Ready for Thesis…

Ready for Thesis.

Ready for Thesis?

Both the same set of words, yet one obviously a statement and the latter a question.  Currently I am at the second and working towards the bold, strong, statement that is the first.

My show, Blue: A love affair is finally up and nearly ready to go.  The photographs are all pretty much set where they are with a few tweaks to be presented here and there.  I painted an entire wall blue, which wasn’t as daunting as one might think and it came out surprisingly a beautiful, solid, fresh navy blue.

The show will be up all this week, until Saturday with a closing reception happening at 6:30pm on Friday in Byers gallery.  If you’re around, come check it out and say hello.


 

Now it’s time to start really working into my thesis.  I’ve been planning to use appropriated imagery and reprinting them through alternative photo processes like salt printing or Van Dyke printing to create a new composition, so the work I recently completed for Blue, technically was very helpful in getting me ready to work in those processes.   Content wise I am still struggling as far as where exactly I will go.  I know I’d like to discuss my family and fabricated memories built through photographs, but just how I will do that is still up in the air.

I grew up in a great home in a wonderful region of the Pocono Mountains of North East Pennsylvania.  I spent a lot of time outdoors with my sister and brother, played sports, had a ton of friends, and great parents that supported me in academics, arts, and after school sports.  There are moments in my childhood, however, that things were not so picture perfect.  Moments that are lost and unrepresented in the photographs that fill the family albums in my parents home.  I wonder what role photography can play in exploring these lost memories and how they have effected me emotionally.  My relationship with my Dad has always been a rocky one.  Two strong Type A personalities with a ton of things to say just generally don’t get along super well and as I got older I got less and less patient with my father and more eager to argue back with him when the opportunity arose.  (Very typical teenager of me you’d say, but the arguing definitely stemmed from things that are rooted much deeper).  Despite this, my Dad is an amazing man.  A hard worker, who has sacrificed immensely for my family and in ways that I will never be able to repay him for, but in his efforts to provide he also became absent.  I’ve always been proud to say my dad is a fire fighter- a hero to me and my siblings and even to strangers, but the long shifts and far commute didn’t always make a ton of time for being at home with family.

As an artist and in general, I have never really taken the time to think about all of these dynamics that have been created within my family and the way they have effected me.  And as stated previously, I have never been one to make highly emotional or personal work, but grad school is all about change and challenging yourself right?  So here are some of the questions I am asking myself and ideas I am trying to work through as I navigate through my own personal narrative in efforts to create new work.


 

What does it mean for someone to be physically present in life but also absent emotionally?

How can I express my own perspective on my childhood without being insensitive to my family?

My dad being a fire fighter has always been something I am extremely proud of, but it also kept him away from getting to know me and my siblings better, how has that changed or challenged me growing up? How can that be brought forward in a visual and physical object?

How does having such a similar personality to my Dad effect me?  What does it mean to me to be so much like him?

What do I want to portray or say about my childhood?

What memories do I want to explore? How can I explore them without be exploitative?

 

….

 

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Blue: A love affair

I’ve never been the kind of artist that uses art as a means to express personal emotion.  For years I photographed the female form because I was interested in the aesthetic of the abstraction of the body and creating interesting compositions through a photographic lens, but since I have been in graduate school it seems the content of my work has gone from aesthetic, formal observations, to emotional, personal content.

For 2+ years I dated a man who I thought I might ultimately share a future life with.  We met in undergrad and developed a friendship, but there always seemed to be a little bit more there.  We were awkward and avoided the potential feelings we might have and instead spent time dating other people, until eventually in the Spring of 2014 we decided to give in and figure out what this weird thing was between us.  I always used to say I feel like I loved him since the day I met him, it just took me a while to come around to it, and I still believe that’s true.  I drunkly told him after a month of dating that I was falling in love with him- something I still am embarrassed about to this day.  Our time spent together in a small rural PA town while we both finished school was nothing short of amazing.  We both played rugby, we were both hard working students, christians; our relationship was what some would call picture perfect.

Unfortunately, however, as we got more serious, so did the potential for our future, or lack there of.  He was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, and come graduation he would have to make the decision as to whether he would find a job in the states and stay, pursue a masters here, or head home and study there instead.  The latter occurred and was something I feared for a very long time. In August of 2016 as I began my first year of graduate school here in Columbus, OH, he left and returned to South Africa without a set timeline or plan to return to the states. We did what we could, but ultimately our relationship ended in November.  Being an ocean away, with 6-7 hour time difference, and no real guarantee of when you may see each other next is as you can imagine, emotionally daunting.

Blue; a love affair is a body of work that is comprised of photographs I took in December of 2014 while I visited my boyfriend at the time and his family in South Africa.  The photographs are accompanied by a small book containing a written narrative that explains a personal association created between the color blue, South Africa, this man, and his family.  The photographs are printed as Cyanotypes to also reflect the content of the book and the color association.  The combination of written narrative and personal photographs aim to explore and explain memory and the pain or emotion that comes with a love once lost. unnamed

Tests tests tests

I almost burned my apartment down trying to burn holes in these test samples… Note to self, 1. Don’t burn paper inside. 2.  Don’t burn said paper when surrounded by a large pile of more paper in the event that it may catch fire in your hand and panic ensue.

*don’t worry everything is fine. 🙂

 

 

After a great studio visit with Julie Abijanac last week, I have decided to set a goal of making around 30 test samples for my critique next week.  A lofty goal it may be, but if I can get at least to 20 I will be happy.  Here are a few paper samples in the process of being made.  Each sample is laid out with different additions of color, design, or manipulation and then they are wet down and agitated to form one solid sheet.  These sheets are complete and I plan to sensitize them today in order to print some test photographs on them!  The goal of these tests is to see how the colors work together and then also how they affect the photography process- to see how certain images look on certain styles of manipulated mulberry paper and things like that!

As Ric Petty would say, my belt is buckled and I’ve just about hit the top of the roller coaster, slowly I am coming around the corner, just about to descend the big drop… Here goes nothing.

 

 

A recap of Spring 2017- better late than never

Phew… well it has been a while since I’ve posted.  Each time I have stopped into the studio I have reminded myself to get on here and post my end of semester work with an update and yet somehow it always manages to get tossed aside.  So, alas! All those that have been anxiously waiting, (no one), here it is!

 

 

I finished the semester with 4 finished pieces.  There are some questions remaining, things that could be further pushed and/or explored but overall I am happy with the result and was confident in what I had produced.  Just a month or so before the end of the semester I was having a total mental breakdown thinking I would have nothing to produce, so although 4 pieces may not seem like much- they felt like quite an accomplishment to me.   Below are images of the works before they were installed in the Beeler Lobby for the 2017 CHROMA exhibit.  If you live locally in Columbus I encourage you to stop by and check them out.  I won’t say much as I could really write forever about the struggles that I had throughout this semester and the resulting works, but instead I will leave you with my artist statement a brief description of the process and materials along with photos of the works allowing them all to work together and speak for each other.

Materials/Process:

A series of 4 crocheted photographs printed on silk and cotton fabrics, cut up and created into a yarn like structure, then finger crocheted.

Statement:

Over the past year I have watched my twin sister transition from college graduate to full time teacher, fiancé, and mom to two pets. She shares a home with her partner and they plan to be married in October of this coming year. Within this home structure she fulfills a very typical housewife role completing all the traditional domestic chores while her future husband tends to the “outside work.” I have observed her frustrations and stresses as she struggles to fulfill the role of “housewife” on top of her daily regime and very much have been frustrated by these expectations that have been set for her.

Using a camera to document this personal history as well as a collective of couples around the Midwest these photographs depict domestic interiors cut up, crocheted, and restructured creating a new image entirely. The crocheting process serves as a means to bring power to women’s craftwork while reconstructing and reconfiguring the domestic space offering redefinition of roles, ideas, and expectations within that setting.

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Crochet images 

After a stressful day and a brief mental breakdown, I took the afternoon to reclaim some of my fabric image scraps from last semester. I cut them down into about 1/2″ or 1/4″ strips and connected them to create a length of “yarn.”  I then hand crocheted the images together. 
Recently I have been exploring a lot with materials and process. I’ve hit a pretty hard wall it feels and for a while felt like I lost a large creative drive because I was stressing myself so much about content. I’ve been doing my best to put that all aside and just make for the sake of making- go back to just allowing myself to be a creative thinker and artist the way I know how to. 

So here’s some images of my experiment from the evening- not quite finished and it’s definitely something I’d like to continue to develop. 

Cats and Collages 

I am officially a crazy cat lady. Finally we’re back in Columbus after a wedding weekend and some time spent at home to see family. I’m still in an odd place with my work. Not knowing what to make or how to bring it all together. Nonetheless I am trying my best to create something and I am starting with collage. 

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