So a lot has happened since my last post. Senior Critiques are over. I have my work in order. I have submitted 3 photographs to a gallery, been to the Whitney Museum in NYC, written my thesis outline, finished my website, helped with the fund raisers, and now must complete the final steps in order to complete the thesis capstone course. I will be presenting only 3 of my final works in the Shift Senior Exhibit. Space will be limited. i am looking forward to documenting all of my work to post to this blog . Check back soon.
The article Simulacra and Simulation by Jean Baudrillard continues to explore how the idea of the image has as of late really been disembodied. As similar with other articles I’ve read it goes into depth to define what an image is and what it really means. Even if we are told that we are looking at an original work of art, how do know it is an original image? And does it matter? In essence an image that can be described as simulacra would be an image that lacks the original aura, usually by means of representation.
I can relate this to my life how much of my generation likes to view life through a computer, when in reality there is nothing like experiencing things in real life. Documentation of an artist’s work usually does the piece no justice without being able to see the piece and interact with it exactly as the artist intended.
We live in a heavily visual world, thus making simulacra a significant concept that coincides with our everyday life. Corporations and advertisement are almost all developed through strong imaginary and how they are represented. While reading this essay it reminded me of famous images like the Mona Lisa and how I think I know what the Mona Lisa looks like and I could describe it, yet I have really never seen the authentic Mona Lisa. The replication of reality has taken this authenticity and intertwined it with the simulacra.
After all, when you think of famous written characters, such as Frodo or Harry Potter, do you think of what they looks like in the movie or what your imagined them to be when you read the book?
The entrance really sets the mood for me, a tunnel with this creepy looking head who becomes the doorway; the opening being his mouth. These teeth protrude down from the top of the door frame becoming semi invasive, given the already preconceived idea of what teeth or a mouth does. As you pass through you see that there is a consistency to almost everything, which is understandable given the nature of the artist, however the things I was viewing were extremely playful and inviting in a sick way. Like images of these set displays of a weird looking being which is all bloody, in a bloody room, standing next to a christmas tree. Its so strange to me, but they make for such comical, fun atmospheres.
The amount of sketching he does is unbelievable. I rather enjoy to always have a sketchbook around to make quick drawings of ideas, and my style, I feel, wants to be reminiscent of his. It almost brings this sense of jealousy or longing, or even anxiety. In other words, having to view the works of an artist such as Tim Burton, especially when you are so attracted to the drawing style, it is hard not too feel something that makes you wish it was yours.
There have been very few times that I can remember being moved by art. The first time was when I saw the work of painter Cy Twombly, the second was in the presence of a piece by famed Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco. I have been enthralled with Orozco’s work for some time now, and the very first piece that got my attention was an earlier work of his, “My Hands Are My Heart”(1991). I can barely describe how it felt to stand before it at his retrospective in MoMA. I did not know that it was part of the exhibition and nearly lost my breath when I turned the corner and saw it in front of me.
The “My Hands Are My Heart” consists of a set of intimate photographs documenting Orozco bare-chested, as he compresses a piece of clay in his hands. In the second photo, he opens his hands to reveal the clay baring the impression of his hands, imitating the shape of a heart. The clay was then fired and is featured in front of the photographs on a pedestal enclosed in glass. To most, it may be an unassuming piece, but to me it is a portrait of his process and a small glimpse into how his mind works in relation to his art. In relation to my own work it, it has come to symbolize how I think and feel about my own process, how it is close to my heart and makes up the majority of the fuel that drives me as an artist.
“My Hands Are My Heart” was one of many works on display at Orozco’s MoMA retrospective. The show featured one new work of art, “Samurai Tree Invariants” (2010), which featured walls covered floor to ceiling with digital prints of a stationary circular design with changing colors. Though the pattern in each print was the same, they never repeated themselves through the changing of color is every print. In an interview Orozco says the piece is about experimentation and familiarization of the process and material. The works that “Samurai Tree Invariants” was expanded from were featured in the retrospective and knowing his tendencies, it was easy to understand why he choose to expand the possibilities digitally. In a similar work done in 2005, “Kytes Tree”, Orozco used the movement of a knight in a chess game as a basis for his circular design. “Samurai Tree Invariants” expands on the pattern and the way in which color manipulates it.
The notion of repetition is abundant in Orozco’s work. (Though it is also true that it is nearly impossible to link most works together at all.) As I took an overview walk through the gallery before revisiting each work, I noticed that many of his pieces feature a technique or design used in another piece. Circles are perhaps the most noticeable theme. He also visits and revisits graphite on bone and seashell in many works and experiments. Graphite is also seen on paper in repetitive and non-repetitive drawings. It is clear he is feeling out the material each time he uses it, seeing how it reacts to the paper or bone differently and becomes familiar with the qualities of it in each scenario. Orozco also works a lot with clay. As in “My Hands Are My Heart”, he becomes familiar with the material through the repetition of simply working with it, making different objects of all shapes and sizes using various techniques in which he works the clay.
Having studied his art, I am familiar with the way in which Orozco works. But seeing it in person is something of a different story. As I mentioned earlier, there are definite themes he revisits, but there is also no definite style or media to which he holds true. He follows his curiosities to wherever they may lead and the linking factor between his work lies in the conceptual thinking and process behind the actual object he produces. Walking through his retrospective and seeing a sampling of two decades worth of work by Orozco was something memorable for me. The fact that he does not stick to one particular medium or style only intrigues me further. It is a constant reminder to me that no matter what art I feel like making, no matter what medium I want to work in, that I should not be bound by the constrict of what I, or others, perceive to be my style. The process of making art, familiarizing with the materials I am using, and the expansion upon those two things has always been where my heart lies. I should never criticize myself for wanting to try something new or different and for that I want to thank Gabriel Orozco, for showing that intuition, impulse, and curiosity are an art all on their own.
One work that grabbed my attention was the piece entitled Helping Hands by Sue Coe, and artist from the UK. The image was printed in black ink from a woodcut engraving. The image showed a sitting woman holding another with many more bodies behind them. The characters looked shocked and in pain. On the top of the print there are many hand reaching down toward the characters. On the bottom the print in inscribed “Haiti Jan 12th 4:53pm 2010”. It is clear the work is an response to the tragedy in Haiti due to the earthquake. The symbolism an the actual hands reaching down to these people in need shows reflect the work that the world should be doing to help the people affected. This piece, as well as the rest of work shown at the Print Center, was very well crafted and thought out.
I visited a gallery called Altitude while visiting Breckenridge Colorado. There were plenty of galleries filled with artwork that you would expect to find in a resort town, and even this one had a little bit. They were full of breathtaking landscapes and highly polished photos and paintings that you really didn’t even know if they were truly taken in the local area, but the works featured in the Altitude Gallery defiantly had something about them which didn’t seem phony. The one artist who seemed to stand out the most was Timothy Faust. His works all carried a certain weight and gravity to them that really set them apart from the rest.
Upon further research I found that Timothy Faust was indeed the owner of the Altitude Gallery, which seemed to make sense. His works were well displayed throughout the rustic building which was apparently the local laundry shop back in the mining days. Many of his works carry that feeling that you get when you think of gold rushes, from the beautiful majestic mountains to the dark smoky mills of the times. I think the piece that most caught my attention was the way that he captured the Tourchlight Parade, which is a Breckenridge tradition every New Years Eve where skiers and snowboarders take turns carrying a torch down from the highest peak of the mountain down to the village and back up around and through the town.
Timothy Faust, "Torchlight Parade"
I also really liked Nick's logo a lot. I played around with the idea a little and came up with some variations of it.
Benjamin uses, “aura” to clarify art that is unique. In general he is referring to the history of the artist as being linked with the aura. Of course photography is the main issue discussed because the debate stands that there is nothing inherently original in Photography. Photography is based on reproduction, as well as film. I disagree with Benjamin’s’ view about the uneducated because the uneducated can become educated through art even if it is a reproduction or none traditional.
I completely agree on the bit about the film director who shows only what he sees or what he wants us to see. Also, that each frame goes by so quick that we are not really observing the story or information to the fullest. There is no doubt that any form of ritual is getting lost with the quick pace of reproduction and technologies.
I don't have any experience creating logos on the computer so I just sketch a few,
if anyone sees something they like and wants to try to modify it please do:
These are some logo designs I came up with. I'm definitely a huge proponent of incorporating the arrow into the logo one way or another because I think the technological innuendo is crucial, whether we are digital artists or not. The 1st and 3rd logos are a reflection of us all shifting in different directions. The 2nd and 4th logos have the word "SHIFT" act as the stem of the arrow(Hopefully you kind of got that!). I chose to create the logos in grayscale, taking into consideration any black and white printed publicizing. The font I used was Futura because I love the bold, clean, sans serif quality of it as well as the shape it creates in all caps. My favorites would be the 1st and 4th logos.
For the record, I tried finding the font that's printed on our lovely mac keyboards and the closest font I found was Century Gothic.
As for logo ideas... it looks like a few of mine are pretty similar to what other people came up with. Additionally I recreated a few others that people posted (roughly). Personally I'd like a more graphical logo that's more or less than just a play on the font of the word - clearly I did an excellent job at this. Ha. That said, so far I like Sophia's logo the best... something that blends the text with a shape, or even better, just a graphic alone that implies "shift" and can be worked into the layout of the web site, mailers, etc. Please send thoughts and suggestions my way on this!
This week on my web site was really just working on a minor tweak for now. I'd like the vertical images to display a little higher up than the horizontal images. Horizontal images appear well centered within the layout, but the verticals don't have enough white space underneath. I'm adding a little intelligence to the php that checks the orientation of each picture, but right now the "intelligence" is still pretty dumb. In other words, I should have it working by next week.
The Walter Benjamin essay I'm pretty sure I've read before, but revisiting never hurts. The main points I gathered from the essay were about 1) the "aura" of an original work of art. This is something that still quite strongly exists today and I don't feel will ever be lost. 2) Photography while in and of itself has no original, can capture the essence of an original to some degree or another. He mentions photographs of loved ones which exist long after they're gone. 3) Benjamin mentions how widespread text reproduction is, and how almost any reader can choose to become a writer. His main example was "letters to the editor" in a newspaper. 4) He seemed to spend the most time talking about film cameras and cinema. My guess is because at the time of the essay's writing it was the newest medium discussed. He talked about the role of the film camera and how it changes the role of the actor and his or her interaction with the audience, the camera being an agent between the two (actor and audience). This has both advantages and disadvantages - the actor cannot respond to the audience during a performance, but the camera can enhance the actor's performance with the aid of angles, close-ups, etc. I wonder what he would think today, seeing how the art world has embraced our ability to reproduce things across mediums and as many times as we desire. And yet the value of the original, it's "aura", is and will never be lost.