The past few weeks have been one of transition. While gaining bunkbeds and a roomie (co-painter Emily) to go with them, packing up half my belongings to move them up north for summer time, and juggling the chaotic lifestyle of three part time jobs, Emily and I have been working on transforming our garage into a studio space. The biggest challenge being the weather. While painting in the cold won't stop us, it will very much effect our paints and canvases. Everyday I wake up hoping its warmer than 40 degrees just so I can bundle up and get a move on. With the weekend looking warmer I'm hoping to get started on my first painting post grad! And hopefully taking some better photos of my thesis work to replace the glare filled ones on my website.
Artist Statement: "Gas Lit"
Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse that instills an extreme sense of anxiety and confusion that causes a person to question and distrust their own feelings, desires, and memories. Through a series of lies and manipulations, an abuser can create an alternate reality in which their victim is at fault for their own mistreatment and subsequent “over” reactions. The victim’s mental stability, emotional stability, self-confidence, and self-esteem are degraded to the point that they can no longer function independently. They become depressed and isolated forcing them to rely on their abuser for their identity, reality, and purpose. Within a co-dependent relationship, an abuser dismantles once admired traits to achieve a sense of superiority and create self-satisfying opportunities at the “gas lit” individual’s expense. The victim is left as a crippled, hollow shadow of the person they once were.
Escape is a challenging feat inside a co-dependent and toxic relationship. How does a person identify their source of pain as the person they deeply love, trust, and rely on? What means will it take to eradicate the bond between abuser and victim? When they do escape, how does a person begin to cope with the trauma from years of psychological abuse? How do they begin to understand what has happened and learn to forgive themselves for not escaping sooner?
This body of work is my personal experience answering these questions. It is the reconstruction of memories and emotions meant to explore the conflict between the need to escape unrelenting pain and the unforgiving dependency on its source. I’ve created a dream like reality that allows for the exploration of interwoven painful experiences and cherished memories. My work is heavily influenced by my own life, but more specifically by conflicting themes repetitive throughout my experiences: safety in danger, love in neglect, knowledge in deceit, fear in hope, and hope in endings.
Thesis installation is 16 days away! This semester has been crazy with the amount of work I have been doing. My goal is to have seven paintings in the show, and of course they are all on huge canvases. My blog hasn't been updated in awhile but its sacrificed its regularity for the good of the thesis semester. I've also been building the floating frames that will hold each of the seven paintings and it is no easy task. While my box joints are getting better with each frame, there is still a lot to learn in terms of speed and accuracy!
Worked on this piece all day today. It's an interesting challenge because I need to paint the background first before I can start to do the chain-link fencing and then work the two into each other. Takes a little bit of vision to figure out what I need in the background to make it the backdrop. Anyway, this piece is 40x46 which is fairly small for me so i'm having fun with small brushes in this one!
Here's a little time-lapse gallery of todays work, sketch to canvas!
Worked on putting the van into a space by figuring out its shadow placement and its relativity to the tree. Messed around with value in the back to give it a forest vibe but I think I really need some trees that are bigger and closer like the one its running into... foods for thought I guess. Also thinking about putting a hint of a chainlink fence in the background. That way I can connect the painting to the next one I'm starting to brainstorm about below.
The idea here is to have a close up deeper in the forest and have a chainlink fence with some type of sign on it... maybe have the figure pushing through a tear... maybe climbing over it? I'm not sure. Time to thumbnail sketch I guess!
Also thinking about another piece that has something to do with ducks.... and another with trains.... The ducks because I love the phrase "get your ducks in a row" and trains because A. they're awesome and B. a train can tell you so much about the graffiti on it or where its going... is it moving or old. Just some interesting ideas to think about and see at the end if they fit into a bigger picture!
Also-Look at this ridiculously large brush! It makes my life a BILLION times easier when laying in ideas:O
Been back in the studio for a week now but finally got around to publishing some of my recent adventures. I built a frame for the first non-commisioned painting I sold which was both a learning experience and had an above average result (I had some woodworkers back me up on this point). Other than that I got my brothers graduation portrait done and was able to stretch and gesso three canvases to start on my next big piece! That triptych van is 12ft long and 6ft tall! Wooooo its been amazing to get back into the thick of it!
Composition was talked about a lot during both critiques. With Catherine we talked about how her smaller collages had images that worked together to form a sort of portrait which made everything cohesive when you look at it. With her larger works this cohesiveness in the images was lost on a lot of people and it became more about the texture of her work as another distressed surface. Dorothy's paintings on the other hand are very cropped in on a specific image. Some commented that her work needed to be larger and expand on the space outside of her paintings. Others disagreed and said the cropping added to her context of the work being of memories, where you can only see part of what happened. It got me thinking more about my work and how I choose to frame my figures and where I let objects overlap each other.
Tevin Garcia, Claudia Brooks, Evan Anderson, Jessica Leuther
Today's class critiques were sponsored by Coffee! the magical bean water.
While I did want to go take a nap, I'm glad I was able to stay awake and see where these artists are at knowing where they started. What I took away from today was a lot to do with paint application and how it can contribute to the overall feeling of the artwork. It can be with the hand used to gesture or draw into a painting as well as the paint itself as a material. Looking at my own work and trying to apply today to it I might start freeing up my hand in some places while allowing the paint to do what it wants and see if some experimentation in application can give me a vibe in my painting I might not have found otherwise.
Trying to get a better sense of depth and lighting in my works... also using these two pieces to test out going in with a plan vs letting the painting go where it wants to. Side note, working on panel is very strange. Im not sure if I'm a fan of it or not but I'm also still learning how to manipulate the paint in interesting ways so I will have to see where it goes from here.
Painting on panel for the first time in acrylics. It's a very smooth surface that doesn't soak up the water like canvas does....which makes painting different. I'm applying the paint ontop of the surface instead of pushing it in. Plus if the acrylic paint is watered down it tends to resist the surface altogether. Odd way to start a painting but I'm looking forward to the challenge!
Jen has amazing painting skills and I love looking at this painting of hers in particular. She's able to pick and choose where she wants to get super specific about what she is painting, for instance the baby dolls, and they look exactly like an actual doll you could hold. Then she does a 180 and has super graphic elements like her pixelated clouds or the flat more abstracted shapes that completely contrast her modeled portions. My favorite skill that I admire the most is her trompe-l'œil. The paper dino and the duck taped cloud blow my mind because even up close they look like paper that I could touch! What I got most from her critique is the importance of having a cohesive idea or style that brings a body of work together. While I can understand that all her work is about going against our first impression of something (i.e. gender/material/image/2Dness/ 3Dness), all her paintings are so different and the ideas are so far apart from each other that without an explanation it can be difficult to see how the works relate to one another. IK's work on the other hand was very cohesive. All the paintings are tied together both in subject and concept. What interested me more was his approach to a painting. He used photographs much in the same way I do, we use them as information to start a painting but we don't copy it detail for detail. He talked about how the photograph was first important for the composition of the piece and then the bare bones would be used to start the painting. I think its similar to the way I start a painting with a highly detailed sketch that I then project up onto the canvas.
Some of the sketches and under painting work i've collected in my studio this week! I'm trying to think more about the surreal spaces I want to put my figure in and how to keep it connected in a narrative form.... also bought a lot of new acrylic paints to start working with. I'm also excited to be working on my first panel piece (the triptych)!
This series has been slow in development over the past two semesters and the direction that I have wanted to take it has not been clear. Lucky for me though, each painting I make for this series gets me closer and closer to understanding what I am getting at with my art. I want to tell a story that starts based in reality and slowly gets more and more surreal as this character faces her deepest insecurities and demons.
Whenever I see my own work in a show I somehow feel full of pride while simultaneously wanting to avoid the spot light as much as possible. This feeling really hasn't evolved much throughout my journey as a BFA but what has changed is my ability to talk about my work when I am asked about it. Each painting I create helps me to solidify what I'm trying to get at in my work which makes it a lot easier to talk about my work without prepping a two paragraph statement printed out for people to reference.
Not only seeing my own work in the gallery, but also all the work of my peers around it is also an amazing feeling. Being so deeply immersed in the art world is a blessing. We're all able to talk about our work in how it relates not only to us personally but also in a big-picture sense. We're able to share techniques and ideas with each other. What I think is the coolest part is that I get to see my peers grow and develop as artists and I get the privilege of knowing them before they "become somebody" in the art world.
Another critique, another Tuesday, another slice of Little Caesars pizza.
Julio's work stuns me with his attention to detail and his obsession with mimicking life with paint. As pointed out by the professors, all his work act like portraits. Even in piles of junk he picks an object of focus and makes it into a character that we can draw conclusions about. It makes me think about how I try and draw focus to odd things in my own work. The little things I pick and choose to put great detail and time into versus the areas that have little thought or effort in them.
Ben's work on the other hand left me breathless. His work this semester blew me away and captured my attention fully. His figures are more generalized in the way of what one would think a figure to be. They display motion, feeling, and a sense of space without adhering to the rules of anatomy. This is something I stumbled on in my work last semester and have been trying to understand better moving into new pieces. Instead of accidentally creating my unique figures, I need to find a way to create my own understanding of how the figures should look and feel in their space.
"How does it feel to have your own show?" The answer is stressful and unbelievably rewarding. The logistics of getting in the proposal, collecting peoples work, setting up the show, coordinating with what feels like a billion people, publicizing, putting on the show, and tear down is exhausting. But every late night and each cup of coffee that went into Tevin sleeps was worth it. Maybe I would have different thoughts on this if the show was unsuccessful, but thats not what happened here (thank goodness). I constantly had new people coming through the gallery doors asking me and congratulating me on the show. It was exhilarating watching and interacting with my audience and seeing how they interacted with my show. I can't wait till I can send in my next proposal for a show at the Fuller!
The MFA artwork always blows me away with their creativity and uniqueness. Not one piece of art in there looked anything like the other. Pieces that I can still recall to memory were Su A Chae's corner where her paintings not only hung on the wall, but also in free space where they could be interacted with. Her use of fabric gave her paintings a unique sense of texture and physical tension between colors as opposed to visual tension. Another's work was Dan Woerner's who montaged footage of people falling into an endless loop. Not only was it seamlessly stringed together, it was humorous. As a viewer I stood there waiting for the person to hit the floor but instead I was treated to a new person falling through a new surface.