Keep grinding

Welp, my final critique with a small group of faculty is a short 10 days away.  I am anxious as I have a lot of work to do, but also keen to get the critique finished so that I can then focus on really preparing my work for final install for CHROMA.

I am currently TAing a photography course, Material Studies, and we were just recently introduced to a very interesting alternative photo process called Mordant printing.  Essentially a photo sensitive liquid is made from a mixture of Potassium Dichromate and water.  The liquid is applied to fabric, dried, and then a large negative is sandwiched between the fabric and a piece of glass and exposed to UV light.  This produces the image directly on fabric.  The image is then rinsed and the final process involves hand dying fabric using natural dyes- synthetic dyes do not work for this process.

Since I have been using the textiles printer a lot to print images directly on fabric- this method provides an alternative avenue and also incorporates an interesting piece of domestic work that I think could be a very interesting process piece for my work.  Let me explain…

 

Lately I have been using my images from the textile printer and finger crocheting them into large crocheted photographs.  The images themselves aren’t totally recognizable, however, I am interested in the idea of breaking down the domestic space through ripping and cutting of the image, and then reconstructing it through the crochet process. This is fairly simple but makes slight reference to a domesticated craft or work process through crochet that I find relevant.  With the Mordant printing I can take it even a step further.  By printing images on fabric through this alternative process there is hand washing of the fabric involved- similar to when I use the textile printer, but then the last step- hand dyeing- is where I believe my process can really also speak to the content of the work.  In order to use a natural dye, I can buy them online, OR I can take actual existing objects and “cook” them in order to prepare the natural dye.  For example, onions skins are great for fabric dyeing, avocado pits, flowers, carrot tops, leaves, insects, roots, etc.  In order to create the dye the aforementioned objects need to be heated to a certain temperature and “cooked,” in which then the liquid produced will be used as a dye bath.  The idea of having to complete the domestic task of “cooking” in order to produce the work creates a compelling layer in relation to my interests of woman’s work and domesticity.

I have some concrete ideas that I am going to pursue this week and really hit the ground running.  I almost feel hesitant to make something that I want to without having run the idea by someone yet- which is odd, because as an artist I have always made things on my own but I think a little part of grad school has embellished some sort of need for approval into my thinking- but not today!  (And no one at CCAD has ever said to me that I need their approval to make something, to be clear).  I am excited to really grind things out and get the week going!

Stay Tuned!

Better Late than Never…

I have been meaning to post on here with updates about my work for the past week and a half but unfortunately keep putting it on the back burner- but better late than never they always say right?

I had my first critique on January 25th, the second week of school.  I was eager to be critiqued so early in the semester so that I could hear feedback from my peers and hopefully be able to figure out what type of images I wanted to make and the materials I was going to use.  As I said in a former post, I wanted to continue with silks but I was really struggling with making the imagery on the silks meaningful and was hoping my peers could provide some helpful advice in regards to that issue specifically.

For my critique I printed a 6ft. by 10ft. image on silk hung on dowel rod with free range to move and be observed.  The image was of a living room interior- still what I would say, a flat, boring image.  Thankfully my peers agreed and came to the conclusion that I was trying to be “too nice” in my image making.  My frustrations about the underlying expectations for women to work in the home are extremely apparent when I speak about it, so I needed to start to make the same sentiment in my artwork.

Looking back at some artists like Martha Rosler and Sandra Ogel, who had done performance/video pieces discussing this topic in a similar vain, my wheels really began turning. I started to think about some major chores or duties that women are expected to do within a home and broke them down to folding laundry, ironing, dishes, and vacuuming.  Beginning with the laundry elements of folding and ironing I thought about making a work inspired by Martha Rosler’s Semiotics of the Kitchen. I have never done video work before so this is my first attempt, but so far, I am very excited about the possibilities it holds.  I don’t want to get away from the silks completely, because I really enjoy the metaphor created between the transparency of the silk as a material and the transparency of invisibility of women’s work.  I am working to figure out how to combine the silk printing with the video, possibly with projection or installed hangings with video projections coinciding with the fabric pieces.

My next critique is on the 22nd- just about a week away.  I am looking forward to having a video completed as well as silk prints to have a nearly full installation. ‘Til soon!

_dsc6961

The cost of being a woman

As a photographer I am interested in the domestic space and the roles that both men and women play within that space, specifically one that is shared. There is a variety of statistical analysis and studies that have been reported by sociologists as well as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that state, even in 2015, although strides have been made, women are still doing more housework than men. Arlie Russell Hochschild describes housework and caring for children as a kind of “second shift” that a woman must work after being at a regular full time job all day. I am largely interested in creating photographic work revolving around this underlying expectation created for women while also incorporating craftwork aesthetically within the photographs. My work currently is a documentation and exploration of the domestic space itself as a means to research current men and women in their domestic spaces leading eventually to a more concise and specific narrative regarding what many would deem as “women’s work.”

An artist of many ideas and therefore, many sketchbooks

I have always been a writer, whether its journaling, short poems, or even research papers; writing has always been something I enjoyed.  My sketchbooks are consumed by it.  My freshman year of college was probably the last time that I bought an actual college ruled notebook to write in and so sketchbooks have always been my resource for not only sketching, but for copious note taking as well.

My sketchbooks are my outlet to be able to work out my ideas and concepts both with words and visual representation.  I can make quick lucid sketches that coincide with the words next to it right on the same page.  Overtime I have acquired a number of sketchbooks, all serving a variety of purpose.  (see below image)  My most current sketchbook is used for primary note taking, self reflective questions, and the investigating of ideas.  It’s filled with quick scribbled notes, post its stacked on top of words below them, and ideas I hope to eventually all explore.  My studio operates in a very similar way.  My main table has post its all over with ideas, artists, or concepts to think about and the walls also have reflective questions to refer to while I make my work.

Most women have guilty pleasure in buying too many shoes, purses, clothes, etc.  Although I am guilty of a few of those myself, I must say buying sketchbooks is right at the top of that list as well.

*The open spreads of mainly notes are showing pages from my most recent sketchbook.  I point them out specifically to show my process of working through concepts and asking myself questions, as well as quotes from art videos I find particularly inspiring or motivational.

A trip to Cincinnati

“We get caught up in other people’s worlds, and you never ask yourself how you became.” -Zanele Muholi

img_0755

This past Saturday I was given the opportunity to attend a variety of lectures held at the 21c Museum Hotel in Cincinnati as part of the programming for the Fotofocus 2016 Biennial.  There were a number of photographers and curators speaking specifically about their own works and their practices as artists.  This photograph is a work by Nan Goldin– a photographer I have long admired for her raw yet beautiful imagery- and it was one of the first things I saw while walking around 21C.  What an amazing opportunity to see such incredible work.  I was also able to see some wonderful photographs by George Legrady that in a way came to life right before my eyes.  Legrady takes images and overlays them with “generative video animation.”  In simpler terms, it looks like a holograph as the image overlays and changes when you walk by it.  Something I felt was, in a way, similar to my newest interest in the exploration of imagery and Augmented Reality!  Talk about being inspired.

In regards to the lectures, I specifically enjoyed hearing from Jackie Nickerson and Susan Meiselas about their experiences as documentary photographers.  They both explain their practice and work as a “response to what [they’re] seeing, and as a means to “understand a place or people.”  I was extremely happy to hear that Susan’s newest book edition of her Nicaraguan photo series has an Augmented Reality component!  I was keen to speak to her- even if just for 5 minutes- about her experience with AR and learn more about how she incorporated it into her photography practice. I summoned up enough courage to catch her just before she got on the elevator and was able to get her card!

Before heading over to the Underground Railroad Freedom Center for the opening of Jackie Nickerson, Zanele Muholi, and Robin Rhode’s works,  Julian Cox, curator of Photography for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and Sheila Pree Bright, a photographer based in Atlanta, held a conversation about “American Civil Rights, Then and Now.”  Shiela’s latest work, 1960Now, is composed of a series of images documenting the people and happenings with the current Black Lives Matter movement.  Her work is moving, inspiring, and a true document of the divide and sadness that has began to harbor our nation.  Julian Cox spoke more about the history of the Civil Rights movement and the role photography played in the documenting of that time.  Both provided a very real perspective that was combined, nothing short of powerful.

The opening at The Underground Railroad Freedom Center was also another great experience.  Zane Muholi’s portraits of the LGBTQ community in South Africa, as well as her own personal self portraits were extremely striking.  I found myself looking at these people and feeling as if they were truly looking right back at me- and nearly looking into my soul- as ridiculous as that may sound.  One image in particular really struck me.  The subject of the image had beautiful, light colored eyes, that were just impossible to escape.  (below image is not the exact one from the gallery, however it is of the same model/subject).  Within each photo there was a realness and a power to the way in which the model was standing.  As if they were to say, this is who I am, and I will change for no one.  They had a great beauty to them.image2821a

Robin Rhode‘s work was one I had a harder time understanding/connecting with.  For the exhibition, he had 3 videos play for a total of approximately 10minutes.  I particularly found one video interesting (still shown below), because I felt there was the most narrative within this short film.  His work aims to discuss and “express the struggle for equality and dignity with poignancy, humor, and poeticism.”  I would be interested to see more of his work and spend some more time with it.26367

 

 

The photographs that follow are images I took of other works that I found inspiring for their beauty,craft, technicalities, concept, etc.  I was only able to view a small portion of the work that is on display as part of the Fotofocus Biennial (and also some works that are not) but I can only imagine what the rest of the galleries in Cincinnati hold.

I made it.

IMG_0692.JPG

A quilt from 2014+3 test fabric prints+3 vintage inspired, hand sewn aprons with images printed and transferred+3 dish towels with transferred images+an old kitchen table with various books placed as reference (books not pictured)= I made it through my first critique.

I felt prepared, but also nervous and unsure of what to expect.  The past two weeks I have seen and participated in critiques, but the success of the critique really depended on the artist and what they had to offer, so truly each one is a sort of “surprise.”  Overall, I got what I would say was some great feedback from my peers.  Praises, criticisms, suggestions, but most importantly, encouragement to keep pushing and to do even more; to take the subtlies of life and use them in my artwork, to use personal experiences as a means to impact my work, and to not get caught in the echo chamber that is feminist art and domestic conversation.

I am excited to continue to move forward- to research some more installation/creative space artists and to continue to explore these ideas and different ways of using imagery.

 

Cheers to the next 11 or so weeks!