Monday, February 28, 2011

studio thesis progress, in progress statement

Imagine a space in a gallery that invites you to linger comfortably, that engulfs your body first and then, when you discover more and more to explore, mentally and even emotionally.  You are entering a world expressed in a language you understand, with trees between you and the horizon, clouds and birds above you. You forget that you dressed a certain way to come to this space, that you are expected to express your decisions or judgments about what you see hear (calling on your knowledge of art history or at the very least memory of the wall labels to sound intelligent and credible and like a worthy member of the club.)  Instead of trying to do all that, you simply allow the information surrounding you take you into yourself.  All your personal experiences are relevant, valid tools to use as you seek meaning around you.   Decipherable writing, paper (a familiar texture), perhaps your favorite color or the favorite color of your best friend, a face that reminds you of someone you know—there is no mystery about why or how this place exists; it’s not at all beyond your comprehension.  The person or people (can you tell how many hands contributed to this endeavor?  Does it matter?) who made these objects, this world, are not any more special or important than you—we all have stories to tell, we all use our hands to express ourselves and to give gifts to each other, it’s what we share across cultures and generations, and how we understand cultures and generations other than our own.  The sense of “I” you are so accustomed to in this society is replaced by a feeling of “we.” 
            Comfortable and oriented in the landscape situation, you begin to process the next level of information available.  You begin to turn the pages of this story, finding history lessons you think you learned in middle school in the bark of that tree, or the same color dirt in that handmade paper as in your mother’s backyard.  There is so much to take in on this intimate scale that you can’t help but to make your own associations, to weave your own story into the fabric of this one.  That is okay; our stories always become richer, our understanding stronger, when we share, relate, combine, or write them together.  And in the end, how different could two people’s stories really be? 

            Many of the norms and traditions in the discipline of fine arts counteract my intentions as an artist.  I desire to make art because of the potential I see in it to foster community and the kind of thoughtfulness/awareness that can lead to real criticism and social change.  However, the art world is often less than conducive to this aim.
People enter a gallery space all too prepared for art—inherent to the gallery are several relationships that I wish to change:

            1.  the hierarchy of the artist’s intention over the meaning an audience can derive from their own experiences and associations,
            2.  the idea that art is separate from our everyday experience and even safe from it
            3.  the relationship between a passive observer and the observed object
            4.  the celebration of the artist as an exceptional individual (and the subsequent implications that art is a thing to be made alone and by a certain heroic person.) 

This thesis, in process, content, and exhibition, is my attempt to expose, work against or in spite of these issues, or to eliminate them from my art altogether.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

La Fragua

Javier and Gaby have been developing the La Fragua website quite a bit, and I just noticed that my page has gone up!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

La Fragua in Photos

These photos pair with the sketches nicely; I just got them back from the outlab yesterday.  Though, when I was taking shots to correspond to my poem about the Spanish dawn (see excerpt below), I didn't realize I had black and white film in the camera.  That was a bummer but is a little funnier this morning.

"Haven't ever seen a dawn
like the one that stole the big Spanish sky 
this morning, in the campo, outside El Pueblo.

The foamy quilt of a cloud
over the convent wall
lit crisp
pink and orange from beneath,
it's backdrop:
clear and cold
but the color of equatorial waters.

Even the chuckling, weathered laborers
from within the slightly warmer glow
of the old construction room
onthe ground floor of the convent
could appreciate the exceptionally 

It put them in proper spirits for a photograph--
smiles forming a rough horizontal division
across the upper third of the

Fran, too
escaped back to the world of employed men
after a couple too many weeks in the realm of 
forced idleness
and newborns.

Now the pink has been replaced
by a color better suited to the temperature.
All except my chest and writing hand
has surrendered to it.

The last heat from Javi's breakfast of Champions
churros! churros! churros!
and cafe con leche
all that keeps me writing..."
January 5 2011

Sunday, February 6, 2011

La Fragua, Belalcazar, Cordoba, Spain

These dibujos are from the part of El Convento de Santa Clara, which Javi and Gaby and Uma are working hard to make into what is going to be an amazing artists' residency program.  I had a wonderful experience there as their primer artista last month, and met people who rapidamente became familia, welcoming me into their casas for so many holidays (if you go to Spain and want to eat, go between the Navidad and the second semana in Enero!), meals, and Spanish lessons.  Belalcazar had so much to offer me in terms of community, history, and life lessons.  And churros.  Churros churros churros.  Next January I am bringing the cake to la dia de Los Tres Reyes Magos.

Friday, February 4, 2011

story hour with Kerdieekrdaad

Found some prints to be redolent of a few pretty well-known stories, so I inserted some text from said stories and drew in a few more hints.  See if you can identify them!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

sketchbook update!

I was looking through old sketchbooks today, I think searching for perspective that might be hidden in old writings, drawings, approaches to the world.  Isn't that how we track our progress in knowing ourselves and moving towards who we want to be?  By looking at who and where we were?  Anyway. I found these drawings which I don't think have been posted here yet.