. Also, the handkerchiefs in this case would be connotative of a personal belonging which could be tucked away in a sleeve or pocket to conceal the words.

Clothesline--The clothesline is a tool that has been used primarily by women throughout time, traditionally for drying and hanging clothes. Including this in the work would indicate a presence that had once used the clothesline as well as the action that takes place there.

Ink-jet transparency transfers--By using a digital component in the work, the ideas and concept are brought into contemporary times which could indicate that some of these oppressive notions are still seen today.

Text--Often I turn to text to further "illustrate" the meaning and message in my visual works. This text would indicate a type of "modern feminism" rather than a more traditional feminism, if that even exists!

After Critique 2:

Recently I've been working on generating a lot of silhouette figures as you can tell by the image below.

Black Silhouettes Spread.jpg

After MUCH trial and error, I have come to a few conclusions about the inkjet transparency transfer method. Although what I have to show are "failures," they were undeniably learning experiences that I am grateful for having.

transferfailures1.jpg

Right now the focus has shifted to transferring these silhouettes onto the clothespins and the clothespins functioning as such to suspend handkerchiefs from a clothesline. As the thought-process goes, the handkerchiefs would have embroidered imagery (possibly vintage silhouettes as well?) as well as text. After getting some feedback in critique recently, I like the idea of having the (essentially) two objects contrast one another. The clothespins being highly indicative of the post-World War II era of the homemaker/housewife and the handkerchiefs relating to that, but reflecting more of a "modern feminist" viewpoint. One thought today was "How about you take a Midol and text me later?!" I don't really know where this part is going yet, but I'm at least thinking! No shortage of bad ideas here!
Upcoming I will be posting more in depth about the concept of my project and getting more specific, but that'll come after my digital presentation on March 4th!

Proposition

Project Title: Feminine [Dis]Advantage

Media: Tactile/Digital/Mixed Media

Format Plan: 50(?) clothes-pins with inkjet transferred imagery. Possibly some embellishment using a wood-burning tool.

Theme or Ideas: I would like to address feminist issues and the idealized connotations derived from vintage imagery and aesthetics. Using the silhouette, the figures remain recognizable, yet anonymous.

Plan/Process: 1) Digitally draw silhouettes 2) Print transparencies 3) Transfer imagery 4) Embellish 5) Mount/Display

Artwork/artist(s) influence: Vintage dress pattern envelopes mostly inspire this work and the art unfortunately goes unidentified. Artists from the era include Leon Benigni and Luigi Bompard. Silhouette artists include August Edward, John Miers and Hans Christian Andersen.

How is it shaped by digital media: I'd like to reintroduce the 21st century to the beauty in the simplicity of silhouette art and it seems only natural that in order to relate a digital component be used.

dress1.jpg

Avatar: Tara

The avatar project had the class thinking about creating a virtual version of themselves. These representations did not specifically have to look anything like our actual physical beings, but should represent ourselves in some aspect. The parameters of the assignment specified that the avatar have some sort of distinguishable feature such as an article of clothing.

I chose to depict myself quite literally mostly because I don't feel the need to present an "alternative me" to the world. Referencing a photograph of myself, I made a digital drawing using Adobe Illustrator.

72resAvatar No Color.jpg

Then added color using the live paint tool.

72resAvatar Color.jpg

I then pulled the image into Adobe Photoshop and used the burn tool to add shading and dimension to the image.

72resAvatar Shading.jpg

I am pleased with the outcome for this assignment in that I was surprised by how much I was able to accomplish with my limited knowledge with the software. However, since the final format for the assignment required a printed 10" x 10" headshot, the coloring in particular doesn't look quite right on the screen. Overall though I thought that this was a good jump-start assignment and I look forward to working on my Digital Focus pieces.

Personalized Products

Recently I've noticed how impacted our society is by digital media and that the way we live our lives almost necessitates the technology that has been developed. You would be hard pressed to find an individual who doesn't have access to some form of digital media whether it's digital photography or a personal computer. If you stop to think about how many digital products you use everyday you'd be surprised. Most Americans have a cellphone in their pocket or bag at all times. Compact discs catalog a variety of information for the average person. Digital videos are used to document experiences or create works of art. E-books and the advantages that they have are on the rise and being used by more and more consumers. Video games monopolize a large number of peoples' lives. And who hasn't checked their email at least once today by using the Internet?

And although many of the ways that digital media is used today is almost required in order to function (jobs that communicate via email, etc.), digital media can also be used for entertainment or seemingly less important tasks. For example, digital media has allowed consumers the ability to personalize a variety of products. Anything from shoes to candy.

Converse1.jpg
M&Ms.jpgThe ease of access is what is so amazing. Although the personalization of products has been possible for years, what used to take more time, more footwork, and more money, now becomes simple, easy and fun. And it is through this advancement in the way digital media can be used today that really speaks to how our lives have been impacted.

Project 1: Avatar

Due next Thursday, January 28th:

10" x 10" Avatar Self-Portrait