Recently in Artist statements: class members Category

Beth: Week 5, analysis of classmate's statement

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When I first read Kevin's artist statement it caught me off guard, and I sent him an email to tell him how much I liked it. Its form is unexpected, because he begins by describing a friend's tragic death. By telling us how he found his way to his friend's authentic story, he shows us his own. Kevin moves us through the more oblique ideas by mentioning his use of the "subjective, personal, and ephemeral", and then gets specific with "the shape of his knuckles, the texture of his hair, tiny idiosyncrasies of his posture and gait." He lays out the backstory and lets the reader follow it naturally so we can understand his motivations.

Without seeing his films, I think he has already answered a question I often want to ask an artist: Tell me what I'm looking at. Kevin reveals this simply by setting the stage and softly opening the curtain. This does precisely what I want a statement to do - it makes me want to view his work.

Erin, Week 4: Artist Statement Revisited

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"Belief in the significance of architecture is premised on the notion that we are, for better or for worse, different people in different places and on the conviction that it is architecture's task to render vivid to us who we might ideally be."
-Alain de Botton


Architecture holds rich history and stories in their hometown, and the culture with in the community is displayed in the facades and structures. The feelings and emotions that are evoked in buildings with in towns that I have lived create a self-awareness of my own characteristics and personality. The routes I take passing these places become part of my daily story, defining my trips back and forth between the studio and home. The psychological affect architecture has on me whether I'm aware of it or not, is a fascinating notion. Images of these spaces that I'm interested in from the many places I have lived, serve as a map of who I was at different stages in my life. Through ceramics, I am investigating why these ideas are intriguing.

My work explores the structural similarities in space, volume, and design that architecture and functional pottery share. Just as my passing certain buildings evoke an emotion in me, a certain design or form of a pot brings out the same feeling. The layering and weathering of brick and mortar next to a peeling, painted, plaster wall, is similar to the visuals of chipped slip covered with a smooth satin glaze. The sense of the influence of time in conjunction with simplified aesthetic values of architecture is articulated throughout my functional forms.

My sculptural work examines curious spaces in towns that I have lived in, breaking down urban and industrial landscapes into basic shapes, colors, and surfaces. Implying architecture through these shapes, I create a new scenario reflecting my personal experiences and travels. This work reflects the environments in which I live and I strive to understand the psychological affect its surrounding architecture has on me. Through ceramics, I investigate why these ideas are intriguing to me.

Candice Methe- New artist statement Rough Draft

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My last artist statement is null and void because it no longer applies. My work is now in flux and there isn't much to say about work that you haven't really made yet soooo.......

I am a potter. I use my hands to make functional objects that are intended to bridge the gap between beauty and utility. When making my work there is an inherent intimacy that happens. First I squeeze the soft clay through my fingers and it begins to take its shape. I will handle the piece gingerly when it is at its most vulnerable, protecting it from harm when it is dry and unfired. Then there will be a dialog with the object and I regarding the surface. Then it goes into the world after being chosen by another and a new intimate relationship unfolds.
Pots inhabit personal spaces. For me they are in the cupboard, the refrigerator, the medicine cabinet, they hold our treasures and most importantly, they take part in the ritual of nourishment. A pot will be held; our lips will touch the rims. We gravitate toward s objects that can comfort us and enrich our lives.

My experience with ceramics began when I found myself working with several women who worked in clay. Not only was I intrigued with the processes by which they made their living, but became enamored by the way they used this earthly material. These women were hard working, creative, independent, knowledgeable and resourceful, and I realized they embodied what I wanted to become. Now after being a potter for years I have come to realize that making work is what grounds me and gives my life meaning

Beth: Week 4, Statement

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I learned to love light as a child. Some of my earliest memories involve sitting on a wooden stool in my father's basement darkroom, blinking under safelights as images bloomed in tangy, acrid trays. Light, machines, and chemicals made actual pictures of actual things. I made photograms of my hands, and projected slides drawn with a Sharpie on clear scrap film. I noticed shadows and soft, shimmery highlights, and understood how they affected film and paper. Later, I discovered this was a private pleasure, and that not all fathers were working photographers.

I'm naturally attracted to things that don't seem quite right - things that spread a subtle standard deviation from normal. This might be the shaggy overgrown borders of a formal English garden, faked ruins at a Wisconsin water park, or simply an odd quality of light. I'm curious about how we shape and experience the land, looking for peculiar ways we leave our marks, either through grand gestures like the Roman Forum, or the more subtle geometries of stacked wood. The processes and history of the medium are integral parts of my practice, and I'm especially curious about how we use photography to mediate our experiences. How do we move through space and time, and what traces do we leave behind? What forms do we create or retain, and what do we toss aside? These are questions that drive my work.

While I combine vintage and contemporary methods with references from art history, this is all without nostalgia. I like the juxtaposition of disparate elements, much like standing on Earth, looking up at the night sky, knowing that the light from the stars is the distant past only just now reaching me and that someone, some thing, out there in space wouldn't see our reflected light until the very distant future. I think I'm just willing to consider time as plane rather than line.

I aim to document my initial, pre-intellectual encounter with something. I work quickly with a hand-held camera, and look for things that I can't immediately figure out. This instant is the most honest to me, because it is an event free of external influence and is the only time I can see the world for what it really is, on its own terms. Our brains work furiously to make sense of puzzling things we meet, but that rationality neutralizes and humanizes the experience. I try to capture the world, both natural and artificial, from its own perspective, which presents itself only in that quick and fleeting flash.

Kevin O, Artist Statement 2: This Time It's Personal.

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Okay, here goes.

In 2006, my friend Chase asked me to do him a favor. He was making a film for his final project in the acting program at the U, and he wanted to do it on super-8 film, and he wanted me to shoot it for him, since I had a fair amount of experience shooting super-8.

We ran around the University for a few days putting together his film, a simple, absurdist, existential narrative revolving around a Chaplinesque character played by Chase. We got the film processed, he edited it, and it turned out fine.

In 2007, Chase died in a car accident in Los Angeles. In the days between his death and the memorial service, it occurred to me: I still had the footage of him, which had been transferred from super-8 to digital video, on my hard drive. I had contemplated deleting those files, for the sake of additional hard drive space, just a week or two earlier.

I knew that there was something I needed to find in that footage. So I went through it carefully, really only about 25 minutes total, and salvaged the heads and tails of shots, the discarded takes, and random moments that I had captured without his permission, "wasting his film," which was expensive and pissed him off.

I discovered that he was in there, in the moments around the edges more than anywhere else. I put together a short non-narrative composition from those scraps, like the Native Americans using every part of the buffalo, and to me it was stunningly beautiful, and true - not a documentary, not a fiction, but a vivid elegy built out of fleeting, momentary impressions; the shape of his knuckles, the texture of his hair, tiny idiosyncrasies of his posture and gait.

That experience catalyzed a profound shift in my sensibility as a filmmaker, away from the top-down, neatly organized and perfected constructions of mainstream industrial cinema, and towards an approach that's far more subjective, personal, and ephemeral - and which, paradoxically, comes much closer to accessing an archetypal visual language, with rough imagery that seems as though it was discovered on a cave wall deep beneath the earth, illuminated by flickering torchlight.

My work deals with perception, and the mind's ability to compensate for missing or obscured visual information. I'm interested in how the feeling of being lost, disoriented, or out of place heighten our sense of awareness of our surroundings. What can appear at first glance to be an abstract painting is actually a realistic representation of the landscape as I saw it under certain conditions. For example, driving on the highway during a severe winter storm: everything outside of the car is a swirl of white. You can't make out the shapes of the cars around you, but you can see the red of brake lights in front of you. You are able to adjust and judge the distance between you and the car in front of you, and how fast it is going. Two obscured red lights in a field of white become your eyes' only reference point, and the mind uses past knowledge and cognition to connect the dots and recognize what you are seeing. The same thing happens when you see a house framed by Christmas lights, or a city skyline on a foggy night.
In addition to weather conditions that abstract the landscape, I have recently become interested in photographic source material for painting. Similar to fog, snow, and artificial light, there are elements of photography that obscure visual information. Lens flares, halation, and the inherent flattening of space in photography create a different version of the world than we see with our eyes. Photographs transform our perception of a moment in time in much the same way that atmosphere transforms our perception of space.
I'm interested in the idea of selective memory. We all remember the faces of family members, but maybe not a specific detail of the background in an old family portrait. Photos "remember" everything equally, and I question the importance of this. Our identities at any given time are shaped by memory and past experience, and I want to know where those seemingly insignificant details factor in to this. When I paint from a photographic source, I keep this in mind. This is why I don't try to simply copy photographs or make explicit the photographic reference. Merely recreating a snapshot with paint seems like a waste of time; the photo is already there, and an exact painted copy won't do anything new. I'm more interested in creating a new image that is wholly a painting rather than an imitation of a photo. I search for the bare minimum amount of visual information required to signify the essence of the memory. I alter, exaggerate, add, and eliminate elements until I think I've found it. Sometimes, it turns out that minor background details do somehow contribute. Something about a potted plant off in the background behind your grandpa at the airport, or an overturned canoe on a lake shore. They have nothing to do with the person in the foreground, but everything to do with the memory.
As my painting practice develops, these two modes of working are slowly but surely converging. My most recent work combines elements of landscape and photo-based imagery in single paintings. Using these two methods in conjunction, I hope to create a denser layer of warped perceptions of space and time, and push and pull between realism and abstraction.


(I apologize for the formatting. I can't figure out how to indent paragraphs on this thing.)

Lorena, Week 4: New Artist Statement

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My mom used to tell me to go play outside. I spent most of my childhood outside the house, I would come home just after dark without being asked of any questions of where I had been. What I usually did during those hours, depended of how desperate I was of companionship. The usual would be just wondering around talking to myself. If this wasn't enough, I would hang out with the older lady that lived at the house at the corner of the neighborhood. She would let me hang out, as long as I didn't ask too many questions. I would usually ask too many questions, yet I figured she didn't mind because she would always let me in when I knocked on her door.

When I was about 9, I became friends with a single man in the neighborhood. He was about 40 and lived with his mom. He would tell me that his mom needed his care. He wasn't just friends with me, but all of the kids from the neighborhood liked him. I would lie down on the floor to listen to his stories. He didn't wear underwear under his running shorts, so he was the first man that exposed himself to me. One weekend, he left for a trip to Guatemala. He brought me a jade necklace with tiny stones, and a heart in the center of it. My mother saw me wearing this, and asked me where I had got this. I told him it was a gift from him. She made me return it and asked me to never talk to him again. Crying, I walked to his house and gave the necklace back. I told him I was not allowed to come to his house anymore.

I was never told not to talk to strangers. I grew up with no fear of the unknown. I figured people were just as interested in me as I was interested in them. As I grew up, I realized this wasn't always the case. People usually walk around indifferent of others' people existence. We walk around like ants in the same direction; but even ants use their pheromones, sound and touch to communicate with each other.

This same attitude moved to my art practice. But this time, I had a camera to excuse my curiosity. The longing to understand what I'm incapable of understanding with my bare eyes was being satisfied with every photograph I took. I'm not interested in voyeurism; I don't get anything if our eyes can't lock, if one of us doesn't loose more than the other. My work is about asking my subjects more than they can give me. Relatively, I give myself to them if they ask for it. Therefore, by either approaching strangers in the street, inviting myself to my neighbors' homes, or asking strangers to let me spend the night with them, I record my genuine longing to establish some kind of connection.

This similar curiosity applies to relationships that should be natural and effortless, yet these are the most difficult to delve into. Consequently, by asking my mother to write down what she remembers of a specific childhood photograph, and asking myself to do the same, or by photographing her body in comparison to my body. It is my attempt to understand years of aching for her, to piece a childhood that we did not share together.

My interest in human interactions and intimacy is inherent to my artistic practice. I frequently ask the importance of my work in the bigger scheme of things. How is it changing the world? What is my role as an artist? Isn't there hunger? Global warming? Wars?! But I don't have the answers to those problems. We tend to relate to each other by the things we share in common. We all had a mother in one point or another.


Emily, Week 4: Artist Statement (09/2012)

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The Mississippi River is my source, and I'm its faithful follower. I wander along its wild banks, and witness the subtle way my world is changing around me. It is usually momentary, a leaf's lazy looping as it makes its way to the forest floor, and often seasonal, when the first fall frost halts the cricket's summer song mid-verse. Occasionally the change is momentous, like when the river overflows its edges and washes the land away. And if I'm really paying attention, I can imagine the invisible change as the soil shifts imperceptibly, giving way to microbial appetites. I walk and I watch and I try to bear witness.

Two thousand miles downstream, the river fans out and meets the ocean in an ever-changing land of flux. Much as the nature of the delta can only be understood by comparing many static moments into an impression of its movement, I seek to capture moments and experiences and aggregate them into an expression of Change Over Time (or, as scientists may prefer, Δ/T). The physical and social phenomena of change in our environment may appear to be isolated incidents until they are transformed into a dynamic glimpse of reality.

In my work, I negotiate the tangible and intangible, the object with the experience, and the necessary with the wonder of it all. The structure of my practice is mobile and mutable, creating not just the space for an extraordinary experience but a place where the ordinary can be acknowledged and appreciated. I like to explore questions with answers that Δ/T:

1. Accumulation is to decay as a crowd is to __________________

2. Dinner is to harvest as flow is to __________________

3. Streets are to sewer as bluff is to __________________

4. Television is to recliner as view is to __________________

5. Canopy is to roots as market is to __________________

6. Traffic is to overpass as eddy is to __________________

7. Yeast is to growth as cave is to __________________

8. Mine is to brick as river is to __________________

9. Sediment is to flood as kitchen is to __________________

10. Seed is to scavenge as trash is __________________

Chris, Week 4, Personal Artist Statement (2.0)

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I have always struggled with the artist statement as a block of grammatically perfected writing. I understand the ability to articulate my ideas, practices, and inspirations are vital to my existence in the art community as it is today. My goal with this exercise is to begin to play with the format in which I write this content and to develop a new format in a vein consistent with the way I approach/think about my art and art making. Following are several modifications to very short sentences about my work, Artist Statements.

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I am interested in the way a bird twitches its head.
I am interested in the way simple motions gesture.
I am interested in the way personal experience is unique.
I am interested in the way wool fibers tangle to become dense felt.
I am interested in the way objects carry memory.
I am interested in the way objects have a history.
I am interested in the way things are made.
I am interested in the way materiality informs content.
I am interested in the way a cat probes with a paw under a door.
I am interested in the way play is made.
I am interested in the way personal observation is unique.
I am interested in the way we perceive gesture.
I am interested in the way receipt paper can be printed upon with heat.
I am interested in the way materials carry memory.
I am interested in the way humans tinker and experiment.
I am interested in the way materials have a history.
I am interested in the way materiality informs practice.

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my art is about the way....

or

in my art I explore the way....

or

I work in an attempt to understand how....

or

a bird twitches its head.
simple motions gesture.
personal experience is unique.
personal experience informs observations.
wool fibers tangle to become dense felt.
objects carry memory.
objects have a history.
things are made.
materiality informs content.
a cat probes with a paw under a door.
play is made.
personal observation is unique.
we perceive gesture.
receipt paper can be printed upon with heat.
materials carry memory.
humans tinker and experiment.
materials have a history.
materiality informs practice.

Will Lakey - Week Four - Statement Revisited

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Antony Lakey: Artists Statement: Revisited.

I am a painter. I am not dead. Painting is not dead either. It may however be appropriately described as undead since it has been declared dead so many times. I paint on rubbish. I know you would throw it away but I like that it includes a sense of the domestic and everyday in my work, and then people see how much I really like cornflakes and where I bank. It is also cheap, and easy to store, and a cereal packet isn't as demanding as canvas, that diva of art materials. I reproduce what catches my eye. I want to record these brief points of contact between myself and the fluid cacophony of contemporary life. The few images in the maelstrom that make me pause, get saved. In the process of reproduction I study them, and give more time to a part of myself. I am concerned with the social experience. We exist within an intense whirlwind of images, sound, and ideas. I try to reflect this multitude, many layered existence and the way we select and discard and intermix. I paint in oil. Old as the dinosaurs (of art). Ever since I first used it I have been in love with its many characters and tolerance. Originally I laid it on thick, but now I spread it in thin transparent washes that let the light reflect back through from the surface underneath. I hang my work in installations. Groups of paintings and drawings clustered together. I like the encompassing experience that allows me to control the context of the display. I can reflect the modern human experience as well as the small personalities that fight within it. I hang my work on wire. Like washing on a line, it hangs looking slightly rumpled and pushed up against its peers, but like the clothes on a washing line you might see in the mass the shape of the person it is meant to surround. I sometimes draw on the wall. I want my pictures to look like they are hung in front of a window, but I choose the view. I like to resist the 'white cube' of the modern gallery that could be in any street, in any city. My work has a context and I want to give the viewer a way to see it. I work quickly. I rarely take more than an hour to make a painting. This forces me to 'paraphrase' the image into my own style and reveal my attentions. My pictures come out light with the drawing intact. The viewer can see the lines and brush marks and me. I draw freehand. No projection or grids. This surprises people. I don't shade or hatch, I leave that effect to the paint. I mix the colours and test them on a scrap sheet. I thin the paint with mineral spirits and some medium to maintain the paint film. I brush the colour onto the surface, sometimes I have to dab with a rag to prevent it dripping. Sometimes I make the colour darker then wipe it back to create highlights. Other times I add another darker layer on top to create shadows. I add the date. I like to feel the presence of an artist when I look at their work. I loved seeing Egon Schiele's fingerprints when I looked at one of his paintings, I felt like I was sharing a space with him. The date provides a similar point of contact. I like the possibility that a viewer might remember what they were doing the day I made an image. In the UK I wrote it numerically: day/month/year. However, to avoid confusion, now that I am in the US, I am writing it like this: 25th Sept 2012 (todays date). I listen to music when I work. The headphones isolate me into a world of just me and my painting. What I listen to depends on how I am feeling, but usually includes dancy/pop/rock, stuff with a good beat. Examples include Lady Gaga, LMFAO, Kiss, Guns n' Roses, Fleetwood Mac, and Eagles of Death Metal. I feel light on my feet and energised when I am in this cocoon with my art-in-progress. Everything else fades out. I have stopped making myself a cup of tea before I start a painting, it always gets forgotten and goes cold (a heinous crime). I don't make a mess. Apart from a few pencil shavings. I used to make a terrible mess but somehow now I don't. I have stopped worrying about what I wear when I paint because it is no longer an issue. It seems that as my work has got looser my technique has become more controlled. I like it when the viewer gets right up close to my work. They are sharing the space I occupied when I made it.