Monday, November 19, 2012

Discussion 5: Photography

In week 5 we looked at photographers such as Jeff Wall and Gregory Crewdson. Both photographs get a lot of their sensibilities from the movies and the way they are shot. Jeff Wall sets up his digital montage pictures in a planned way rather than capturing a spontaneous moment. His picture A Sudden Gust of Wind is a digital montage and contemporary update of a classic Japanese woodblock print by Katsushia Hokusai.

Here is the Japanese print

Gregory Crewdson creates photographs that are planned down to painstaking detail. Often he uses dramatic light as an element that give his pictures a dramatic feel. His pictures even feel like they are part of a narrative and have been captured in the middle of the most interesting part.

I mostly use photography these days in order to capture any sort of reference for a later project that requires painting or drawing. I also take a lot of pictures of my cat. I did take a digital photography class at FAU, which you can see examples of in below posts on this blog. Usually my reference photos often involve trees or some sort of natural setting. That stuff is difficult to draw without a reference sometimes.


Discussion 4: Sculpture and New Materials

In discussion 4 we looked at various artists such as Petah Coyne, Tara Donovan, and Tim Hawkinson. Petah Coyne creates environments using her 3 dimensional semi-organic forms. In one of her installations, what look like various chandeliers covered in wax hang just above the floor. The wax looks to be preserving the decaying looking chandeliers. Below is an example.

Tara Donovan also seems to create environments with her installation pieces. However she uses found materials such as styrofoam cups, straws, paper plates, and tape to create large biomorphic forms that occupy a determined space. Using styrofoam cups in one of her pieces, the result almost resembles fat cells under a microscope. See below.

Tim Hawkinson creates installations that work almost like a gigantic rube-goldberg machine and operate using mechanics and often use the element of sound. Hawkinson's Uberorgan is a stadium-sized bagpipe that plays for five minutes every hour on the hour. Hawkinson created the Uberorgan using bits of electronics and inflated plastic sheeting. Click here to see a video of it.

I haven't dabbled in 3d material much outside of my 3d Design class I took at FAU. I found that I had the most fun when I worked with found objects and tried to piece them together as I saw fit. An example of this would be when I decided to take apart an old television I found in our garage to see what would happen. I ended up going down to my dad's shop to use some of his tools in order to bend PVC pipe to stick inside of the now empty television shell. Here it is being modeled by my cat.

I'd eventually like to create another one of these where the pipes actually suspend the television shell off of the ground. Or perhaps one that goes from television to television shell in an elaborate path. Either way, I'd really like to revisit this at some point. I just need to get access to one of those hot boxes that let you bend PVC.

Recently I helped my brother create a sewing table for his girlfriend's birthday. It too both of our brainstorming and finding some reference material in how to easily put together something that would still be stable and serve its purpose. In the end after cutting and sanding, and much gluing, we had a perfectly functional table that would work for cutting fabric on.

We had some trouble when piecing together the legs, but in the end they came together nicely. We used a dowel rod about an inch long to secure the legs into place. Also wood glue. See below.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Discussion 3: Body and Soul

In week three we had a discussion entitled Body and Soul. The artists in this discussion dealt with issues of the body such as beauty, race, consumption, identity, and childhood. Of the artists in the discussion the two who really interested me were Yi Chen, and Jenny Saville.

Yi Chen dealt with the themes of identity and race in his portait paintings. To create his paintings, she first collages a composition from international fashion magazines (especially from China) into an amalgam of features. She then paints these collaged compositions onto a canvas as if it were a portrait, and this collaged monstrosity were sitting in front of him. Here is an example of Yi Chen's artwork.

Jenny Saville is a painter that essentially paints flesh as her subject. She deals with the theme of beauty in kind of a hamfisted way by using subjects that aren't traditionally beautiful. However, her execution is pretty much perfect. She is able to achieve life-like paintings of these subjects to the point of making the viewer uncomfortable to look at them.

I personally find myself drawing a lot of faces in my sketchbook. Sometimes I do self-portraits to pass the time, but other times I am just drawing from my head. Sometimes the faces come out looking a bit bizarre for whatever reason, sometimes they come out looking like my (which probably stems from the self-portraits) but either way I suppose it is my way of dealing with identity. I don't really think I could go much deeper than that because to me, they are simply drawings and doodles in my sketchbook that I can't particularly articulate a reason for. Here is an example of a self-portrait. This one is on the inside of the front cover in case I lose my sketchbook and someone is kind enough to return it. It also contains my contact info and such.

Some face I drew in class when I should have been taking notes.

A couple faces and stuff I drew when I was at a bar with some friends.

I also tend to draw eyes and noses a lot.


Discussion 2: Drawing and Painting

I am a bit late in posting this, but I think as long as I get it all posted it will be alright. Anyway, in week 2 of my Survey of Studio Art Practices class we did an online discussion about Drawing and Painting. We looked at a number of artists including Henry Darger, Shazia Sikander, and Laurie Lipton. Henry Darger interested me the most. He was a man who lived in the early to mid 20th century and was considered odd and a recluse. It's possible that he would have been diagnosed with autism or asperger's in this day and age. He worked odd jobs and as a janitor most of his life, and in the off hours, spent his time putting together an epic story (which included both words and illustrations) entitled In the Realms of the Unreal. His story followed the adventures of his heroines named the Vivian Girls against evil. He created his illustrations mostly on butchers paper (as it was cheap) and traced magazines to create his collage-like compositions. His use of color is perhaps what tied all of his work together. Overall his work had a childish and naive feel to it, almost looking like it could have come out of a coloring book.

Anyway, I really love drawing. It is something that you can do anywhere and at anytime. It has a portability to it that other art practices don't seem to have. I personally draw for many reasons. A lot of them boil down to passing the time whether in class, work, or at home. A lot of times my drawings end up reflecting that particular moment in time in some way. For instance, look at this Batman I drew in my Survey I class. What started out as a normal mindless Batman doodle that I have done so many times took on an attitude that normally would be out of character for him. I don't know why I like this doodle, but every time I look at it, it makes me want to laugh.