Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Intuition Experiments

Intuition #1
Intuition #2
    Here's a post about something different that I am trying.  In talking with my thesis advisers and examining my own intuition about what to do for my projects this semester, I've found myself moving away from photogramming that demonstrates specific moments of my past and more into imagery that examines my present interpretation of my previous experiences.

    When I completed my previous works, I had always had a specific plan in mind which was almost immediately debunked upon the completion of the piece.  It seems as if my work needs a more fluid and malleable interpretation that is not constructed from a rigid plan; in all honesty the art does not want to be concretely directed and instead wants to flow uninhibited from me and into the world.  There is always a battle which occurs within my head about what my MENTAL processes want the imagery to look like and what my BODY actually creates.  This can be quite distressing at times, and indeed I looked upon many of my works of last semester in utter despair before closer examination revealed a new lens through which I could view my past.  The ability of my mind to impede my body is not something which I feel will be productive in the macro perspective of my future, for I know myself well enough to  ultimately see frustration winning over my desire to create. 

    With this in mind, I have begun taking steps to exercise the surrender of my mind to my body and its intuitive nature, which has indeed proven to be difficult.  I feel that my works this semester want to be large, and while I entertain the romantic notions of an uninhibited pursuit of art I do have to remember that I'm a broke grad student with limited resources at hand.  This is where my handy iPad comes into play!  It allows me to draw, paint, and conceptualize prototypes without any fear of waste or irreversible mistakes.  The images I have posted are two intuition experiments that I have completed, where I physically engage in art and remove my mind from the process, working entirely by intuition and emotion.  I do have a few new themes that I keep way in the back of my mind to give my body a purpose, but I am working to minimize the extent to which the theme dictates the imagery.  I know I want to not recreate moments, but to illustrate how the moments felt without being too heavy handed with strict narration.  For example, in college I began to obsess over my body due to several factors, including the inevitable erosion of my body due to my diabetes and my superficial worth as an attractive homosexual man.  I don't want to say to people: my body is deteriorating and I suffer from dysmorphia, but rather: this is how my deterioration feels to me and this is how my physical obsession feels to me.  This is far more personal and moves away from the realm of the pedantic, which has been a constant struggle in the past.

    And so I look to methods of measuring my current emotional interpretation of my undergraduate development, which I'm positive will change as I work on my pieces and that I hope will remain evident in the final product.  You will see not an illustration of a single event, but evidence of a pursuit of discovery that is traceable throughout the surfaces of my art.  With what materials I will use to realize this I'm not entirely sure yet, but the question of which forces carved the deepest trenches in the construct of my personal development will provide the clues I need to decide.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Body Casts

 There are two things I would like to talk about here that contribute to the conceptualization of this piece.  The first is what I had mentioned in this earlier post about wanting to incorporate a more physical presence to my body's influence on my photograms.  The second is the concept of Marxism, which I was assigned to research and apply to a piece.  I'll post the finished image of that later today after I present it, but this is what went through my mind: 

Anytime I am asked to look into a particular theory, I read up on as many sources as I can in the time I am given, and then begin to digest it by examining how my work fits into it.  This helps me understand both the theory and my position within the context of art history which is definitely  something that's being pushed for in the MFA program here.  Marxism, as I understand it, is the an idealized utilitarian concept of society, in which most indulgences, such as fashion, art, and expression, are minimalized as because they have no direct and immediate usefulness in terms of benefiting society.  I do not agree with this from any angle, and this piece can be seen as a criticism of it.  So, imagine a white sheet covering this form like a funeral shroud.  The white is for the purity of a Marxist society that is placed over the individual.  While the form provides structure and some identifying human attributes, it is truncated at the knees, elbows, and neck, which erase the form's identity and ability to move.  This is the effect I believe Marxism would ultimately have on the internal psyche of the individual: personal stagnation, the inability to progress in personal or expressive pursuits, and the erasure of individual identity.  More to come on this in the next posts :)

Photogram Painting

Here is my first experiment with new materials incorporated with my photograms.  I've uploaded a process photo, since this methodology involves several stages of development. 

Fist, I experimented with the ground on which I would do the photogram.  I found this awesome gesso at Michael's that, although a bit pricey, has the awesome effect of shrinking as it dries and thereby distorting the canvas and cracking.  Since this semester I am focusing on the erosion of the body and false identities, this seemed like the perfect material to experiment with. 

Secondly, I began a painting with no particular image in mind.  Mostly, I wanted to choose colors and strokes that were tuned directly into how I felt.  I began with warm colors and smooth gradients in the top right, but as my OCD sank in and I began obsessing over details, the motion became broken and circular with a colder and darker palette, which created an image very similar to the perpetual storm on Jupiter's surface.  I was not satisfied with the piece with just paint, however, and I felt like the darker area needed something else, something that reflected the weight and pressure of the manic desire for perfection.  So, I went outside and started pulling up grass and weeds, covered the canvas with glue, and threw it on and painted it in.  This enhanced the feeling of mania and hysteria for me, and connected a medium which I was in complete control with materials directly from nature that I attempted to force into my creative logic.

Lastly, I incorporate my body directly into the image with the photogram.  In the case, the emulsion literally becomes a mask, covering the color of the paint in black but unable to completely adhere to its underlying surface, much like my previous piece Touched

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this piece, but I know that it needed to be created and that my future works will in some way be influenced by what I learned here, and that may be the most important thing.  I've learned more through my failures in the past year than I have in my successes, and though the lack of concrete "progress" in my mind can be infuriating, it is nevertheless necessary.