January 29, 2009

NAGAS exhibition

After surveying the entire exhibition in the Nash Gallery, select one work to reflect upon via a blog post.

Describe in detail what attracts you to this particular work, what you find interesting about it, and three questions that you would pose to the artist.

NAGAS - Pao Ye Xiong

When I came across the print, I was attracted to the white color. I first noticed the white figure that shapes like a human upper body. Right away, I felt like I could not breath because I thought of the person behind the white soup bubbles or what ever the white cover was made of. Then as I stood there, I also felt like I could not move because the person looks like he/she was being frozen or stuck inside the figure. Then I noticed the hair. I thought that the artist must want the viewers to feel like they are lost inside the figure. I stood next to the art piece for a little while and the whole time when I was there, I felt like I was helpless. I was holding my breath with the person inside the figure. I felt like I was trying to break free from the "mask" or figure. That was a good experience with art. That was the first time that I actually feel like being inside an art piece or putting myself inside the art piece. That piece of art did a very good job at grabbing me and made me felt lost and trap. Good job to Laura Swanson!

Questions for the artist:
1) What is the white stuff that covers the person in the print?
2) What motivated you to do this piece?
3) Do you feel stuck like I do when looking at this piece of art?

Continue reading "NAGAS - Pao Ye Xiong" »

NAGAS - Kausigan

This looks like the guys in the picture are set off for a drama performance. It is a drama theater because of the diversity of the pictures in the background.

It seems like the six of the people and the middle aged man (standing)might know each other very well...Except for the man and the speaker (in curly hair) every body seems to be in constant thought. It is a creative class where expressing natural expressions is being discussed in depth. Might be they are trying to act out something that happened recently or in the past. Its like they playing the life of Anne Frank with their own changes made in to it for the taste of the audience.

There is one man ( the curly hair) who doesnt seem to be out of the box meaning that he is not a dramatist..Might be someone who is in charge of the drama theaters decorations. All of them in the picture seem to be extroadinary artists also to whom the ordinary life matters. The dramatists have had a significant amount of expression, one thing I dont know is whether they learnt it all from their boss or the speaker in the picture ( standing wisely) or is he their almost new boss.

The boss or the main speaker in the picture seems to have come to a critical point. He has made a point (thats why to re-state the point his left hand comes out from its folded position. The left hand remains folded and the picture was taken at a brief moment..

Also the location asuming should be non-urbanl and old....

Continue reading "NAGAS - Kausigan" »

The piece that was one of the most aesthetically pleasing, for me, was the piece by Sean P. Morrissey titled Upstate New York. The simple block shapes hint at the title in a very subtle way (i.e. blue inclining shape as the bottom layer may suggest a river?) The piece said just enough to portray the idea and I really appreciated that.

I also liked the piece by Peter Bugg. It may have not been the most beautiful of the pieces in the show but I liked how the cut out lettering juxtaposed the page of Paris Hilton. The text is what got me; the author talks about a girl who was incredibly popular at the time and beautiful, but like a stripper, that's all people see of her. I think what the artist is trying to say is, at one point Paris Hilton could have been that girl that everyone loved to hate, especially in high school. And at the same time everyone is so jealous of her because she really couldn't have been that dumb with the successful career she has now.

Overall, the show was pretty interesting and it still delivered some beautiful pieces. Especially the photography.

If I was to ask the artist (Sean P. Morissey) three questions:
1. What motivated you to create this piece?
2. Upstate New York is a pretty dense place, why go the path of a minimalist style?
3. Do you/would you create more of these in a series to represent other locations?

-Tom Woodling

HRJ's Comments

Untitled by Peter Bugg

From first glance, the concept is relatively simple: magazine pages torn from an October issue of Vogue with words. The picture itself consists of a model, heavily made up, dressed in lingerie, lying on the grass with her legs suggestively spread apart. Holes have been punched out in the paper forming negative space that has a visual impact because the space actually forms letters and complete sentences.

What I found most interesting is the following: He begins by talking a woman in the role of a femme fatale & prostitute archetypal. Then switches thoughts completely talks about the victimization of some women because of social norms. Once again, switching thoughts completely, he takes about women in the mother and princess archetypes. Finally he concludes with the goddess archetype.

It is unclear if the artist intended to suggest archetypes however; it makes one think about the various roles of women play in daily life.

NAGAS - Kalyn Williams

I found the piece "Hideaway" by Kendra Larson of the University of Wisconsin - Madison to be one of the most compelling pieces in the gallery. I was drawn to it at first because of the bright colors that were used in the center of the canvas. Upon closer inspection, it appeared that the piece was depicting a wintry day in the middle of a forest. There was a tipi-like structure in the middle constructed out of lines of brightly-colored caulk.

I thought the piece as a whole was really interesting because a hideaway is supposed to be just that...somewhere where someone can go to hide and get away from the world, and the hideaway in the piece was brightly colored and stood out against the black and white background, which doesn't seem to make it a very efficient hiding place. I also thought there was an interesting use of tar; it was used to add texture to the canvas and possibly to suggest pine trees in the foreground. The thing that MOST interested me, however, was that there were shapes inside the hideaway, but they weren't well-defined. I think it's left up to interpretation as to what any particular person thinks is hiding inside; I think it's the artist herself.

The three questions I would pose to the artist behind "Hideaway" are as follows:

1. I understand the irony behind making the hideaway brightly colored; however, how did you color the caulk, and did you choose those particular colors because of their brightness?

2. In your interpretation, what's hiding in the hideaway?

3. The viewer's eye is drawn immediately to the burst of color in the middle of "Hideaway". However, there is a great amount of detail in the black and white trees around the edges of the piece. Are they drawn in such detail to draw some attention away from the center?

NAGAS - David Wollschlager

I enjoyed viewing Andy Bloxham's Beta 15. It is a snapshot taken at the moment of impact when a water balloon is dropped on a guy's head. It reminds me of watching clips from a high speed video camera of a balloon popping, or a bullet going through a can of whipped cream. It only lasts a split second, but you can experience the event in a relaxed fashion while it progresses at such a slow pace. If I got to ask the artist questions about his artwork, i would want to ask him whether he was the person getting the balloon dropped on his head, or if he was operating the camera. Also, how many tries did it take to get the shot just the way he wanted it. And lastly, from which store did he steal that shopping cart.

NAGAS- Cassi Smiley

I was drawn to the piece by Andy Bloxham BETA 15, 2008- pigment paint. What compelled me to this photograph was the ability to freeze a moment in time so precisely. The painting showed the reaction of the man getting hit by an explosion of a water balloon. The burst of the balloon with the water spraying out in a circle created a unique pattern that was very aesthetically compelling which you wouldn't expect from the creation of a bursting water balloon. It was such a simple concept but very beautify. It was a surprise beauty of what every aspect of life has to offer, as long as you look at it. This photo tells a short but sweet story by capturing the initial reaction that is missed when a water balloon fight is in play. The colors of the photo were bright and bold but not overpowering to the photo but rather a great compliment to the main focal point of the photo, the water explosion. The aftermath of the bursting balloon was captured so crisp and detailed that it pops out from the rest of the photo, illustrating the precise moment that was captured.

1. What was your inspiration behind this idea for a photograph? What made you want to share this precise moment with the world?

2. What was your favorite part of creating this photo?

3. Was it difficult to get the desired results? How many shots did you have to get before you were satisfied with your masterpiece?

NAGAS - Edward Heyl

WOW, Lori Gilbert, Intaglio

I was really drawn to this print at first because of the combination of a beautiful cloud and figure. I was especially caught by the fine, clean needlework on the girl and the cross-hatching in the clouds. Actually, I'm rather envious of her line work, as I took a printmaking class last semester and couldn't seem to get that effect. What I find interesting is the use of color and underlying meaning in this work. The orange "wow" pops against the blue background which in turn cuts against the white of the cloud, giving it a realistic edge. The meaning becomes apparent when you look a little under the cloud and notice it is billowing upwards and the blue background features Japanese rice fields and a farmhouse in the distance.

The three questions I would pose to the artist are: What connection do you have to the nuclear bombing of Japan? What emotions were you trying to evoke with this work? Do you have any special techniques for achieving the clean style of linework that you have?

Naga, Theany Reach

The bright, and colorful painting represents many aspects in life. First to me when I see it, it reminds me a religion flag that I have seen in a pagoda. Then when I look closer, I see a little heart and it seems that it's connected to the big vain that diverges in to two. There are many things like ribs under the heart. The painting looks like human organism. Behind the heart, there is a big circle that represents a person's mind.

NAGAS exhibition

Title: Decay of the Domestic #1
Artist: Kimberly Thomas

This work is a photo of the inside of an apparently old house, maybe from the seventies. I really like the arrangement of lines within the photo. Stairs coming down from the ceiling to the left, between two vertical lines on either side, one a doorway, and the other the wall. Horizontal lines from the oven in the background, and the window on the wall. What I really like is that the house appears to be breaking down, all of the lines are going in slightly different directions, not perpendicular to each other at all. That coupled with the faded pastel colors of the photo really suggests what the title says, "decay". There are also old vines that are dead and dried up, climbing up the wall, which seems strange for the inside of a house.

1. Where is this house, and does anyone still live there?
2. Did you alter the tone of the color in this image, or was it just a point and shoot situation?
3. Were you aware of the arrangement of lines and their effect on the feeling the image evokes?

NAGAS - Pang Houa Yang

The North American Graduate Art Survey contained much originality in its artistic pieces. The videos, along with the audio, reminded me of familiar things that exist in our day to day lives, such as the art of dress-up dolls, cooking and eating, organizing furniture, and our reactions to touch. A photograph that stuck out to me was the "McHenry Outdoor Theater", taken by Liz Schrenk, 2007. What caught my attention was the shape of the photograph. It was not a typical 8x12 frame. Instead, it was about 1.5 ft. tall and 4-5 ft. wide. In this photograph there is an outdoor theater, obviously, and before the monstrous screen is cars parked in single file rows. Bordering the event is a never ending wooden gate. There are bright green trees outside of the gate, along with electricity lines that brush just the tips of the treetops. The lighting in the photograph is very strange. It appears as though a great thunderstorm had just passed overhead, and the sun is just beginning to come back or starting to set. There are no people in sight, except on the black and white screen. This photograph sets a peaceful, isolated, and almost romantic mood.

NAGAS exhibition - Jonathan West

Andy BLoxham : Beta 15

I chose this piece of work because it is bright colorful and and vivid and caught my eye. The picture looks like something me and my friends would do and makes me happy inside, also its humors. These photos are the kind of photos i like to try and take.

1. What made you choose to do this picture?
2. How did you come up with he idea for this picture?
3. Can i see some of your other work?

NAGAS - Amanda Rasmussen

Title: Pastel Splash
Artist: Kelly Manning
Medium: Pastel on Paper

I was first attracted to this piece because I initially thought it was a photograph and not a pastel. When I discovered it was a pastel, I was in awe. The color was rich and the detail was significant. I never expected a simple image of hands and feet in a bathtub could be so intense with the bubbles and details of an old fashioned bathtub. I was especially pleased to find the small details of hairs on the arms, a brass ring on a finger, and aged-looking knuckles. When you took a step back, these details disappeared but they supported the piece very well when noticed. I could not imagine the patience and practice it took the artist to control and manipulate the pastels in that fashion. I have previously worked with pastel and understand its difficulties. Overall, it was the likeness to a photo that impressed me the most about this pastel piece.

The questions that I would pose to the artist include:
1) What drew you to the subject matter of hands and feet in the bathtub?
2) What were your greatest struggles using pastel as your medium?
3) What does this piece of artwork mean to you.. or how does it represent you?

~Amanda Rasmussen

NAGAS Samantha Hiller

Beta 15 by Andy Bloxham. I always enjoy art that successfully combines technique and humor. I find it interesting that there was probably no deep hidden meaning behind the photo, rather just a random idea he had one day. People often make art way too serious.

1. How did you come up with the idea for this photo?
2. How many attempts to get this shot?
3. Was there extensive editing?

NAGAS: Blowhole I: an etching Comments by Anita Wallace

The piece that most attracts me is an etching called Blowhole I. The reason I am drawn to it is that I used to make prints and do etchings and I haven't done them in a long time. Printmaking is a long process and is extremely hard work. It is a challenge to get the spontaneity and detail that one wishes to achieve. I love black and white pieces and I particularly love the etching process with the textures and stipple effects.

Questions I would ask the artist:

1) I would ask to see the various stages of the print to see how it was built up from the beginning and how the layers were build upon one another.

2) I would ask to see the log of the printmaker to see how long she left the etching in the acid at each stage.

3) I would ask how she got certain thread effects and how she worked different areas of the print.

4) I would ask her about the title and what her inspirational process was when she first conceived of the idea for the print.

NAGAS-Chase Kaufenberg

My favorite piece in the exhibit was Pastel Splash. I liked it because it was drawn so realistically that i thought it was a photo before i read the description card. In my art, a lot of times, i strive for photo-realism, so i really appreciated this piece.

1)How long did it take?
2)Did you draw from a photo?
3)Who's in the picture?

NAGAS - Kacee Thao

I just noticed this never got published, sorry for the late post.

Title: Hideaway, 2007 - Kendrid Lanson

This artwork, Hideaway, interested me the most out of all the others. It wasn't a photo, video, or random creative painting, I felt it was an emotion painted by the artist. In this painting, there was white snow on the ground and stood tall black trees surrounding a colorful, I would say, tent, tipi, or, a flame. I felt that the artist exaggerated the paint, where blogs of paint would stick up and dried to stay, to show how strong of the emotion is. In this colored tent was an opening that showed a shadow of a person hiding inside. I believe this is where the title came from.
The paint that sticked out and the color attracted me to this work. Black and white are the main colors except for the colorful tent. My conclusion of this piece is that I think the artist was trying to explain something about two worlds, a black and white, and a colorful one.

Three questions I would pose to the artist is:

What did the artist truly felt during time he/she was painting?

Why did he/she decided to use color and what does it represent?

What did the artist want the audience to get out of this work?

NAGAS-Susan Andre

Gazelle Samizay
Video 2008
NOSH-E (Bon Appetit)

The audio pulled me in.

I tried to hear, and listen, but the whispering of multiple stories - each I wanted to hear- made my heart beat loud. Each ear was hearing a different story and my eyes were watching the telling of secrets, I tired not breathing so I could hear better. I tried to cut off my other senses, my other ear's hearing, so that I could hear the story with one ear.

The stories were like pebbles being dropped into calm water, first one, then another, and then another -- the ripples were overlapping and I was not able to capture any specific story, only fragments. The struggle to hear a story over, and under, other audio tracks made the secret even more desirable to hear.

The ending of the video, the eating, was satisfying (pun). At first it seemed too matter of fact that the woman who made the food was eating it along with the male but after thinking about it, it made profound sense-we consume our own secrets in private and those who we share our lives with consume them without knowing.

Questions to ask the artist:
1) How did you gather the stories? Were they made-up or shared with you by women you interviewed?
2) Did any of the stories work better in one language more than another language?
3) Were you able to share this video with your family?

March 26, 2009

Nash Gallery exhibition of New Media

Jana Larson
Axolotl No. 7

The piece I was most drawn to in the exhibition was the a black and white video transferred from 16 mm film by Jana Larson. She completed the piece over an eight year period, filming one segment at least on location at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, France. The piece layers images, sounds, and ideas and covers a lot of ground through exploration of visual and literary theory through psychological, metaphorical, philosophical and aesthetic planes. The audio is narration that moves back and forth between first and third person. The text takes the form of a diary with the first date of December 2 but no indicated year. A few more entries are cited. The purpose of the project seems to both delight and instruct. Didactic components are there, mixed in with more spontaneous automated segments, it is both documentary and lyrical poetry. Questions and ideas proposed and mulled over are some of the big philosophical questions about how do we live our lives, how do we find meaning in our identity, how do we relate to others in the world, human and animal, how do we see through time/space, what is eternity?

Some of the approaches explored through the traditional media of 16 mm film transferred to new media format of video are the concepts of morphology, perception, hybridization, embodiment/disembodiment, metamorphosis, personal identity, larva, salamanders, gender, becoming, form...

The layering of the visuals, autobiographical interspersed with observation of the axolotl, and observation of herself by the axolotl, respectively, are cross layered with the audio.

I've watched this video about five times now and each time I come away with new insights. It is rich in execution and ideas.

April 9, 2009

Cassi's piece of interest

I really was drawn to Sonja Peterson's The Underground Plot of the Roya Pommes Frites, 2009. It creatively combined two one dimensional objects to created a piece with layers and thus depth. This piece uniquely formed a world in which potatoes were the center and represented the social structure of what is involved in producing this element of nature. It engaged me with all of the intricate designs in the cut paper that allowed us to enter the world in which she was creating. The two tone colors create an extra element of depth and space.


1. What was you inspiration behind creating this piece?
2. Is there a story behind the world that was created in this piece?
3. What was your reasoning for your color choice for this piece?
-Cassi Smiley