Posts Tagged ‘abstract

30
Jan
12

Of Mozart and Light

Ok.  New work.  Let’s talk.

This is the branched off version of my Edge of Vision series that I started sometime last year (I think!).  Still making these, and I’m awful at titles, even when I’ve finished a project, so for right now, I’m referring to the new work as Mozartova Light, because it is literally about this light in my flat on Mozartova (a street that once had the honor of having Mozart reside there!).  Anyway, here is one of my new favorites, in terms of the images:

I like that they are confused, in that the overlap of light and shade make understanding the exact space not straight forward.  They don’t let you sink into them.  Yet I’m drawn to these glowing things.  Who knows.

Now, let’s talk big picture, because this has been one of the things I really wanted to work on while here in Prague.  Photography is like breathing to me.  I’ve been doing it for 15 years seriously now, and I just “get it” as a medium – translating light into a two-dimensional images, how that transformation relates to space and time and sense of being.  Moving on – sound and any other medium, not so second-nature.  I love working with sound, listening to things and I think that eventually, working with sound will come more easily.  But right now, I have these sounds, these ideas of how sound will occupy and interact with a person, and sometimes it gets stuck.  I don’t quite have the language down to get things out the way that I want.  Frustrating.

But it’s coming.  The past week, I’ve really been working on my sound piece for my open studios.  I’m going to do a post on it once it’s finished.  And it really is coming out close to where I want it to be.  This translation of the light of the space, but layered in a different way than the images.  It literally is a translation of one of the photographs – this is the foundation of this idea of installation that I’m working on – digital is malleable, and information can slide from one medium to another, providing an alternate interpretation of something.

Let me simplify: I make a photograph.  I translate it into numbers.  I use those numbers to create MIDI notes in sound software.  I compose a sound piece using those notes as my foundation, plus some direct recordings of sound from the space where the photographs are taken.  E Viola!

And to add just another challenge this go round, I’m adding in video.  I’m about to go process this beast in a minute here, so let me wrap up.  This thing with light and sound has legs.  It could go somewhere.  Visually, it’s almost the other end of the spectrum from my silver skiagrams – the bright shiny white to the dark mysterious shadows.  But the bones underneath, those are the same.  Translation, interpretation of a space and how it resonates for me.  Because this is really what it’s all about.  What do I think, how do I feel in a space.  That’s at the heart of this.

Off to play with videos and sound!

27
Jan
12

trying something new

so, i’ve been making these photos since thanksgiving 2011.  about two months.  i’m a bit obsessed.  let me show, then i’ll talk.

these were the first ones.  it was kind of a lark.  i ride the bus to and from work everyday, and there is something about the movement, the shifting, overlapping landscape that just keeps coming that i thought was really interesting, and i loved what i was getting.

now, background.  these are all taken with my cell phone.  iphone4, with a nifty little app.  nothing crazy, just giving me a slower shutter speed.  but i keep making them now.  even thought i’m in prague, i’m still taking public transportation everywhere, so i’m riding trams and seeing the city slide past me on a daily basis.  now, it’s not really sunny here in prague in january, so the images have shifted to be a bit gray-er.

but i’m really fascinated by these things.  i think my favorite is the one with the person in profile, but it is actually harder than i thought to get good shots of folks (you need reflections, which means either really bright sun or after the sun has set, and then you need good angles – tricky).  but still.  they keep accumulating.  thought i’d share.  i’ll let you know if they keep going somewhere…

25
Jan
12

Making Art

How strange.  Here I am, the self-professed art geek, and it’s been a long time since I actually talked about making art.

See, I view this as a very individualized activity.  My brain functions a certain way, hence I tend to make art in a way that makes sense to my brain.  This line of thinking has been brought on by two events – one, I’m currently reading (and loving) Douglas Hofstadter’s book “I Am a Strange Loop” and two, I went to an artist talk here in Prague a few days ago.  I know it may not look it, but these two things are in fact, related.

Let’s start with the book.  Hofstatdter is an old favorite of mine, since I had to read “Godel Escher Bach” in college and thought his seamless weaving of science, music, technology and the human  mind was ingenious, and I’m a true sucker for anyone who talks about mapping and patterns and repetition.  So I was particularly keen to get my hands on “Strange Loop” where he really digs into our own understanding of self, and how the brain is able to make sense of the world and ourselves.  Heady stuff.  Amazing really.  And I’m not even finished yet.  But here’s the point, he talks a lot about what makes a person an individual, and he’s successfully upended a rather central belief for humans – that one body = one soul.  Let me bring this back to art, before I digress too far.  I’ve always asserted that each of us is truly unique, and that we see the world from our own, singular point of view.  And now I’m wondering about that.

Continuing, we’ve got this artist talk I went to on Monday at Svit Gallery down the street from my flat.  The artist is Jordan Wolfson and it was a kind of interview style artist talk.  And a lot of this talk centered around how and why the artist created different works, and listening to him speak made me realize that how he makes art is nothing like how I make art.  Obvious, yes.  But still interesting to actually butt up against the reality of this truth.

So back to the beginning.  Me, making art, here in Prague.  It’s been simply luxurious, to have to make sure to schedule time to just make things.  Now, granted, what I thought I would make is nothing like what I actually made (and am still making).  But to have the time to just respond, to let what is surrounding you influence how the work progresses is an unimaginably wonderful thing.  Certainly isn’t like when I’m home, and working a few jobs and tired and squeezing art making in on the side, where I keep doing what I’ve been doing, because it already makes sense, and that is actually for me, easier to do right now.

I tried to continue my skiagrams while here, though in modified form – cyanotypes instead of silver.  I’ll be honest.  They sucked.  To prove it, here is a shot of some of my tests:

No contrast, no form, no visual interest.  I knew I needed to adapt, but man, was it heck figuring out how to change.

Now here’s the interesting thing.  I don’t ever have just one project.  I’m a bit too scattered in the brain to stay focused on a single idea for very long.  So I tend to have one big, main project that I really dig into, and then I have little side projects “for fun” that I do when I need a change of pace.  That’s what this blog has really been.  My Natural Disaster images, or my series of images that are just blurry white on white.  Plus, I’ve been goofing around with my camera phone quite a bit too (separate post on those coming soon).

Here’s where things got cool the other week.  One of these “fun” projects started to resonate with what I was experiencing here.  My flat is this big, tall, white place, with little sound and almost no stimuli (no tv, no internet, nothing hanging on the walls and everything is painted white except the few pieces of furniture).

I would come back to this space, not knowing anyone in the city, not speaking the language and not a ton to do in this space but read.  Or take pictures.  So I started taking pictures of the light coming in through the windows, almost to prove that the sun did come out in this city!  And lo-and-behold, I’m making work very simliar to the Edge of Vision pics!  But with new intent, new direction and a very different resonance, at least for me.  I’ll let you be the judge.  Here are a few:

All in all, I’m excited about the new ideas and the new shifts that have happened here.  And the really exciting part for me is that this new visual direction is actually making a ton of sense with the sound that is paired with it (coming soon!) and so I feel like I’ve made a ton of progress with that end of my making stuff.  Residencies = highly recommended.

24
Jun
11

Real Art Ways Exhibition

Really quick post right now – I wanted to share the first installation views of my exhibition down in CT!!!

The opening reception last week was amazing and it was unreal in a very good way to finally see my work come together.  I’m so happy with the work and still kind of in shock that it’s up!

 

18
Mar
11

Natural Disasters

Japan.  About a year later.  Like clockwork something else happens, something catastrophic.  Earthquakes, flooding, fires, the threat of nuclear fallout, the balance of the built environment and the toll of natural disasters keeps shifting and horrible things continue to occur.  I live in a tiny little bubble in the northeast of the United States.  None of these horrific events have touched me physically.  I’ve known people, personally, who have been affected by disasters, but it has never been me.

And life continues.  I’m going to my studio this afternoon, because short of me flying around the world to Japan, there is nothing, physically, that I can do to help.  Donating money does help, but my day to day existence has not changed because of this earthquake.

And this is weird.  It feels wrong, somehow.

And so I make new work.  Unfortunately, this may become a new series, long term.  My way of coping and dealing with these world-changing events that are so remote that I can go weeks without even thinking about what’s happened, yet there are whole populations whose entire lives have been irrevocably changed in the span of hours.  My way of acknowledging my distance, both physically and emotionally from something so monumental.

These are coming out very differently than my Deepwater Horizon series.  There, the images were of this body of water that was fundamentally being altered, even though it was difficult to see from the surface.  Here, the devastation is so visible, so impactful, that there is a more chaotic feel to the work.  Also, the immediate human loss is much more pronounced, so there are a more people finding their way into the images.

Signing off…..

11
Feb
11

After a Brief Hiatus

So, I’m back.  Brief break there.

New images.  Different, but still mostly in the same vein as where I’ve been.  I like the ideas of line, pattern, color, texture, shape and how they formally fit together.  I think I’m a bit old school in that sense.  But I also love the idea of looking at something, specifically a photograph of something or somewhere and not being able to quite place what it is that I’m looking at.

So.  Here’s a small sampling of the new guys.  Not sure what to call them.  Everything at the moment seems a bit cheesy – topographies, charting somewhere, blah blah blah.

They’re still a bit weird for me, as they are actual photographs, taken with a camera, in focus with the bare minimum of tweaking done to them, as opposed to altered six ways to sunday or pulled out of the air with chemicals or some other process…..  I’m kind of enjoying it.

10
Sep
10

I am a total Photo-Nerd

Alrighty.  For the first time ever on the blog, I’m going to get into what I “really” do.  Not that I don’t do any of the other things that I’ve rambled on about here for a few months now, just that in some ways, this is my baby.

Photograms.  Abstraction.  History.  Sheer, blessed nerd-fest.  Kinda the essence of how I think photographically.

Ok, let’s do this proper-like.  My ongoing body of work is titled Concealed at first at last I appear, which is a total geek reference, first to “Burning with Desire” written by Geoffrey Batchen (page 144 in my edition, for those of you who have already embraced their own inner photo-geek) but more importantly, it’s a reference to William Henry Fox Talbot, one of the great-grand-daddies of photography.  He had these words appear/disappear as a photogram in one of his early experiments using text on paper.  Friggin’ amazing.  The ability for something to be permanent and transient simultaneously.  Concrete and abstract.  Talbot was a genius and recognizing and accepting the duality that was present in photography from the get-go.  As Batchen says on page 91, “Photography was, for Talbot, the desire for an impossible conjunction of transience and fixity.”  First off, I just think that sentiment is beautiful – to desire the impossible, to accept that you will never be satisfied, that a fixed resolution will never happen.  And this is really where I realized where my own work was going.

as yet untitled new mural…..

I think that I am a bit of a twisted soul – I want to deliberately frustrate the viewer to a certain degree.  Not completely, just a little.  “You mean I’m making photograms, images that are a direct trace of light onto paper, no camera, no negative?  And yet you can’t tell what the blasted thing is of?!  What is going on here!?”

I love the idea that light itself can create a visual image via a chemical process.  That with a photogram, you have a direct one-to-one relationship with the “thing” that existed in reality.

And I love the fact that I can make an image today, without Photoshop, without using pixels, that is so abstract that many folks have asked me what these images are of (one of my favorite questions!)….

as yet untitled new mural…..

So, to sum up so far – large-scale photograms made with black and white fiber paper that are abstractions of space and time.  That’s one of my few one-liners that I can throw out when people ask me what I do…..

And I keep going…I started these last year, and in the past few weeks I’ve started cranking them out again, and I’ve gotten crazy excited about the results.  New space, new light, new patterns and images.  Any of you out there in cyber-world have any thoughts, criticisms, feedback or the like, feel free to drop me a message below, otherwise, thanks for reading this far 🙂

as yet untitled new mural diptych…..





Who I am…

I am a self-professed geek. I happen to be an artist. I like to geek out about art, specifically photography.

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