Friday, December 30, 2011

merry christmas to me

 I may or may not have an art book addiction. Thanks to some amazon gift cards gifted by loved ones, I now own these books. yay! click on images to learn more!

Friday, December 9, 2011

open studios!!

The MFA candidates at the University of Maryland are hosting open studios on Wednesday December 14th from 5pm to 8pm.  The grads will be around to discuss their work.  Come and take a look at some exciting and interesting work that’s happening at the University of Maryland.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

cardboard something

This is my most recent undertaking. Originally I had plans to show it standing upright, but as I was working, I came to find the interior to be much more compelling than what was happening with the exterior. I got a lot of helpful feedback at my critique yesterday, particularly concerning this piece. Everyone seemed to agree that the interior was most interesting, yet found the traces of text and labels from the boxes to be irrelevant and distracting. I'd like to see the interior treated in some way... with a white-wash perhaps. Another suggestion was that the exterior be hidden all-together - embedded in the wall maybe? I definitely would like to explore the possibilities of this process further... be it with different material, different form, scale, etc... we'll see!

layers of something

In attempts to "loosen up" (as I've been advised to do), I ventured to create these small layered pieces. They were each made in one sitting, and the materials were chosen quickly and at random (though with regard to aesthetic). I've been looking/thinking a lot about the many layers of the flesh and likening them to the layers of the earth. While one is super microscopic and zoomed in, the other is zoomed out, and neither of which are typically seen with the naked eye. I'm interested in exploring this idea of scaleless-ness and how it relates to both our bodies and our environments - what's inside of our skin, as well as what's outside of it.

Now, in attempts to loosen up some more, I plan to continue working in a similar way, but straying away from the safety and comfort that I find in the cube/rectangle...

materials include: pink and yellow fiberglass insulation, pink foam insulation, urethane foam, polyurethane, hotglue, and landscaping fabric

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

something's growing in my studio

Final critiques are in less than a week and I'm working hard to finish this piece. It's still very much a work in progress, but I'm excited about where it's headed. I like the looks of it standing up, but I think I actually prefer it laying down... that way you can see the interior as well! hmmmmm

Monday, November 28, 2011

william kentridge: anything is possible

"I am an artist. My job is to make drawings, not to make sense." WK

I just watched the PBS documentary on South African artist, William Kentridge, called Anything is Possible. I know I've seen it before, but I can't remember for the life of me when/where. If ever I teach a drawing class of my own, I will definitely show this film to my students. He pushes "drawing" like no artist I've seen. William Kentridge's work is quite amazing, involving so many factors yet flowing so smoothly. I particularly enjoy watching footage from the opera he staged and directed called The Nose

Sunday, November 27, 2011

ashkan honarvar

These beautiful collages by Ashkan Honarvar remind me a lot of Wangechi Mutu's, but I think I may like these even better. His website is organized very nicely into distinct bodies of work that are definitely worth checking out. Some are a bit, ahem, "sexier" than others (yes, I can be a bit of a prude) but they're all quite striking and lovely. I particularly enjoy how he uses layering techniques to manipulate the human flesh and create new images that are gorgeously grotesque.

 "The saying goes that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. It occurs in places you least expect. Revealing its art in the human body, but also cruelly absent in the presence of deformations and scars, Ashkan Honarvar depicts an undeniable, unavoidable beauty by accepting the darker sides of human ‘nature’. The body, torn by acts of war, exploited by the sex industry or used as a tool for seeking identity, is the focal point of his work. This constitutes a search for a universal representation of the evil latent in every human, providing an opportunity for reflection. His aesthetic dissection has an intriguing macabre nature, which opens the images to interpretation." (from his website)     

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

wangechi mutu


Kenyan artist, Wangechi Mutu's gorgeously complex collages caught my eye last weekend at the Corcoran's 30 American's exhibition (definitely worth checking out if you're in DC).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


An intelligent and quietly hilarious film, (Untitled), delivers a fresh take on the contemporary art world and cleverly satirizes its various stereotypical players. There's Madeleine, the NY gallerist, who is committed to showing work that is odd and unsellable, such as Adrian's serious experimental music/sound art, but is forced to sell Adrian's brother's uninteresting commercial paintings to keep the doors open. 

It's hard to put into words how poignant this film really is... so much so that outsiders of the contemporary art world might not pick up on the blatant stereotypes that make it so entertaining. Does that make sense? Check out the trailer below for a better idea...

Friday, November 11, 2011

more on wim delvoye

I've always had a soft spot for some good (classy) potty humor... which naturally makes me a huge fan of Belgian artist, Wim Delvoye. The more I learn of his work, the more I fall in love with this guy. He has an incredible way with the subject matter that takes the yucky/gross/ew and turns it into beautiful/gasp/giggle! I'm particularly taken by his series of "anal kisses."

 Anal Kiss A 15 (left) and A11 (right), 1999
53 x 44 cm (framed)
lipstick on hotel stationery

Aren't they great?! I would LOVE to get my hands on a copy of this book - a collection of Delvoye's earliest work, completed between the ages of 3-6. I can only image what awesomeness it might contain. This is now at the top of my Christmas list!

This puzzle too! Oh boy... gotta have this! hahaha! 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

drawing (droodling)

3" x 8"
ink on paper

I'm onto some new-ish things in the studio. This drawing above is the start of something. It's primarily serving as one of many studies for some larger paintings I plan to do with polyurethane and oil paint... so we'll see about that! I've been looking at a lot of photos online of skin... all kinds of photos... but the really zoomed in ones of skin layers are by far the best. I found these at 


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

herb & dorothy

I finally watched this film... and I highly recommend it!
"HERB & DOROTHY tells the extraordinary story of Herbert Vogel, a postal clerk, and Dorothy Vogel, a librarian, who managed to build one of the most important contemporary art collections in history with very modest means. In the early 1960s, when very little attention was paid to Minimalist and Conceptual Art, Herb and Dorothy Vogel quietly began purchasing the works of unknown artists. Devoting all of Herb's salary to purchase art they liked, and living on Dorothy's paycheck alone, they continued collecting artworks guided by two rules: the piece had to be affordable, and it had to be small enough to fit in their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment. Within these limitations, they proved themselves curatorial visionaries; most of those they supported and befriended went on to become world-renowned artists including Sol LeWitt, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Richard Tuttle, Chuck Close, Robert Mangold, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Lynda Benglis, Pat Steir, Robert Barry, Lucio Pozzi, and Lawrence Weiner. "
CLICK HERE or HERE to lean more - or watch the trailer below

Sunday, November 6, 2011

rocks that wow

I think it's time I learn some more about geology. It's more aesthetic than I ever realized.

Yesterday I spent some time with the rocks in DC's Natural History Museum. I've been to the museum twice since moving to DC, but for some reason the dinos and dead animals always seem to take precedence. My friend Julia and I ventured upstairs this time to catch a glimpse at the Hope Diamond (though I still don't know what's so great about it) and found ourselves amongst the most incredible rocks/minerals/crystals we'd ever seen. I could've spent ages in that room just ooh-ing and ahh-ing at all the gorgeous forms and colors. It's amazing to think that all these things have formed naturally over time. So outrageous. Seeing them all has given me lots to think about - especially concerning the idea of the "organic." I've always thought of rocks as being so stationary (contrary to my impression of the organic) but after seeing how they grow into such incredible forms, I can't help but consider them organisms themselves.

I saw a lot of things that reminded me of elements and materials used in my own work. For example, there's a striking resemblance between this lava rock and this "Folded Flesh" painting I did last year...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

wim delvoye

This video by Belgian artist, Wim Delvoye (of Cloaca Factory fame) came up in conversation last night. I'll refrain from extrapolating... but I must admit that I like this... a lot.

CLICK HERE to read a great interview of the artist

Monday, October 31, 2011

some drawings

I've been messing around with some new approaches, and I somehow ended up with a few drawings, which is something new for me. I started with a slice of this...
(the result of many layers of polyurethane-soaked fiberglass insulation made into a ball, dried, and sliced on a band-saw)

... and then I began drawing from observation. I based the forms off of the above image, but allowed them to evolve as I continued. And they eventually grew to become these organ/tumor-ish objects...

graphite on paper
appx. 5" x 4" each

Perhaps I'll do some more...

Friday, October 28, 2011

hans bellmer & unica zürn

Wow! I can't believe I'm seeing these images for the first time. The one above, in particular, really grabs me... SO good. My friend Michelle suggested I check out Zürn's drawings after I mentioned my interest/fascination with orifices (in my own work). Her drawings are neat (as are Bellmer's sculptures) but these collaborative photographs between the pair are juuuust right. A perfect balance/blending of informality, performance, documentation, manipulation, seduction, deformation, etc.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

speaking of books

I recently finished Seven Days in the Art World, an entertaining, non-fictional look into the various facets of the "art world" and all of its complexity. I highly recommend it - especially for artists, but not exclusively. Many artists, and art professionals, have loved ones who know nothing of the hard-to-explain world we inhabit (or hope to one day) - I can't help but think that reading this book may be an entertaining way to help them understand - or at least make them realize that they don't.
"Art and business, personal quests and personality cults, big bucks and the triumph of concept over beauty, being cool and in the know—these are the cardinal points in the contemporary art world. Enter Thornton, an art historian and sociologist with moxie and a brilliant game plan. Willing to ask obvious questions, she infiltrates the seven circles of this competitive realm. An astute observer and stimulating storyteller whose crisp sentences convey a wealth of information, Thornton marvels at the military precision of a Christie’s auction and the wild improvisation of an art-school critique.  On to Art Basel, a major international art fair where the “hard buy” rather than the hard sell is the rule since an artist’s reputation is tied to those who own his or her work. Thornton witnesses the final stage in the judging and presentation of the Turner Prize, watches editors at work at Artforum, attends the coveted Venice Biennale, and spends a dizzying day with the wizardly artist-entrepreneur Takashi Murakami. Thornton’s uniquely clarifying dispatches from the art front glimmer with high-definition profiles of artists, dealers, critics, and collectors, and grapple with the paradoxes inherent in the transformation of creativity into commodity." --Donna Seaman's review for 

While we're on the subject... Steve Martin's (yes the actor!) fictional, brow-raising tale of the art world is equally as entertaining (perhaps even moreso). It follows the exploits of a young, ambitious female art dealer and offers a slightly more cynical view of that side of spectrum. A great read! CLICK HERE to read the NY Times' review of the novel.

art as experience

I'm currently reading this book, Art as Experience... it's beautifully written and seems to relate to my work in so many ways. I've only read the first few chapters, so I can't give it a full review just yet, but I can tell already that I'm going to need to get my own copy - it's a text I'll be referring to often. I find it to be so relevant to the art of today, which is quite impressive considering it was written in the 1930's! This wikipedia article is quite informative if you're interested in learning more about the book!

 "Impulsions are the beginnings of complete experiences because they proceed from need; from a hunger and demand that belongs to the organism as a whole and that can be supplied only by instituting definite relations (active relations, interactions) with the environment. The epidermis is only in the most superficial way an indication of where an organism ends and its environment begins. There are things inside the body that are foreign to it, and there are things outside of it that belong to it de jure, if not de facto; that must, that is, be taken possession of if life is to continue... The need that is manifest in the urgent impulsions that demand completion through what the environment - and it alone - can supply, is a dynamic acknowledgment of this dependence of the self for wholeness upon its surroundings."
from John Dewey's Art as Experience
chapter 4 - The Act of Expression - p. 59

Thursday, October 20, 2011

installation detritus


I took down my installation from the 1st-year show this week, which has been (and tends to be) a fairly refreshing and energizing experience (contrary to the belief of many). By taking it apart, I'm no longer tied to the piece - I don't have to worry about how to move it, where to put it, etc. And I automatically have lots of left-over material with which to make something entirely new! I'm definitely going to be re-purposing a majority of the material... I like what's happening in the piece of detritus pictured above. It's scab-like... which, ironically, is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. Hmmmm

detritus (dɪˈtraɪtəs) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide]
1.  a loose mass of stones, silt, etc, worn away from rocks
2.  an accumulation of disintegrated material or debris
3.  the organic debris formed from the decay of organisms