Residency #1 Summary

I’ve had a little over a week to process everything from my first residency at AIB…

Overall, it was an excellent experience that left me exhilarated, exhausted, overwhelmed and slightly terrified as to what I’ll be going through over the next two years.

Hrmph.

Before arriving to the residency, I had a brief correspondence with my assigned buddy. I was mostly interested with her thoughts on the program and how the day-to-day structure shaped her experiences as a former “Group 1” student. She was quite frank; her first semester wasn’t her best experience, but it was a virtual anomaly within the program. Her subsequent semesters were much better in comparison. She gave me some sound advice about how and what to hang for work and told me to have confidence in what I am doing, but simultaneously be open to new paths. Also, she gave the heads up to the fact that crits can sometimes be pretty rough, so try not to take everything personally. Although being quite familiar with the critique routine, both good and bad, this still struck a note of fear in my soul. Clearly she had no idea that I have some anxious tendencies. All I could do was stick to one of my favorite sayings; “expect nothing and be pleasantly surprised.”

‘Twas the start of the residency,
With excitement and fear in the air;
Work hung in awkward spaces,
In hopes that good crits would soon take place there…

I decided to show the two main series that I had been working on that felt the most complete, interspersed with some other work to be brought out during individual meetings and conversations if necessary or relevant. The “SpongeBob SquarePants” series and “String Series” were the two collections displayed at all times, with guest appearances made by the “Twitter Series” (drawings) and “Dance Series” (black & white photographs.) Thankfully my current work was received well enough and my goals of each individual set seemed resolved, for the most part. Rather than try to form complete sentences and thoughts about what was said about each, I’ll just list the idea main talking points and ideas raised about the work.

SpongeBob Series:

  • Movement/depth. Great sense of space—from use of color and layering.
  • Not really interested in knowing that it’s based off a cartoon.
  • Skinny/agitated line works well for the energy of the abstractions.
  • Good use of white space, however it might be beneficial to get less “blobby” in the middle and have some lines touch some edges, and relate to the format of the page better. It’s like it’s surrounded by a bubble or force field.
  • Effective in translating the idea of mapping/motion/energy.
  • Would be interesting to compare it to the computer programs that can basically create the same thing.
  • Maybe play with mylar, and try overlapping and repeating episodes to see how they build up and change with each viewing.
  • Centrality of the images is not so bothersome to some viewers.
  • How much info do you need to give out about the work? Maybe reduce the information to a legend-create an atlas?
  • They look like “TV” or read like animations.
  • The non-traditional use of non-traditional color is central to the work…not blatant Cy Twombly rip-offs.
  • References to the Etch a sketch. Computer programs; wireframe drawings—something to look at in comparison.
  • Almost looks like text is buried somewhere in there.
  • Chance based theme runs throughout. Two major things happening in the work; the act of going through the motions and the physical activity of making the work, and the trace of an activity that pre-exists. Not exactly pointing to futurism, but thinking about documenting the motion rather than Pollock/Twombly-esq works where the gesture is the actual record.
  • The concepts all intertwine in the current work.
  • Explore time based media. The work is resolved enough to open up in a whole bunch of directions. Exploring the space between the document/action or the trace of the action.
  • There is a whole cultural aspect that can be dug into; content and cultural meaning embedded and has not surfaced in the current work. Yet it’s almost a complete spoof of contemporary art.
  • Sociological phenomenon of the cartoon, what makes it so popular?
  • Automatic writing.
  • Possibilities within the work for an interactive component with the audience. May be work looking into at some point.

String Series:

  • Lovely sense of line.
  • “hairball-like”
  • Not super keen on the squares embossment of the plate—tongue in cheek-ish. Would like to see without the square plate.

Ok, so we didn’t really talk much about “String Series,” but that’s ok, as the current scope of my work will be venturing along the lines of the other pieces presented. My one, slightly negative/contradicting critique came from one of the graduating students. We didn’t have much time to spend on each person in our critique group (about 10 minutes were allotted per person) so he decided to go off on initial reactions to the work in relation to our “elevator speech” about what was being presented. His synopsized response was to try different ways of making marks on the page. Play with grounds, addition/subtraction of marks with varied mediums. He did bring up the concern of archival issues with the type of pens that I had been using, which I may look into. Though I do appreciate his ideas, it’s not something I plan to explore or change with the work at the present moment. In my defense, I don’t think I emphasized the importance of process, chance or need for immediate response to the external images to which I am responding. So, I guess the one thing I did take away from this meeting is that I need to explain myself better.

Where do I go from here? That’s very good question. I am a bit bummed that I have to place the SpongeBob Series on the back-burner for now, but I understand. As a (mostly) resolved piece, it would do me a disservice to continue to work on it when I could be looking down other paths. I am here to learn, right? I may continue to produce one or two drawings a week – as to keep it fresh and my mind and a use it as a source of respite in the midst of my other investigations. Regardless, I definitely have my work cut out for me. For starters, I lack a serious knowledge of contemporary art, so I have some catching up to do in that respect. As for where I plan to take my work this semester, I’ll list the main ideas and basic goals I hope to realize.

  • Continue the “Twitter Series”, a page a day?
  • Explore the intersection of mass culture/social media and how I personally internalize, deal with and process the vast amount of information presented to us on a daily basis.
  • Explore new media/installation in relation motion and movement
  • Look into personal struggle/dealings with ADD in relation to cultural influence and general ADD within mass media
  • Play around with ideas of personal “mapping”
  • What is the reason and use of “arbitrary parameters” within majority of my work
  • Experiment, experiment, experiment!

I have a lot to chip away at over the next few months, and the all too familiar feeling of terror is creeping over me, again…better get started!

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