Sunday, February 27, 2011

sculpture/dance collaboration

I'm currently working on a collaboration with Gretchen McLaine, a dance professor at the College of Charleston. The product of our collaboration will be a dance piece that has been choreographed around a sculptural set that I have designed, in response to her concepts for the dance, dealing with darkness and light, shadows, etc.. The structure seen above is one of several elements that make up my contribution. It is an object of sorts that the dancers will interact with in a variety of ways. They will climb on it, inside of it, through it, pick it up, move it, hang from it, jump on it, off of it, and more! I'm very excited to see the end product... so far I have a really good feeling about how it is all coming together. The sculptures, the movements, the costumes, the lighting, the music... it's all working quite nicely! See the video below (from yesterday's rehearsal) for a rough sneak peek.

The performance will be the 19th-21st of March... more info to come!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

spencer tunick

I recently watched one of the documentaries on photographer, Spencer Tunick. This one, called "Naked World," followed Spencer to all seven continents to photograph naked people in each. I've also seen "Naked States," in which he does the same in all 50 US states. A pretty neat idea, although I find the actual process and the final product to be much more interesting than the films.

Spencer Tunick's photographs serve as documentation for his site-specific installations of masses of naked people in public spaces. Though the photo itself is the end product, the art piece is made up of the entire event, which requires much planning and often turns into quite the production for all involved parties. It becomes a sort of performance, particularly in the way that it involves hundreds, often thousands, of participants.

Tunick states on his website that "the individuals en masse, without their clothing, grouped together metamorphose into a new shape. The bodies extend into and upon the landscape like a substance. These grouped masses which do not underscore sexuality become abstractions that challenge or reconfigure one's views of nudity and privacy."

I love the way he uses the flesh as raw material, as if the bodies are the blocks with which he is building.

His photos take on a wide range of aesthetics and emotions. Some are dark, others are humorous. Some are rigid, while others are amorphous. Some I enjoy more than others.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

i have a REAL website

The time has come for me to suck it up and make a big girl website. I've finally set it up! This blog has served as my website for quite some time, but now I'm in need of something a bit more professional, and organized, and easier to navigate. Now I feel like I have more freedom to use this blog more to discuss my work and where it's taking me. But for now...

check out

flesh paintings

acrylic on canvas
7" x 5" each

I've been thinking more about the flesh and its many material and metaphorical qualities. It's presence in my work has been unavoidable it seems these past few months. Even my abstract, nonrepresentational work seems to pick up on the aesthetic. In this series of small acrylic paintings I have zoomed in on various places on my own body (elbow, neck, palm, forehead, and stomach) and have simply painted what is there. This is a different approach than I normally take. Unlike my sculptures which tend to start out with abstract forms and often turn into something that evokes the natural environment, these paintings were derived from life, though they appear to be abstract. I think this is a fun way to play with the boundaries of representation as well as the boundaries of my own work. I'm having fun with painting and the more I paint, the more I see it fitting in with my wider body of work.

Monday, February 21, 2011

lynda benglis

I never know what to think about Lynda Benglis. While her poured metal blobs render me breathless, her more colorful work leaves me somewhat indifferent. And then there's that scandalous Artforum ad. You type in her name on google, and that's what pops up... image upon image of the young, dildo-wielding Benglis. Sure, I get that she was making a statement about feminism and gender in art, particularly at that time (1974), but I'd much rather celebrate her for her more minimal object-based work. Despite the fact that most of her work is conceptually charged with gender and politics, I'm most attracted to it for its formal qualities.

I was first turned on to Lynda Benglis in an introductory foundry (metal pouring/casting) class at the College of Charleston. I was experimenting with loose blob-like forms cast in plaster (poured into condoms, which I suppose is rather ironic) which I eventually planned to cast in metal. My professor suggested I look at Benglis, as well as Louise Bourgeois to see how they dealt with the material in a similar aesthetic. What excites me about Benglis is her choice of materials and how process-oriented all her work is.

Laura Hopton of The New York Times says, "She adopted the vast scale and industrial materials favored by Minimalists like Donald Judd and Carl Andre, but let her colorful latex pouring allude to bodily gestures, fluids and topographies, and harden into a kind of skin."

YES PLEASE! It is in this way that I am interested in using similar types of man-made materials to create a sort of tactile, bodily, flesh-like aesthetic a la minimalist means.

As I mentioned, the more colorful stuff doesn't excite me as much... it reminds me too much of what Ben Godward (whom I met at Franconia this summer) is doing, thus I associate it with something different than perhaps is intended. Obviously, she did it first, but still... it kind of ruins it for me.

I also can't help but think of Leslie Wayne (discussed in earlier post)... but I think I like Wayne's better.
Anyway, I will continue praise Benglis for her use of materials and for her non-traditional approaches of handling them and will without a doubt continue drooling over her poured metal sculptures...

Monday, February 7, 2011


After further examining Felix Schramm's destruction-esque installations (pictured in previous post) I was turned onto Gordon Matta-Clark, often cited as one of Schramm's influences. Matta-Clark was an American architect turned artist best known for the site-specific artworks he made in the 1970s. He is famous for his "building cuts," a series of works in abandoned buildings in which he variously removed sections of floors, ceilings, and walls to create an experience that would alter the perception of the building and its surrounding environment.

For more traditional gallery settings, he would strategically install portions of cut up buildings in the gallery space, which, to me, come across as quite contemporary and particularly appealing, even today. But these types of installations are much more controlled and don't quite realize what Gordon Matta-Clark was trying to accomplish with his work. The fleeting and temporal nature of his most ambitious projects better communicate his "anarchitecture" ideals.

Matta-Clark once said that his work was ‘about making space without building it.’ I like this idea, and I appreciate the way he went about achieving it. Sort of. I guess you could say I have mixed feelings. I want to really like his massive demolitions of derelict buildings. It all really appeals to me aesthetically, but I can't help but wonder what would've become of his work had he not died of cancer at the young age of 35. I feel that, had he been able to continue working, he would've fallen into the same sort of trap as Le Corbusier and the other architects and ideals he so strongly opposed. You can't be a rebel forever. Either you get caught or people end up loving you, which means you're no longer against the norm. Luckily for him, Matta-Clark's career (and life) was as transient as his artworks, and so we can go on praising him for what he did best.

Gordon Matta-Clark has paved the way for artists such as Robert Wilson, who like Matta-Clark is addressing various architectural concerns in his work. The public art piece by Wilson, shown below, has been described as his "most radical intervention into architecture to date."

read more about Gordon Matta-Clark here and here

Sunday, February 6, 2011

if ever i'm in germany

I'd be interested in visiting the Museum Morsbrioch

Formerly a Baroque castle, it is now a municipal museum for the exhibition of current art. I'd be really intrigued to see new, contemporary works displayed in such a historical setting. Unfortunately the museum's website is solely in German, and I've yet to find much info in a language I can comprehend, but the images I found on Contemporary Art Daily of the museum's current exhibition, "Neues Rheinland," have me itching to see more...