Posts Tagged ‘minimal


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.


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.


The Edge of Vision

So.  These guys are back.  Minimal, pale, not-quite-there.  I keep wanting to take them.  It’s very strange too, because for the first time, I’m generating work that I have no real desire to print.  Normally, I am all about the tangible print, that thing you get to hold in your hand.  But with these, there is something about seeing them on screen – with that disturbingly beautiful glow lighting them up.  I guess that could be coming from the fact that these really are about light, and how the camera sees light, so having them be backlit makes a lot of sense.  And right now, this moment is when I wish I was a millionaire so that I could just go buy light boxes to display them on.  *sigh*

Anywho, here are a few of the newest in the series….  I went softer than the last group, more organic in the lines and a little darker too.


More new work

I seem to still be engaged with these new minimalist images.  In my brain, there is a link between what I think about with regards to these distortions of space and light and my murals (my BIG project that is currently on hold).  One of the most fascinating aspects of photography for me right now is not so much the traditional nature of image-making, but rather the viewer’s perception of the actual photograph, distanced and removed from the intent of the artist.  How do we read photographs right now?  It has become second nature for us to process images since it is almost impossible for a person to go a day without seeing at least one – the internet, billboards, posters, advertising, tv.  So what do “traditional” photographs mean given this context?  That could be one way of approaching things.  I’ve obviously gone another.  What happens when you work with the photographic medium, but the resultant images don’t appear to be photographs?

I have a lot more to say on this topic, but think I have to wait for my caffeine to kick in to really write it out.  In the mean time, here are some more images from this new series….


New Projects

So, for numerous reasons, I’ve been drawn far more towards digital lately, rather than my old friend analog.  Mostly because I haven’t worked out facilities, but also because everything that I do on a day to day basis revolves around digital (teaching it and such), so it seems natural that I’d expand my ideas that way.

Back before I started the body of work that ended up being my thesis, I picked up my camera one day on a lark, and started taking pictures “just because” which felt really decadent at the time.  Something about the underlying idea of those decadent pics has stayed with me, and I went back a revisited the ideas recently.  Here are some of the originals and some of the newest additions.

As always, feedback, thoughts, comments welcome.

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