Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Artist Talk: Lance Winn

Lance Winn’s talk was a delightful experience. Not only because he expressed humor and was very good at explaining concepts, but also due to his interesting artwork. I really liked most of his pieces and found myself eager to explore- as he does- with new techniques. One thing he said while discussing his work was that in his art he learns something by making it; he is not merely the producer. As a student I think this is something I can relate to greatly. But I also think that art, just like any other field, is something that one can and should constantly learn from. Another idea that came up multiple times was the tension between art and language. Some of my favorite pieces were the pieces where he used words and outlined them to make other forms in the middle based on the pressure of the paintbrush. This process transforms language into a form making the 2 dimensional three dimensional in some cases (e.g., Depression and Life on Mars).

Thursday, January 25, 2007

"Consumed" art by Melissa Dean

I went to Melissa Dean’s art show “Consumed.” Her work expressed our visual culture through the use of consumer objects being portrayed in a unique fashion. I appreciated the connections between her work and the subject of her work (the consumer world). For example, many pieces were of linear forms overlapping one another to make the space saturated and almost undecipherable- much like saturation of advertising that our culture experiences. When she showed the pieces of what different people wanted and you couldn’t really make sense of what the individual objects were, it really struck me at how true that is of the consumer world. It doesn’t really matter what it is you want to buy, just as long as you are indeed buying. On the same note I thought that her brail piece was particularly interesting because these were items that the company wanted to be sold. They don’t care if the individual wants a new chair, but when they click on home items they will show you a chair. I think that it is interesting how her work touches on many issues people often have about consumerism, but in a visual way that incorporates the way consumerism works.

I also found the statement about how her work was a critical portrayal of consumerism but also a backwards celebration important. I think this is a fine line in many pieces that have a subject matter that is being criticized or at least scrutinized. Obviously the artist has taken notice of the situation and has deemed it important for commentary- visual in this case- so I think that it is something that once the artist puts it out into society it is up to that society to make their own judgment. Is it critical or is it a celebration?

Another nugget I collected from Melissa’s talk was the emergence of the artistic process. At one point she was talking about how the overlapping of the linear figures (something she did not initially do) was done by accident in a printing malfunction. I think that it is important to grow from one’s mistakes, so one can discover new paths. For Melissa, this was a serendipitous event that lead to amazing new ideas.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Extended and Prosthetic Bodies

The first thing I thought after reading over this collection of works was amazement at the breadth and variety of thoughts that can be expressed using the body and extensions of the body. From my limited experience, which includes drawing and painting, the body does not play a large role in the communication of ideas. There is some expression when bodies are portrayed in the paintings or drawings, but the options are much more limited than when using the body as an instrument- as they do in these works.

Another thought I had was that the general experience is very different here. When there is a body involved I think the reaction from the viewers- or in some cases participants- is very different. In another class we were discussing the difference of “just looking” and “possessive looking;” meaning that when just looking at something there is not the same level of involvement between the looker and the object that is being looked at as with possessive looking. When there is a painting being looked at I think that the act is less involved-in the sense that although one can be very interested and engaged in the painting the painting is not able to reciprocate. However, when there is a person involved- even if the person does not hold your gaze- the act of looking becomes intimate and engaging. I also think that this is why reactions to bodily works can be more intense.