Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Words, Installment 3: Polar Processes

Additive/ Subtractive
Obscuring/ Revealing
Strengthening/ Weakening
Creation/ Destruction

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Glass Ruminations Cont'd

Another important thing about the glass that I forgot to mention:

There are patterns that develop when I'm collecting--certain types of glass are more common than others; certain spots on the street are more likely to accumulate glass (the areas where the sidewalk meets the street, for instance, or where the presence of a telephone pole causes a mild ditch--I know exactly where to look now); certain streets are rife with glass shards (and other refuse), while others have not a spec. This is a very important aspect of this whole thing for me--noticing these things, however passively, because they really say something. The more glass you are likely to find in a place, the more likely it is that that place doesn't receive much attention from whatever power is behind the cleaning up of glass and trash and the maintenance of basic infrastructural damage control--the more likely it is that that place will be regarded as "dangerous" by certain people, the more likely it is that some people will avoid that place, despite the fact that plenty of other people live and work there with their families, that children happily ride their bikes there, that the ice cream truck comes around on hot days when the glass shines brightest. And I'm just talking about Waltham Massachusettes here! Imagine what the glass has to say in other places!

I think this is a huge part of why the prospect of making something out of this glass is so psychologically overwhelming to me. It's part of something much bigger than me and what I experiment with in my studio. I feel like it's my job to honor these things that I'm finding, to adequately convey the narrative, the significance, the real meaning, the reason why I feel compelled to stop and pick these things up in the first place. But I don't know how to do that--I don't know what I can make that is going to get other people to see what I see, or at least to acknowledge and appreciate that I see what I see. I don't know how to make something that is that important, or at least that conveys the importance that I find in these seemingly minuscule, ignorable things. I don't even know if that's what I should be trying to do--is it even good enough just to get people to look at something I made and hope it made them think about something? What effect does any of that ultimately have? It just seems kind of pointless sometimes...I like to think though that if I can make something that makes even just one person think (and maybe even do something), that it's totally worth it. Maybe that's just my naivete...I prefer to consider it idealism (much more distinguished)

Creating from Destruction--a Moral Dilemma

I've developed a new obsessive habit: I've begun collecting shards of shattered glass off the street. I carry around an empty container whenever I walk anywhere and stop to collect them. There's a lot of it, in a variety of colors and configurations, all over the place. Now that I'm looking for it, I find it everywhere. Anyway, I've been collecting for a week or 2...I sort through the grimy mix, clean off the individual shards, and sort them all by color (there are a surprising amount of variations within the greens, ambers, clears). Here are some photos of the sorting process, just to give you some idea of what I'm talking about:

My initial impulse was to build jagged surfaces with them in a similar vein to what I did with the paper panels (Aggregates) I put in the show. I tried fooling around on some panels:

(The flowers were an impulse focus mechanism)

I still haven't really figured out what to do with them yet--it's been kind of frustrating trying to get the level of volume I was initially looking for--I wanted a really jagged, jutting out kind of effect, but it's nearly impossible to get that with what I have because most of the pieces are pretty small, and I'm not too trusting of gravity in terms of trying to stand things up on their thin edges...

A couple people have suggested I just break my own glass--that that would afford some more control over the kinds of pieces I get (color, size, shape, thickness, etc.). I've thought about this, but I always end up in this weird kind of internal conflict. I'll try to explain...

The way I'm working right now--the process I'm going through is one of seeking out, collecting and building from the discarded fragments of objects that have been broken/ shattered and subsequently forgotten/ ignored/ avoided. I find them beautiful (they glimmer even in the dirt), and clean them up to reinstate and display that beauty in a new creation. It feels like I'm salvaging something--like I'm picking up the pieces and making something positive out of the evidence of these accumulated acts of violence or carelessness. It feels like I'm facilitating the re-realization of the true potential of the forgotten remnants.

I have a hard time contemplating being the actual source of the destruction/ enacting the actual violence that will reduce a bottle or glass or vase or whatever into broken shards. I have a hard time justifying what would be a violent act (even if it's just glass) for what? A sense of control? Power over the unapologetic pursuit of my own personal vision? That starts to feel like sinister territory...

One of the people who brought up the idea of breaking my own glass remarked that what I'm doing now is passive. I suppose, in a way, they're right. Finding already broken pieces of glass is a passive act. I'm sort of using them in a way that allows me to avoid being responsible for how they got broken. I get to be the one who points to their brokenness, acknowledges it, and then uses the pieces toward my own personal vision anyway. So I guess that's sinister in a different way...

But I also feel pretty strongly that being the brutalizer isn't the answer. I think I am active in my seeking and finding and collecting and carefully crafting and building--it's just a different kind of "active". But if I manage to build something that transcends the initial violence involved in what happened before I found the materials, will I have brought about a positive change, or will I have obfuscated that violence? Is the power I exercise through my intuition better than the power I could exercise with a hammer? It certainly feels like a better kind of control than the kind of control that would come from deliberately destroying. It feels like I'm working with the materials, like I'm facilitating a kind of transformation or realization, rather than exerting power over by destroying, brutalizing, shattering. It feels like I'm undoing those kinds of acts instead of perpetuating them.

But if I decided to deliberately break my own glass, knowing that I was taking on the role of the brutalizer, could my own awareness of the shifted tone of that process clarify the violence better than transforming it would? Could my inhabiting of that role somehow serve to raise consciousness rather than perpetuate? I guess it all depends on the ultimate outcome...on what kind of object I ultimately decide to make, or if I decide to make an object at all...I feel like if I were to take on the breaking of the glass, that would have to be the whole piece--just the act of shattering the glass, the futility of it, the lack of necessity or justification or worth in it, the complete pointlessness of destruction. Because how could I justify creating something out of what I just destroyed? How could I ever believe, much less convince others to believe, that it was really necessary or worth it--that the new thing that destruction enabled me to make was so much better and more worthy than that bottle's existence? I suppose I could...but I'd be lying (and I have no intention of ever becoming a politician...)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Phrases, Installment 1

Recently, in addition to the singular words that linger in my head, I've been writing down random phrases that pop into my mind. Sometimes I write down multiple variations. Sometimes they feel like titles, or come out of a sort of title-contemplating mindset (the first few clusters came out of me brainstorming titles for the show, for instance). Sometimes they're phrases I've heard or seen somewhere that have a kind of ring about them that makes me write them down. Sometimes they're phrases spoken from the point of view of one of my pieces. They're usually just weird or bizarre wordplay types of things that take the form of off-beat fragments and pseudo-sayings. But they're fun to think up and write down and read over from time to time, and who knows, someday maybe I'll actually use them. I'm almost at the end of my current sketchbook, and I don't want to lose them, so I'll post them here in the order that I wrote them down:

If You're a Moth, I'm the Flame

Into the Fire

Learn By Doing

Get Burned

Come Closer

Too Close for Comfort

Come Closer (Too Close for Comfort)

Enter At Your Own Risk

Danger: High Voltage

Can You Hear Me?

Can You See Me?

Can You Feel Me?

Can You Smell Me?

Can You Taste Me?

Can You Love Me?

Can You Understand Me?

Can You Speak to Me?

Gan You Grow With Me?

Can I ___ You?

Can We___Each Other/ Together?

Face Value

Not Enough Value

Impotence of Being Earnest

Premature Infatuation

Dusty Rusty Senses

Your Senses Are Getting Dusty and Rusty

Art is Like a Tune-Up for Your Broken-Down Senses (Utilize That Shit!)

Do You Hear Yourself? Maybe You Should Shut Up and Listen

What's Wrong With You?

Was It Worth It?

Why Do You Even Care?

Do You Even Care?

What Do You Want? Why Don't You Have It?

Why Do You Deserve to Be Happy?

Is Happiness Really What You Need?

At What Cost?

The Pursuit of Happiness => Chasing Imaginary Geese

Trust Wisely

Believe Selectively

Interrogate Everything

Developed Doubt > Blind Belief

Have You Ever Considered the Possibility that Everything You've Ever Known is a Lie? Now You Have. Welcome to the Universe of Doubt

At the End of Your Life, Will the Things You've Done Allow You to Pretend It Mattered?

At the End of Your Life, Will the Things You've Done Allow You to Believe It Mattered?

So That At the End of Your Life, You Can Pretend Like it Mattered

Was It Worth It?

When You Die, You'll Wonder if Your Life Even Mattered (Your Life is About Doing Things So That You Can Pretend that It Did)

If God Loves You, You Matter (Duh)

It Makes Sense Because the Universe Has a Plan (Obviously)

My Existence Matters (Doesn't Yours?)

My Existence Has Meaning (Doesn't Yours?)

Don't Disregard Dreams (Develop Dialogue)

Create Causes to Solidify Significance

Compulsively Create Content

When You're Feeling Worthless, Make Something Up

Invent Identity

Validate (Avoid the Void)

Focus (Fester Faster)

Foster Focus, Fester Faster

Let Your Focus Fester Faster

See Surface; Slip; Surrender

Kant Kauses Kancer

No Person's an Island

Interpersonal Relationships Matter

Make Or Break; Use or Lose => Finite, Polarizing Rhymes to Make You Anxious

If You Don't Stress Yourself Out, Someone Else Will Do it For You (Do You Want to Give Up That Control?)

Why Stress Yourself Out When Someone Else Will Do It For You?

Why Let Anything Stress You Out?

Fuck Everything

But When You Care About Something, It Starts to Have Power. The Power to Stress You Out.

Can You Hear Your Brain Clicking On and Off? Scanning Through Thoughts Like the Record Collection Inside a Jukebox? 'Here's One I'll Entertain. Select. Slowly Set Into Place with a Click. Play.'

Played Out

Weird is What Makes Things Interesting, Keeps Things from Being Boring and Oppressive. Normal Doesn't Actually Exist. The People That Worry about Being 'Normal' and Structure Their Lives around the Appearance of 'Normalcy' are the Really Fucked Up Ones

Why Would People Want to Believe in God? God is the Opposite of Empowerment

'Family Values'...Sounds Like a Dollar Store. Selling a Cheap, Shitty Product that Seems like a Good Deal, but is Actually Marked Way Up from the 1¢ it took to Produce it. Brightly Colored, Wholesome. It's Un-American Not to Endorse it!

Is Delusion Really That Much Easier? Aren't You Haunted by the Unsettling Suspicion that Your Life is Totally Worthless, that You're Pawns in some Master Manipulator's Game?

All In the Family

Hunky Dory


I'm So Repressed, I Get Offended By Pollen

Fanning the Flames

Fueling the Fire

Blowing Smoke

Algae Bloom Says, 'Fuck All Y'all'

Fuck It or Leave It

Use or Lose

Make or Break

Biological Imperative

Because We're All Fucked

All Fucked Up

A Motherfucking Travesty

What a Fucking Mess

Hate Something? Change It. Transform it into its own Polar Opposite. You Don't Even Need to Know How. Science will Figure That Out For You

Organ Music

Clawing at Your Own Face Because Your Skin if Smothering Your Internal Organs

Hating Everything that Touches You

Hating Everything

(Whose) Fault (Line)

Concentrated Crack

Brain Crack

(Your) Brain (on) Crack

Your Brain (on) Crack

What's Your Problem?

Who Do You Think You Are?

Do You Even Give a Shit?

Do You Even Care?

Do You Even Like This Shit?

Why Are You Even Here?

I Made This For You

Does This Not Please the Everloving Shit Out of You?

You're Totally Objectifying Me Right Now...

I'm Not Just some Commodity

I'm Not Just some Object

Fuck You and Your Gaze

Stare At Me a Little Longer

Come a Little Closer

Come So Close I'm Practically Stabbing You in the Eye...There, That's Better

Step Right Up! I Only Might Make You Bleed...

Don't Make Me Cut You...

I'm Not Responsible if You End Up Bleeding

Wouldn't it be Awesome if that Really Long, Sharp Shard Stabbed You in the Eye? You Could Tell Chicks You were Literally Blinded by Beauty. I Bet You'd Get a Lot of Pussy With That Line...I'd Totally Back You Up, 'Cause I'd Be All Flattered that You Essentially Characterized Me as the Incarnation of Beauty...It's Win, Win!

Chicks Dig Scars. You Should Let Me Cut You. That's Be One Classy-Ass Scar. Just Sayin'...Bitches'll Think You're all Into Art and Shit. I'd Be Doing You a Favor, Man...

You Walked All Over Me Yesterday. Well, Today, I'm Fucking Art!

You Walked All Over Me Yesterday. Well Guess What? I'm Art Now, Motherfucker!

You Ignored Me Yesterday. Do I Have Your Attention Now? (Now That I'm Art?)

Have I Earned Your Precious Attention?

Am I Finally Worthy of Your Attention?

Remember that Heineken Bottle You Dropped in the Street Last Night Because You Were Too Fucking Wasted to Recycle It? It's Art Now.

Remember that Heineken Bottle You Dropped in the Street Last Night Because You Were Too Fucking Wasted to Recycle It? Yeah, Hi Douchebag.

Tread Lightly, Motherfucker

You Avoid Stepping on This Every Day

Ya Like Thorns?

Some Thorny Shit

Imagine This Shit Embedded in Your Toe

I Could Pop Your Tire Like That

You Think I'm Shattered? You Should See the Other Guy...

Do You Think the Flowers Make Me More or Less Threatening?

Do the Flowers Make Me Less Threatening, or Are They Just Lulling You into a False Sense of Security?

Do You Feel Safer Because You're Looking at Flowers?

Do These Flowers Make Me Look Passive?

Yeah, I Think the Flowers Help Me Maintain a Certain Feminine Image while I put Shards of Fucking Glass in Your Face

How Do You Look? (How Do You See?)

If I Were You, I'd Be Boring

If I Were You, I Wouldn't Be Me

Nature Doesn't Need You

Nature Will Fuck You Up

Greener Than You

Recycling is tha Shit

Recycled Materials from the Sidewalk

Sidewalk > Utrecht

Nervous Breakdown

I Got Your Nervous Breakdown Right Fuckin Here

Yo Man, Violence is Totally the Answer

Dude, It's Like About Nature Rising out of the Rubble of Our Industrial Ignorance. Or Some Shit...

Yeah, It's Like, Nature, Juxtaposed with the Man-Made...

It's Like, the Cycles of Nature Conquering Man's Hubris...You Know?

It's Like, a Reflection of My Own Fragmented Existence...Or Something

It Really Makes Me Question the Multitudinous Aspects of My Own Self-hood...Damn (Fuckin' Art, Man)

Aw Man, I Want a Beer Now...

I Could Totally Hang This in the Living Room--It's Really Tie the Color Scheme Together, Don't You Think, Honey? We'd Just Have to Put it out of Reach of the Kids...But Man, would that make for a Great Conversation Piece at Dinner Parties...All Our Friends will think we're So Cultured...

How Much for the One with the Flowers and Broken Glass?

Gritty As Fuck

Maybe You Should Think About Yourself A Little More

Look at Yourself

Take a Long, Hard Look

Who Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?

This Is Your Face on Crack(ed Glass)

Stare Into Your Own Refracted Reflection. That is Some Deep Shit Right There...

Maybe If You Stare at Pieces of Yourself for Long Enough, Something Profound Will Happen

Words, Installment 2: Directional

Some words that have to do with directional/ spatial orientation...







In front of






Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Extremely Belated Notes from my Final Review

I just realized that in the whirlwind, I completely forgot to post the notes from my final critique, which a friend and classmate of mine took for me...Here they are, about a month late...

Me: I’m playing around with different textures, space. To access something beyond illustrating what I like or what I am attracted to. Figure out what works and what the best way is to go about what I’m trying to do – experimenting with different media and different ways of making what it is I want to make

JL: too much! [I brought a lot of work, because I'd made a lot of work]

SD: how many things do you make a day?

Me: Some days I crank out 50 mono-prints

SD: You have an incredible amount of energy and urgency. It’s a great time to put up certain parameters to get more of a sense of where things are going. Take energy that you make 50 thing in one week and make one thing (smaller). You know that you are going to keep making and making and making, begin to implement structures

Me: Had to stop (come closer) because I was going to go crazy if I kept working on it, this one (come around) was more specific – about space

SD: Definition for ambition changes [when you have this much work] if you did something 10x more ambitious, what would that be?

JL: Your work, more and more has a style. You work towards a signature style, crazy production in the service of creating a very distinctive style

SD: Some of these resist that style, force you to think on your feet a little

SL: (come closer) I like this because it is so inconsistent, has so many styles and layers, find some of the other things too consistent and fast. I think having something bigger than you so you are out of control of is good

KM: Wish I had your energy, always had so much to show me. Not sure if this [9 panels] goes much beyond shreddedness. Think about pushing it, where can you take it? Think about putting something crazy next to something that is less crazy, most successful when it’s crazy next to something more peaceful that I can rest my eyes.

TF: (sculpture) you didn’t feel impulse to put paper on top of this?

SD: Such an urgency about your ideas that you just have to get out ideas and move on. See that really intimidating way, (compare to Picasso show) try so many different ways of attacking the same subject. I think you have to keep nurturing the things that create these things, the feelings, and intuition

SL: doesn’t look like you undo and redo – you don’t stay with one thing and question it enough. How the metamorphosis of one thing can take you different places

JL: waiting for diagonal gesture that cuts across the whole process. Maybe the thing about this work is how much of it there is. I think it would be interesting to consider -- I’m sure you don’t like the idea that the most interesting part of the work is the quantity, but maybe recognizing something like that it might help the work to move forward. All of a sudden there is tons of work, and then the most noticeable part of the work is that there is tons of it – its all about finding some sort of act that can cut across the whole process, to redefine the field.

GC: Here we have a senior undergrad, in a way you can begin to see that there is a system, a belief in a certain sort of language, I think this is a pretty stunning development, changes that are made of it. Within liberal arts context, having the amount of time to make this much stuff is very impressive. I’d like to have it stated that this has been a tremendously important year in terms of opening up the systems of belief in your own structures of working. It is important to make sure you are challenging yourself so you aren’t repeating yourself. Language has opened up a world, this semester this world has been more embracing of different stimuli. How does anyone get into this language when they decide this is what they want to do? This doesn’t seem over productive. But there are things here that need to be picked up on about what they propose.

SD: If I was to think about what are the most important pieces, never seen a senior that has this much quantity to choose from. Take advantage of ability to dive in and give yourself a bunch of evidence – idea of choosing which are best, or is how they are arranged, do they need to exist as a single unit? Do they require a sense of quantity?

PK: I find it frustrating that I can’t figure out [looking at work on ground] if there is a “whole” or entirety. I find this one exciting (come closer) because it has an entirety? – if quantity isn’t something that is satisfying, then you need to figure out what it is about

SD: Working toward a style, resist idea of working things out to a completion. Robert Smithson “all clear ideas tend to be bad”

GC: I think you flirt with just about everything, and nothing is left out. Real journey from earlier pieces hard to imagine that last 10 x 8 would get itself out of painting that is leaning against that wall, but it did. I would rather that it be an evolution, pushing, I think you do respond well to what is visually there and present. It just looks like a lot but it isn’t a lot. Its not about quantity, but it is recognizable in this situation.

AG: What I recognize here is that you’ve allowed the structure of the drawing class to manifest itself in a way that you continue into the painting class. The one place that has shifted this dynamic is when you made (come closer). The only thing you need to do is move away from the beginning of the structure of the drawing class, build 10 of these (come closer) it will slow you down. You had a wonderful year, one that I could not have predicted. You have reinvented yourself with exuberance and incredible energy.

SL: Last summer you said you were interested in the idea of peeling walls, have you abandoned that? Is it inspiring, metaphoric of the kind of image that you want to make?

BU: I’m always looking at things that have elements of things I’m looking for. (pictures of branches, decay, textures and patterns that exist in the world) don’t want it to be that I’m illustrating these things.

TF: these (small, original cut paper studies) are really monumental to me, they are very different than the (9 panels). Never seen the rug look good until right here (white cut out piece)

GC: there is so much happening in this work that we aren’t recognizing, what is the possibility? What is the potential of a non representational shape? What can it carry? What can that world be? We see it in Islamic art. I don’t think it’s building toward object hood, I think it’s building toward the mystery of the layering, what gets locked into that kind of orientation. What gets subtracted and added? Are you really looking at what is below the clusters? Its very mysterious, How do those paintings feed themselves? The work is very delicate and very demanding in terms of looking.

JL: biomorphism is not form, it is anti-form. That can partially account for whether or not there is a lot or not of work. Biomorphism will endlessly proliferate itself, not a way of producing a sequence of forms. So in that way I think this is a lot of stuff, part of the reason that there is a lot of stuff is because you might be regarding these images as a sequence of forms when I’m not actually so sure that they are.

GC: total misreading. This comes out of shape not form. The shape begins to journey through a narrative by the way that is folded. Looking at Picasso’s folded steel sculptures. It isn’t about looking for form, it’s a shape narrative that becomes form.

Words, Installment 1: Basics

In addition to names of artists and, you know, drawings, I have tons of nouns, adjectives, verbs, swirling around in my sketchbook/ brain. I write them down to keep them in mind. Inspired by Richard Serra, I recently collected them all into list form, but posting a really long list to a blog is weird...there are very minimal formatting options, so they would essentially be in on long, skinny column. Not ideal. SO, I've decided to do installments a la The List, because small doses of my thoughts are far more palatable. Enjoy the first cluster:













Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Oh Hey, Things I Made!

So I haven't posted images of my work in a while. I'm gonna make up for that now...

I'll start from where we essentially left off...After making those 3D cutout drawings, I decided to try using panels. I made this one first:

Then I played around with the leftover snippets of paper from tearing the holes:

Then I started making some black, white and gray ones, which I ended up putting in the show. Here's a preliminary grouping:

Here are the 9 gray-scale panels installed for the show:

At the show:

And a closeup of the black one because it's my favorite:

Also in the show were a new piece I made that I titled Come Around. Here it is in the studio:

Some installation shots before the show:

And at the show:

And then of course there was the huge white drawing that I've been complaining about for months. I titled it Come Closer:

During the de-install, we laid it down on the floor, and I got a little camera crazy:

Whew! That's a relief.

Teaser: I've started a new piece, and I've been collecting shards of glass off the street. Stay tuned...