My most recent favorite artist is a gentleman known by most as Banksy. He is an anonymous English graffiti artist, that is know to roam the streets as night and display his art to the public by early morning. Nobody ever actually sees him in action. He is not only an amazing artist but also a political activist constantly using his art to challenge political agendas. I recently saw a film about him and the description I found most suitable was " mix the irony and juxtaposition of John Yates with the beauty of the finest aerosol art, and you'll have some idea of how good this really is." His work inspires me because society labels it as vandalism, yet I see it as political and social commentary that is very honest and important. A few of the pieces are a bit dark for my taste, but I like that they make a strong statement and rebel against artistic norms. One of my favorite quotes from him is " We can't do anything to change the world until capitalism crumbles. In the meantime we should all go shopping to console ourselves." This as well as in most of his art shows that at least he still has a sense of humor.
August 2011 Archives
I have several that I am continually interested in and some that are new since the beginning of this class. One of my favorite contemporary artists is named Barry McGee from San Francisco. He specializes in pop art, graffiti art and typically in the realm of subcultures from that area. He creates characters that always seem tired, distraught, disillusioned or heartbroken with modern society, control, addiction and mass media. He has been highly regarded in that underground punk/surf/skateboard culture and I have always found that fascinating, fancying myself one of those members although I grew up in the midwest. I really enjoy the dark and dramatic expressions and lines in his characters, and most often they seem relatable and familiar. Here is one of his prints:
Another artist that I found recently is named Shea Hembrey. He has a unique background and currently an equally unique concept of singularity. His work is titled "Biennial" where he created 100 artists with differing mediums and stories, and then created the works that they themselves would create. We get a twofer in his current work. I thought this concept was so new and risky and seemingly complex, but he states that simplicity and universal understanding was important to him for the viewers of his work. Art is supposed to touch people, rather than to be completely esoteric that it is difficult to articulate. He seems like a cool dude. HIs website:
Another artist I found in the literary magazine "Paper Darts" is named Jolyn Frazier. Her work seems light, playful and funny. The piece "Don't Let the Bastards Get You Down" made me laugh for about twenty minutes straight. I find anthropomorphic work hilarious for some reason I cannot explain. "Paper Darts" is a good source for all kinds of art, and new contemporary/digital artists.
I really enjoyed "Absentee Landlord" curated by Mr. Waters and the other exhibit titled "Parallel Occurrences/Documented Assignments". I did not find the latter exhibit particularly appealing visually, but rather the whole concept that the artist Mark Manders was working with and around. He was interested in everyday objects and language and how that shapes our relationship in and with the world around us. He is a bit of an anthropologist in that he was very focused on culture and the minute tangible objects that actually play a large part of our daily lives. He combined things that seem unconnected and creates a story from this relationship. I really like the idea of household objects, taxidermied animals and other non-living pieces having identities, stories and a life all their own. This reminds me of one of my favorite pieces of fiction by the author Tom Robbins titled "Skinny Legs and All" which does that very same thing with a spoon, sock, and can of beans.
John Waters curated exhibit was colorful and varied. He seems like an interesting artist, never keeping to one medium or another and always trying to stay in a provocative or perverse vein. One of his pieces that struck me right away was the 'cut/uncut' which needed no further explanation at first glance with the imagery of a spaceship running into the side of the white house beside the airplanes hitting the twin towers. It was just attesting to the tragedy and horror of that occurrence- which seems to happen unaccounted for all over the world all the time- and how it almost could be a fictionalized moment due to it's extremely violent nature, something that would be found in a blockbuster movie. The reason this image resonated with me so much is because I remember seeing the planes hit the towers live and firstly thinking that perhaps it was a new Michael Bay film being advertised. I also enjoyed the short film "Flooded McDonald's" by the artistic team Superflex. It was a poignant film in the message it was delivering about mass consumption and inevitable disaster, global issues, commodity fetishism and outsourcing and the effects that that will have on local and foreign economies and their respective environments. The "Exposed" exhibit was really engaging with it's disturbing photography and installations and the idea of where is the line drawn on photography/mass media and society and how personal is too personal? It dealt with all the attention getting themes of violence, sex, celebrity and viscera which I found especially appealing. I think I enjoyed that because of my fascination with human biology and also that unappetizing feeling you get by looking at disturbing images of flesh and blood that you are still drawn to, with those tug of war feelings of repulsion and arousal, and those goos bumps that eventually proceed from that visualization. I also liked that Waters included the Yves Klein print of the female bodies on that translucent piece of fabric, or curtain of which I cannot remember the name. It was my favorite in the Klein "Blue" exhibit. I also would like to check out the "Ballad of Sexual Dependency" which I missed due to time constraints. It is really wonderful being able to witness something so intimate and artfully done, universal but individualized to each personal relationship.
Still needs some work, but much farther along.
I want to mention a poet who bridges into the "new media" realm (in terms of poetics) via the "backdoor." The poet is Christian Hawkey, and I'm specifically interested in his book _Ventrakl_.
The description on the website (Ugly Duckling Presse) describes the book as:
"Envisioned in the form of a scrapbook, Ventrakl folds poetry, prose, biography, translation practices, and photographic imagery into an innovative collaboration with the 19th/early 20th century Austrian Expressionist poet Georg Trakl. Like Jack Spicer'sAfter Lorca, translation is the central mode of composition in this book, and it is also the book's central theme, which Hawkey explores in a surprising array of different genres and modes of writing. What evolves is a candid and deeply felt portrait of two authors--one at the beginning of the 20th century, the other at the beginning of the 21st century, one living and one dead--wrestling with fundamental concerns: how we read texts and images, how we are influenced and authored by other writers, and how the practice of translation--including mistranslation--is a way to ornament and enrich the space between literature and life."
Hawkey translates Trakl's poetry by shooting it with a gun, putting it into a jar to rot, studying the poets biography and "translating" from that historical material, and so on. While the book doesn't outright tackle an electronic medium, the spirit and the newness of its project (although it definitely echoes Burroughs and a whole cacophony of other experimental writers since) make it feel experimental in trajectory.
"The Constant Critic" entry on the book states that it tackles a slew of contemporary "problems" in terms of poetics:
• Interest in translation, both as overtly stated theme and as mode of composition
• Collaboration and a problematizing of monological authorship
• Use of ekphrasis, both as an occasion and as a tool for prying into the nature of representation
• Use and problematizing of biography, of how to represent a life
• Interest in overtly exploring intertextuality
• Explicit articulations of a poetics, while, at the same time enacting this poetics figuratively (or by rejection of figure), formally, extra-lexically
• Recognizing the necessarily political implications of language, a weariness and despair of facile articulation
• The hybrid (the book, part of UDP's Dossier Series, includes lineated poems, prose poems, invented conversations, biographical sketches, photographs, and quotations)
• Documentary poetics
• Procedural poetry
• The poetic project
The book tackles issues that echo problems in new media works. Anyway, it is a pretty awesome book that turns an act of solipsistic translation into a critique of violence and war.
The digital art piece that empressed me is Michelle Turre's work called "townline". It's a webpage using something like processing to present a interacive work. In the webpage you can see a map of town Northampton, and the map shows each point where a road crosses the townline. By clicking on the point the webpage will guide you to the photogragh which was taken at that point, photogragh of the scene around the road crosses the town line. Actually it is just a photogragh exhibition, but by using this interactive webpage, you can know better where these photos are taken and what the whole scene of the town looks like. It's just like yourself was walking or driving around the town and taking pictures.
The pictures of roads crossing the townline are mostly the road and the surroundings, like woods, houses, rivers, etc. In addition, these pictures are taken at different seasons, you can see snow in some of them, you can also see green trees or yellow leaves in some of them. Showing the scene of the town in different seasons definitely makes the whole work more colorful and richer. And after all, I really like scenery pictures, so all those photos look good to me. Overall, the artist did a good job on showing the scenery and environment of the town, the interactive way of making it is also its impressive point.
I was first introduced to Jonathan's work when we discussed him in class. I looked into his work and I was most interested in his series of photos in his "Today" work. Today is a series of photos all from different days, each come with a short story. He started when he turned 30 and each day he took a new photo. I watched the short film he made to describe the purpose of this piece. In the film he talked about how he used the project to "be more aware of life as it was passing, to enhance his awareness for life". Each picture is so unique and so beautiful and different. The pictures are so random and simple at the same time. It's easy to tell they are snapshots of the everyday life. This makes me think of how each moment in life is full of so many emotions, ideas and characters. They are so complex yet we let so many moments in life just pass by, and their true value is often over looked. This reminds me of a topic we studied in my leadership class: Mindfulness. Mindfulness deals with intentionally living and being present in what state your in at the present moment. While discussing this topic in my leadership class I came to the harsh realization that being mindful in harder than it looks and often takes a lot of practice. I feel that this project is a form of practicing mindfulness in its simplest form: everyday life. This is done by capturing one moment out of an entire day and solely focusing on the importance of this moment. I really like this work and I'm even interested in experimenting with a similar project myself. This is one of the photos from this piece.
The Open Field " Machines on the Field" was an interesting expression of art. I think the intention was very interesting idea. The contrast between the three ways to cut/trim grass was very dynamic. Just thinking of cutting grass I never think of all the possible ways I could cut grass. I just think of cutting grass. This piece shows how such a simple thing can be broken down into such complex components. The overall idea of Machines in the Field was ok to me. I thought the choreography was cool to see. Since this was of course outside it was hard to really hear the separate lawn mowers. There was a lot of outside noise that was very distracting. I would personally have liked to see the sort of art work carried out in a more controlled area. If the sound could have been controlled better I personally would have enjoyed it a little more.
This is a oil painting in Walker art museum. Sorry for forgetting the title and author again, but that does not mean that the paint didn't really attract me. On the contray, this is the piece I spent most time on during the visit. One feature of oil painting I really like is that it can express something in both exaggerated and realistic way. That makes you see something in real life in the painting, but also let you come up with some abstrct thought, like some emotion, or imaginatiom.
The focus of the piece is obviously the blonde girl, laughing and chatting with people and holding the glass in her hand. It seems like a Friday night party or gathering of friends in a restruant (the title has something to do with the name of the place, as I can remember). The most impressive part of the piece should be the portrait of the laughing face of the girl. First, a girl with clear blue eyes, beautiful face and long blond hair can always cheer up the person looking at her. But the point is actually the smile. The artist exaggerates the smile a little bit, making it looks more hearty and vivid. I guess hte most improtant effect of a art piece should be express a kind of feeling. If a audiance can have some strong emotion when looking at the piece, the piece will definitly atrract the audiance, and that can be called a successful piece. The point this painting attracts me is that it makes me feel happy and relax, just like I was also in that Friday night party, and I was looking at the smile of that beautiful girl.
I've been to the BFA show in Nash gallery and found a interesting piece there. Unfortunately I was not able to take a picture of that and I even forget the artist's name. But I remember that I've seen her during the even, and she's probably a student in the art department. Anyway, that piece was not conspicuous, actually it's just a small photo in one corner of the gallery, and its name, as I remember, was "Silence".
It was a black-and-white photograph showing some objects. I'm not sure what's exactly the object shown in the picture, it seems like a small portion taken from a larger picture. To me it seems like some old fashioned furnitures and household stuffs, maybe telephone, cup, lamp, something like that. It seems there is a window in the far background, because you can see some light gose from upper part of the picture to lower part, creating some shadows and illuminations.
The attractive part of the picture is that it make me feel peaceful and composed. It make me to imagine the scene of a old house with old wooden furnitures, at a peaceful afternoon, sunlight shines through the window and lay on the sofa and the desk. You can also see the dust floating in the air and illuminated by the sunlight. Such kind of charming and peaceful picture really brings me into the whole scene, and just like the title of this piece, it gives me a feel of sclience.
We looked at Camille's work in class and I really enjoyed it. We mentioned on the last day of class that processing was our biggest challenge throughout the course and her work is so much more appreciated when you realize what all goes into it. Text rain is very cool and I love the dynamic process shown in her work. She is internationally acclaimed and has many pieces in great places all over the world
One interactive installation that we didn't look at in class was "Drawing From Life". This piece opened in May of 2001 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, which to me says something. 2001 technology was very advanced but not like it is today... it's still ten years ago, but the piece still feels very modern. It is made up of glowing letters that combine to create a silhouette of who ever is moving or interacting with it. The colors are vivid and bright and change randomly which, according to the description of the work, hints at the vitality and chaos of life itself. I feel like this is definitely accurately portrayed.
I really like this piece because I am interested in the figure. I took a life drawing class as well this summer so I am currently in the mindset of art as using the figure and when I see figure art I tend to think of it more carefully. I look at how the artist portrays the figure and shows life in that figure... as well as different techniques used to create the figure. This piece took it to an new level and I was really fascinated with the interaction between and actual human and the computer technology to create this moving reproduction. Very cool.
Camille's work is very playful and always interactive and changes the way I used to think of 'art'.
Cameron Grainer's Luna del Mar piece in the Mcknight Visual Artists gallery was most appealing to me. It was Cameron's description in the discussion that first grabbed my attention. When he described the single celled organism it intrigued me simple because I had never heard of anything like it before. I remember myself trying to picture what the organism actually looks like. Once the description of the organism combining with a synchronized swimmer representing deep space made it even more interesting. The combination of the three is so random and opposite yet the final product couldn't have fit together better. Once I watched the film it was a little hard to concentration on the other aspects besides the woman swimming. I wish I wouldn't have known the swimmer was used. I think this would have allowed me to develop my own interpretation. With that said I think the piece was really cool. It really amazes me to see that Cameron just came up with this idea. Before this class I've had such a simple definition of art. For me to see this piece it just shows me that art can take multiple forms. I really enjoyed the piece and have a new found respect for art after seeing this.
(cats vs dogs)
If you have never heard of Nick Park before, let me remind you of the "Wallace and Gromit" and "Shaun the Sheep animations", milestones in the field of stop animation. Nick Parks unique clay working style and the flawless movements of his figures are a reflection of much time and dedication to his art. I particularly appreciate what this Englishman has offered to the world of animation, since I have tried to make my own clay stop animations before in high school. Each minute of this quality of stop animation takes many hours. To complete a film length feature such as "Wallace and Gromit" would require at least a couple years worth of daily work. In the end, the art speaks for itself. In these creature comforts clips, that I just happened to find surfing through you tube one day, an interesting phenomena is presented. Before the idea for these series of animations was made, an interviewer in England would find fairly random strangers to interview on various, mostly non controversial issues. The recordings of these interviewees were then used to make a relatively simple animation (in comparison to Nick's other projects), but I believe that their artistic value is even greater. This is because of the humor that results from the ordinary conversations of individuals transformed into their own unique animal characters. It is amusing how effectively Nick arranged the vocal roles to the animals he created for a maximum aesthetically entertaining effect. I recommend finding the time to watch a couple of these videos. One can easily find themselves addicted to its witty nuances and connotations.
After we had visited the Walker art center for the outdoor event, one exhibition in particular stuck in my mind afterwards. One of the indoor presentations had a cinematic sized video of a corporate McDonald's being flooded. I did not get a chance to watch the entire clip because of it's length, but the footage that I did witness left an impression on me. It was a mostly silent clip, the only sounds that could be heard were of the water rushing in and the occasional bumping noise of the plastic human sized Ronald McDonald doll as it floated around in the restaurant. The restaurant contained all the McDonalds accessories, counters, kids toys, cash registers, tables, soda dispensers. It appears as if someone bought an entire McDonald's building, waterproofed and sealed up all the windows and doors, and used a fire hose to drench the place, napkins, kids meals, grease, and all. The exhibition gives off an eerily feeling as the McDonalds world drowns in itself. There are no people there, only the imminent doom of the place being completely submerged and forgotten. A post apocalyptic impression made more powerful because of the lifelessness of the objects in the film. Humans seem to be long gone. I also say that it is "post- apocalyptic" because it made me think of our human destiny. What will we leave behind as our mark when our time is up? The sad reality that this artwork communicates to me, is that after our demise we will leave behind mountains of trash, grease, pollution, and abandoned McDonalds restaurants such as the one in the film to drown and decay through the passage of time. This artwork is telling me that places like McDonalds are our current legacy. Who knows if it might end up as our permanent legacy.
This piece is called "Refined?" by Linda Gass. I found this work at one of the Nash Gallery exhibitions, which focused on the the use of textiles and fabric based artwork. The artist had a unique way of creating a landscape through the use of multiple layers of fabric. It has an enchanting quality to it because she used a reflective fabric that has a slight shine to it. One cannot even tell that it is made from fabric until closer observation reveals it so. When I first spotted her projects, I was confused by the depth perception I was seeing in what I first believed to be a painting. Some of her other landscape projects really capture the essence of a place in time. I felt myself drawn to the vivid colors that came alive on her hanging cloth parchments. The reason why I especially favored the work titled "Refined?" was because this was the only image that did not relate to a natural landscape. It focuses on an oil refinery facility, with huge domes that store the oil. As I mentioned before, due to the nature of Linda's silk compositions, it seemed as if those oil containment units towered out towards the onlooker. I also liked "Refined?" because it seems to have a deeper message than some of her other more asthetic orientated works. The oil refinery is on the edge of land in the middle of what appears to be a gulf. The colorful blues that represent the water are in stark contrast to the dry yellows and oranges that define the green less and lifeless refinery. Perhaps her piece is suggesting the contradiction that exists between the need for consumption in relation to the environment. Some of the first things that it made me think about was the gulf oil spill we had recently. It may not be a big news factor now, and not very long after, but people will come to regret this incident further in the future, as it is they, and the planet who will have to suffer for our consumptive habits, laziness, and lack of foresight.
Although I attended the B.F.A. exhibit I wanted to talk about the SUPERFLEX video titled "Flooded McDonald's" in the John Waters exhibition (at the Walker) for my second reflection.
The video is also available online, here:
It reminded me somewhat of Zizek's rants about ecology:
The video confronts the viewer with an empty space of a McDonald's that slowly floods with water. There is a great amount of anticipation (and maybe a little boredom) involved in watching the clip. One wonders what will happen once the water gets high enough to start effecting things on the counters, tables and so on. By the time the video gets that far a series of "events" start happening in which different aspects of the environment succumb to the water--things fall off of tables, lights flicker out as they short and spark, the cash register does the same, water floods in a massive rush to fill up the trash cans, and all the while the water gets more and more full of filth. By the end of the video the room is dark and filled with trash moving around arbitrarily in the dark chaos of water--the trash becomes aesthetically pleasing/powerful (a post-modern sublime) in an of itself, but there is still the memory of the trash prior and all of its history. It becomes a mass of things that are connected, that are swirling in complicated, chaotic patterns, out of the whole system that allows for mechanism of the fast food chain to exist. The viewer gets confronted with the trash in the darkness and it is everywhere always already.
Confluence, Fiber and Textile Art Exhibitions
"SDA Members' Show, Merge and Flow"
Description of Exhibition:
"This exhibition showcases the creativity of 178 SDA members, each of whom has interpreted the conference theme, Confluence. Materials range from natural fibers like silk, linen, wool and hemp to the unusual and unexpected, such as LED lighting, wire, plastic, foil, rice paper, digital imagery, metal, and repurposed clothing. Traditional to innovative techniques were employed, including weaving, stitching, knitting, discharging, wax resist, mono-printing, painting, dyeing, felting, beading, foiling, crocheting, digital printing and collage, among others."
I found myself drawn to the piece that won "first place" in the SDA Members' Show exhibition (before I realized that it had been awarded anything)--the piece follows the same format as the rest of the small fabric arts pieces in the exhibition but avoids much of the preciousness that many of them seems to take on as an aesthetic stance. This attracts me to the piece given that it is some of the most "preciously" (precisely) constructed objects in the exhibition.
The walnut stained lace that has had a whole torn from the center of it and has been carefully decorated with a fireworks-like explosion of red that reminds the viewer of blood, but it is a blood spatter as a precisely captured representation of entropy. The careful embroidery becomes the violent, beautiful leaking of an orifice--an orifice that becomes a wound in the precious lace. There is also something female about the piece--the wound that stains being menstrual--it reminds me of "riot grrrl" third wave feminist punk music: aimless and grr-ly with and underlying (hidden) political message/tone. I'm also tempted to say that the piece presented a dystopia in that it claimed a certain femininity that was also somehow dark and stained. The work reminds me of a Lee Bontecou piece or a Judy Chicago drawing, but somehow much darker in its outright presentation (although that darkness feels more surface-level than certain Bontecou wall-sculptures).
I was initially drawn to Camille Utterback when we viewed her work during class because she encourages participation from her audience in her work. I think if we were able to have more installations like these in public spaces they would make a positive impact on people. Especially in our fast-paced society, where it is important to take time to slow down and participate in something enjoyable and have a positive reaction to it.
Another factor of here work that I noticed in the "Shifting Time" installation that exists in the San Jose airport is her ability to educate through her work through use of images. When the viewer walks by the image of the street, their movement literally turns back time, showing the street at a previous point -- decades ago. It's a nice nod to history of the space you are in. The airport environment is very appropriate too.
I think work like this, that encourages participation and social interaction, will be an excellent balance to the continued lack of face to face contact in our age because of our reliance on computers and digital communication.
My biggest takeaway from this exhibit experience was the intersection of art with many other areas of study and work (such as science, nature, etc.) that I saw in Cameron Gainer's piece, "Luna Del Mar". I never thought there would be such an intermingling of art and science in this exhibit. Now I realize the intersections that can occur -- from science to current events. That's why I enjoy art so much, because it is able to draw from so many other worlds to create an experience for the viewer.
Because we were able to hear from the artist himself, I was able to learn more about the amount of thought, research, and planning that went into this piece. Had I not heard about the experience from him, I don't know that I would have realized the scale of work that went into the piece. I think what I am trying to express is the idea that countless hours of work can be compressed into a short film, and it can be easy to forget the work that went into the creation.
I was drawn to several exhibits and pieces while wandering around the Walker. What struck me initially in John Water's exhibit was a piece in American B that combined real life images of disaster taking place on American structures with fictional movie accounts of the similar events (ex: 9.11 vs a spaceship crashing into the White House). It was interesting to see the overlap of real life with dramatic fiction. And to mentally compare the actual reaction to the movie/audience reaction.
Another piece that I was attracted to was the Ballad of Sexual Dependency, a video showing photos that documented people in the artist's life. It combined music, I am assuming from that particular time, that amplified my experience as a viewer. I was so attracted to this piece because of the intimate moments it showed, moments, like shooting up drugs with a needle, that are taboo and not shown too much in our daily life -- though they occur quite frequently in this world. I enjoyed the concept of feeling like I had a inside look of the artist's life even though I had never actually met them.
Having not spent too much time in any art exhibit, I especially enjoyed thinking about the process the curator took to put together an exhibit: the order, transitions, use of quotes, and so forth. It gave me greater appreciation of the gallery experience and the work that goes into creating it.
I checked out all the art exhibits inside of the Walker and the one that caught my attention overall was called "Parallel Occurrences." I really like how the artist compared his work and style to the way a poet writes poetry. He uses his material in the same way that a poet uses words. The artist Mark anders states that he "brings together sculptural materials and forms in order to produce a similar effect to that of poetry. Specifically the way that poems crash together words to produce emotional friction." I really felt this when viewing his work. In fact, it inspired my boyfriend and I to create a story line to each piece as we looked at them because each provoked such strong emotions.
The work I enjoyed the most was titled Abandoned Room, Constructed to Provide Persistent Absence. This piece had its own room as part of the presentation. It was figures sculpted out of clay, in the form of three dogs. These figures were also very human like, taking on a similar appearance of the way a baby fetus curls up in the womb. Mark Manders worked on this project for 18 years and it still has the feeling of being sort of unfinished. The blocks of clay are left in the room. Some things are wrapped up and some are not. This gives me a sense of impermanence and the unending sense of ambition that would come with a piece of work like this. I think every artist has difficulty deciding when a project is complete and the ambiguous notion in this piece is a perfect representation.