I feel as though I am taking a lot from this semester as a whole, but this class has perked my interest to explore materials and processes. I know I am going to continue explorations I have made for this class throughout the summer. I really enjoy the abstraction of feelings & thought that resulted in my work. Focusing on the output as visual feed to evoke the nostalgic ambiguousness of memory and the pure experience that it is trying to reconstruct.
My journey through this class has been interesting and I feel as if I have found the start of a stylistic approach to artwork, in particular drawing and watercoloring.
This first piece was the ‘pick three’ assignment. I had drawn the words ‘one is not like the other’, opposing and a material selection of wax. I had explored the theme of the inner conflict I have between romantic and realist perceptions.
< This was my first drawing assignment, being a transfer from painting, I had a late start but the name of the game was to pick at random, three pieces of paper. I chose: opposing and ‘one of these things is not like the other’ with my required material being wax.
I initially began thinking if I had dealt with either of these concepts in the past. My most recent work done in serigraphy was the exploration of love and the tribulations that follow. Namely comparing the birth of a new love and the chemical blindness that is subjected and the wearing away of the newness, to reveal the realities of being with another human being. With this one the back burner I began to dissect the duality suggested in my latest post regarding romanticism vs realism. I arrived at the idea of:
The excitement of the future meeting the realities of the present & the excitement of the present meeting the realities of the future.
This idea is encapsulated by the my idealist views of the future, such as a dreamed up life and all the fantastic adventures and possible experiences I could have meeting realities of the present such as money and the lack thereof and my loyalty to my parents and loved ones. But then I also have darker views of the future that are related to my deep seated fears of a nation gone corrupt and the possibilities of a disintegrating importance to individual freedoms and liberties. Which by contrast, make me view the present as something to cherish because I am unsure of how long it will last.
I thought of the lack of control I have and how I find it almost suffocating and very fearful. I thought of the visualization of red laser beams obstructing and intersecting with my dreams. I thought the dreamcatcher to be appropriate for this depiction. I incorporated the wax by painting the dreamcatcher and sandwiching blue oil paint to best represent thepreserving my ‘dreams and values’ but the wax provided a very messy look which I thought complemented the idea of urgency of preservation and protection.
I chose plexiglass as the canvas and had the idea of photographing the drawing > in different environments that are sentimental to me or best visualize my romantic side versus my realist side. I thought this would bring an element to the drawing that was versatile and interesting.
Critique went well. I did find my peers feedback quite useful. Many stating that the dreamcatcher visual is too heavy and the conceptual reference to native american art getting in the way of my concept. There were ideas thrown around about just focusing on a circle referring to a dreamcatcher and ditching the feathers and hanging elements. I really enjoyed this idea and have thought of better ways to visualize this concept.
After some time I revisited this project and decided to keep the same concept but visualize it differently. I instead found a similar rectangle piece of glass but scaled down to a bit larger then a piece of copy paper. I then piled loose wax beads in a small circle and heated it up so it would melt. It created an organic yet exacted circle, cut with a circle cutter for the crisp edges.
I had a hard time taking pictures, but I am planning on making a thin wood frame for it to keep in the window. Because its shadow is just as large of a drawing as the tangible work itself. I did this in conjunction with the theme of my last few pieces.
< I took a picture of it trying to capture the shadow and got this interesting photo from the struggle. I thought the shadows, colors and interesting triangular shape with crisp lines and circles was beautiful.
The next assignment was the artistic influences paper. This was a reflection on what influences us to be the artists we are and why we create the way we do. Prior to this, we had taken Myers Briggs personality tests to better understand ourselves and how we work in this complex world. It punctuated a lot of thoughts I had towards myself and that affirmation was appreciated while I began to identify myself as an artist. I chose Spencer Finch, Andrew Wyeth and Mark Weaver.
With research and thought revolving particular artists, we were asked to emulate one of them. I chose Spencer Finch. I chose him because of his unique approach to artwork, trying to capture fleeting moments and forgotten experiences. He communicates mostly though color and light. Known to reconstruct sunsets and sunrises and observe the repeated patterns of colors and shaps but observing them close enough to make them distinct. He is very conceptual and lofty, which is what I enjoy most. Therefore I emulated his concept style and the general light and airy aesthetic.
The concept was focused on memory and the perception of such memories over time. The ambiguous nostalgia. Constantly our senses are triggering memories through sight, sound, scent, touch and subconscious experience. For me, memories that recall feelings and experiences are powerful and wondrous.
I wanted to watercolor because of connection I have it to my experience in New Zealand. I did a lot of watercoloring there and its nostalgia I feel is translated beautifully in the recollection of memory, its organic and uncontrolled forms and the settling of pigment more heavily around the edges of the water marks.
I reflected the experience of remembering within the process as well, making a water color and then leaving it in the rain to wash away and leave a stain. I repeated this process until there were layers upon layers of the same translation of memory. None are the same, some accounts vague and others specific.
I chose having the two separate piece of water color floating off the wall and sharing an interior frayed edge, to reflect the similarities between different experiences and how though separate accounts are sometimes not distinct.
I had a solid concept and multiple ways of execution. I had thought of many other ideas for these water color squares each representing the recollection of memories. I had thought of a grid pattern, a quilt of square hung from the ceiling and the introduction of other materials such as graphite, thread and vellum.
I am very happy with this idea and am excited to explore the concept further with the introduction of other materials and processes. This summer I plan on making a collection under this idea.
We then had free reign on the last two drawings. I wanted to continue with the same idea but try different approaches while sticking with watercolor as a medium. I actually just went ahead and did three since my process was simpler and gave me the opportunity to try more things.
This was another exploration of small squares with washed out watercolors. I employed the use of folds and crinkles to alter how the watercolor settled on the rough terrain. I wanted to capture a variety of different experiences translated in this form.
The colors and alterations were inspired by the transformation I could observe in retrospect and the different situations and emotions that I had felt at 4 different points when in New Zealand.
I think it would be interesting to desaturate and only view the textures and tonal differences. I do like the color but I think it complicates the piece with multiple hot zones and is hard to swallow as a whole.
I then wanted to try a capture a moment I remember and at the time recalled as ‘serenity’. It was on a walk at Hoffman Hills and we were walking on the path through a slightly wooded area and ahead was a denser grown part of the woods with the sunlight shining though the cracks and glimmered on all the leaves as they moved in the breeze. It was beautiful and I wanted to interpret that moment.
I watercolored an abstracted memory of that specific moment and then cut out those glimses of sunlight so it could be backlit.
I wanted to creates a layer effect with cut out planes of trees and plant life and I think would have been more successful at creating the depth it took to reach the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. I think I want to try that this summer. Possibly use found nature from the woods on that same path and maybe introduce translucent materials to better diffuse the light.
This last piece was about growing older and I wanted to introduce a repeated line in an organic but crisp manner, so I decided to make a drawing of the cross section rings of a tree trunk. This concept is synonymous with growth and development and as I approach the close of my college career, I feel that college has helped shape me be the person I am. There were great moments and not so great and I thought this drawing really spoke of that idea.
As a reflect, the biggest thing I am taking away is a heighten enthusiasm for making artwork. I am excited to have time to do more elaborate works without the stress and time pressures that come with being in my major. I find making art to be completely fulfilling and stress relieving. I hope to keep posting work if you want to keep up with the progression of this concept.