School is winding down. The grades recorded. My graduate evaluations complete. When the weather is rainy and overcast, there is little to do besides, eat, sleep, talk to the cat, care for my plants, or read. I’ve been doing some light, fun reading. I played the piano for an hour (sorry neighbors). I even wrote a silly note and mailed it to a friend.
Some days the light isn’t right or I don’t feel like painting. Today was one of those days. What you you all doing these days?
My work is inspired by an intimate contemplation of multigenerational poverty. Rooted in the Western still life genre, the imagery is based on personal family artifacts and domestic scenes, while often including the representation of inexpensive, nonnutritive food – illustrating the allure of false bounty. The varying lighting scenarios offer moments of beauty and illumination, but also include abstract shadows and reflections, symbolizing the fleeting stability offered by the phenomena of class mobility.
I’ve been a bit busy lately working through my first semester in the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. The past few months I read several books and spent man-hours in the studio. The work is almost ready to be packed and shipped to VT residency.
In this work, I have been exploring phenomena of memory augmentation. I experimented with reflections and cinematic images by juxtaposing photographs, paint, wood, and mylar. The direction of the work includes painting intimate, reflective, observations of augmented memories.
I began by building a cabinet of curiosities as a way to form a tableau painting and experiment with different media. Inspired by the relief paintings by artist Sally Han, I built a model of a Victorian cabinet using tenets of Darwin’s theory of evolution. I painted on a variety of surfaces including wood, photographs, and adding raw lumber to the pieces. In this process, I disassembled the cabinet to give autonomy to each piece. Although I diverted from the original idea of a final installation, there was an impulse to paint larger. Adding mylar was yet another way to accentuate reflection as a part of the critical dialogue with the work. The final result offers an opportunity to remember, reflect, and reform.
My goals for the studio this weekend were to add details to current work and create a new piece. Despite the heat I made progress. I still haven’t worked out the details on how to describe this relief work (I know, I will sort that outing time). Here is a preview of what I’m working on.
Today I will focus on building the framing or the parts that will create the relief/the sculptural aspects of this piece. I also need to read…and write. Right now I am still drinking coffee.
It’s great to choose what to study. For my first semester I decided to concentrate on my my favorite thing: painting. My semester Visual Culture project is broken into 3 parts.
I began with an in-depth look at contemporary artist practice. I studied works of Leslie Hewitt (I know, Hewitt is a photographer, but the works are still life photographs). I read The Forever Now : Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World by Laura Hoptman of the MOMA, NY and Painting Now by Suzanne Hudson. I also visited galleries around Nashville. I visit new exhibitions and write about what’s going on in contemporary art in my city.
For the second part of the visual cultural project I am reading about classical painting, perspective, light, and display. The texts are dense but my favorite so far is The Rhetoric of Perspective : Realism and Illusionism in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Still-Life Painting by Hanneke Grootenboer. If you LOVE Dutch still life painting this book is hard to put down! A real page turner! Grootenboer writes 21 pages about 1 Dutch breakfast painting. It is a must read. I am also reading The Art of Describing : Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century by Svetlana Alpers, The Language of Displayed Art, by O’Toole, and Vision and Art : The Biology of Seeing by Margaret Livingston. A pretty intense list but extremely satisfying.
The texts have inspired my studio practice as well. My goal is to be able to better describe my choices as to why I paint the things I paint and have a contemporary and historical understanding of my painting practice.
For the last section of my first semester I take a more personal approach to my study but I will include works oscillating between late capitalism and domesticity.
I am working with Sowon Kwon, a brilliant artist and assistant professor at Parsons School of Art, Media, Technology in NYC. For my studio practice I am privileged to work with the talented and accomplished Vesna Pavlovic associate professor at Vanderbilt University Department of Arts in Nashville, TN.
I hope that my studio work reflects my studies and I am able to communicate a multi-layered meta-vanitas relief painting as a reflection of this meta-modernist age in which we find ourselves. Oh and here is a picture of my cat.
I’ve been extremely productive since returning from the Vermont residency. I devoured texts regarding contemporary painting and visited galleries and museums around town. If you are interested in my bibliography I may get around to posting it but if you comment I will definitely post it. I’ve also been painting a lot and on a larger scale again.
Now I am reading about perspective (specifically Dutch still life painters), displaying art, and the biology behind how the brain interprets art. FUN! Again, if you are interested in the bibliography I will share.
I plan on experimenting a lot over the next few weeks in my practice. One big change I am implementing is to add a relief element to my work. I hope it’s successful. Did I mention I am having fun?!
I am still processing my residency. I have been home for a week and 3 days but my experience there is still swirling and spinning in my head. The critiques ( worried endlessly over) were constuctive. After landing in Nashville, I have been to one art crawl and the Frist. I have read 3 chapters in a book in my bibliography and doddled a couple of sketches.
Today I bought 3 canvases. I think my studio project will be a triptych. The canvases I purchased are 12×24 each. Not the scale I intend for my final piece, but, hopefully, a nice size for a smaller study.
As of this moment in time, I want to continue my technique (traditional oils in the style of the old masters) but on a larger scale than I’ve been working and with some changes in the placement of the objects. I want to make some changes to my subject matter. My goal is to continue with the still life studies and intimacy but arrange the subject matter in a cohesive yet surreal domestic arrangement. I would like to add a a few figurative bits into the work as well.
I have been studying Painting Now by Suzanne Hudson. And I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Frida Kahlo see portraits at the Frist. The Surrealists in the mist of war exhibit was great too (special place in my heart for Dali’s use of color and light), but I was the most moved by the murals of North Nashville. WOWsers! So powerful and well executed. I want MORE!
Here are some images from that exhibition space:
If you are in Nashville, please, go check out the entrance way of the Frist. You don’t even have to pay admission to see these magnificent pieces.
Below is a picture of me at VCFA. I am home but I left a piece of my heart in Vermont. Thank you for following my art journey.
Started a painting yesterday of a skull wrapped in cellophane. This is the second painting which I ‘ve attempted to paint an object wrapped in cellophane. Here is a photo of the work in progress.
Cellophane is not exactly fun to paint. I think this may be the last item I wrap and paint. I am glad I painted. With summer time upon us I typically paint more than usual, but this last week was not an oil painting week. I did some digital work in photoshop. I missed being at the easel, but as long as I have a creative outlet I am ok.
I also put a ton of stuff, oil paintings and digital work, on fine art america. You can check it out here. I also listed a few painting for sale here.
I will be following along with another photoshop daily creative challenge this week. And I will try to start a new painting tomorrow. Why not today? Because I got behind. I gessoed the panels yesterday and will tone them today. They won’t be ready to paint until tomorrow.
As always thank you so much for following my art process.
I am trying to work out all the details for my residency and kicking off the up coming school year for my students. So much planning and so much happening simultaneously. The devil’s in the details.
I have been reading to prepare for my residency (seriously, I don’t want to appear as totally clueless as truly I am to discuss art). Admittedly, the reading is slow going. I still have to decide on between 10-15 images to take on a thumb drive to present to all the faculty and my peers. This makes me cringe everything I think of it! Also, I have to figure out what 4 wet paintings I want to pack to show for the critique portion of the residency. This really causes the sweat to drip. I submitted my exhibition plan a few weeks ago. No turning back now.
As for teaching in the fall my room is almost ready. I still have to take in the plants and animals that reside there the other 10 months of the year. My colleague helped me prepare my classroom layout in a different way this year. I am so pleased with this new arrangement. I still have many loose ends to tie up before school starts. The seating charts, the notecards, posters, and decorations. I could go on and on. So many details.
I did make a couple of fun posters for my science class. I hope I can get them printed and in poster frames before school starts. So silly but totally aligned to the state biology standards.
That being said I am ashamed to admit I haven’t painted much lately. I have still been creating but mostly digit work. Here is a sampling of some of the my latest creations in PhotoShop. I am the must proud of the logo for the jr. Audubon Society of Clarksville, Official Pollinator Pal. So fun!