Wednesday, August 24, 2011

so much to see

In the few weeks I've been living in Maryland, I've made it into DC (a 20 min drive/metro ride) a few times for some minimal sightseeing and maximal art-seeing. There's so much to see/do in this city, and I'm just getting started! Some highlights include...

Artists in Dialogue 2: Sandile Zulu (right) & Henrique Oliveira (left)
This exhibition deserves a post all to itself. I couldn't be more thrilled to have seen this work. I have been a huge fan of Henrique Oliveira for quite some time and this was the first time I've had the chance to experience one of his incredible installations in person. WOW! Sandile Zulu's work is pretty crazy too (I was unfamiliar with him before this exhibition) and the two of them make for a very dynamic pairing. Bravo!

The Guerrilla Girls Talk Back

Washington Color and Light
I brought Steve to the Corcoran during his visit last weekend specifically to see this exhibition (because he would have loved it) but unfortunately it had come down the day after I saw it!! Bummer!

A. Balasubramaniam: Sk(in)
WHOA - I found this small body of work to be much more interesting/exciting than the 2 solo exhibitions of Kandinsky and Stella's work - also on view at the Phillips Collection.

Dinosaur Hall

Monday, August 22, 2011

the start of something

Last week, all the new grad students (there's only 4 of us) met up for an informal orientation of sorts. We got the basic run-down of the program - where to go, what to do, who to talk to, what to expect, etc. Now it's up to us to get to work in the studio. Allow me to introduce you to my fellow incoming grads...

For those of us with assistantships in the department (of art, duh), our contracts began last week as well. We were each assigned duties to help prep the studios for the coming semester. Selin and Michael and I put a fresh coat of gray paint on the floors of painting studios (see below). It was a good way to break into the program and to get to know some new faces. I feel welcomed here and certainly not greeted with the anxiety of feeling like I have to prove myself or find a place to fit in. It feels natural. Perhaps that's due to the size of the program (I believe there are 14 of us total), but irregardless, it feels just right.

I'm lucky enough to be starting off with a Full Graduate Assistantship, which, in exchange for 20 hrs of service to the department, pays for my tuition and provides a not-huge, but not-so-bad stipend that covers most of my living expenses. Contrary to the belief of many... grad school doesn't have to mean mounds of debt! Not all schools have the resources to fully fund their students, but there are lots of programs out there like UMD that offer generous assistantships and fellowships. Thank goodness! For my assistantship this semester, I will be a Teaching Assistant for four different sections (each with a different professor) of ART-100 - 2D Fundamentals. I'm excited about learning, in such a hands-on way, how to be a teacher (at the collegiate level). The program is structured so that, by my 2nd/3rd year, I will be teaching my own classes here at UMD, if I so wish. Let's hope my "students" aren't put off by the fact that I'm practically the same age as they are ;) Perhaps if I act really mature I'll have them fooled... that is... until they see my student ID!

Friday, August 19, 2011

a little something

This week I've been continuing some research for a project that I've been working on for the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art. I've been serving as a research assistant ("Special Projects Associate" to be specific) to the Halsey's director and curator Mark Sloan for a book proposal/traveling exhibition that's in the works. The project involves the work of Mr. Don ZanFagna, a multi-talented man in his 80's currently living in Mt. Pleasant, SC.

  CLICK HERE to learn more about Mr. ZanFagna

As part of my research, I've been reading up on "Organic Architecture." I've read cover to cover Javier Senosiain's Bio-Architecture, as well as heavily skimmed several others on the subject, and I've come across some ideas and quotes that are particularly relevant in my personal studio work (which shares some aesthetic & conceptual qualities with ZanFagna's). I can't seem to get the following quote, by Frank Lloyd Wright, out of my head. It's taking me somewhere I have been headed for some time... 
Every house is a mechanical forgery of the human body... the whole inside is a sort of stomach that attempts to digest objects, objets d'art perhaps, but objects nonetheless. Here is where the feigned affliction installs itself, always hungry for more objects or plethoric because of excess. It seems like the whole life of the common house is a form of indigestion, an unhealthy body that suffers slight illnesses, that demands constant repairs and remedies to survive. It is a marvel that we, its occupants, are not driven crazy in it and with it; perhaps it is a sort of insanity we have put into it.
 I'm thinking a lot about that quote and how Wright's ideas fit into my body of work/area of interest. I'm excited about the possibilities. Oh yea, and I pulled out some materials today. I've been sitting on my hands for the past few weeks, but I think it's time to start playing around - to see some ideas come to life. The above image is the result of today's toilings.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


The past 2 weeks have been a whirlwind. I drove to Atlanta and back to pick up my mom who graciously drove the 16 ft rental truck crammed with my belongings (who knew one 22 yr old could have so much stuff?!) all the way to Maryland. Steve was my slave for a few days... he packed and shoved and lifted without complaint, stopping only to go to the City Gallery to de-install my portion of the Contemporary Charleston exhibition - while I was at work, hosting a 3 yr old's ballerina birthday party on the day before the big move. We went far too many days on much too little sleep, but thankfully are still here to talk about it.

Taking things out of boxes has proven to be much less stressful (except for the few hours that I couldn't find the coffee grinder). I quickly filled my 2nd floor Silver Spring apartment with room to spare - it's much more spacious than my Race Street abode. After helping unload the rest of my belongings into my (also spacious) UMD studio, Steve headed home to Philadelphia, and after 2 days spent in the North Virginia Mountains at my Uncle Keith's, my mom and I met him there. Our parents met and Steve gave yet another magnificent tour of the city (if you're ever there, call him up!) Mom caught a plane south-bound and I hung around with the Evans' only to sleep through the next 2 afternoons - finally catching up on all the running around and lack of sleep of the previous week.

This week has been spent slowly... getting my apartment set up, little by little. I'm just now starting to learn my way around this place- this place is huge, especially compared to itty bitty Charleston, which has made for lots of wrong turns and missed exits. Yesterday I found my way to the University of Maryland campus again and organized my things in a way that makes me feel much more at home in my studio. I briefly met 2 of the new grad students, Lauren and Jason, who were also getting settled into their new spaces.

Below are 2 shots of my studio so far... much more talk is in store. I want to elaborate on my program, professors, my assistant-ship, etc. But until then...