Academic Advisor: Tony Apesos
1 August 2014
My second residency went by quickly as the work seems to move time swiftly. It is hard to believe I am starting my second semester.
My residency series was based on meditative space where one acquires inspiration, reflection and contemplation. I also considered what brings one to seek out a meditative space, be it chaos, trauma or simply reflection. I have been struggling with translating simplification in my imagery. That being said it is about finding that meditative space whether it is actual space or freeing space in the mind.
The work consisted of figurative and abstract paintings and drawings. I also brought solar plate prints that were made during the process of walking meditation. The figurative series drove me to take a few steps back, slow down and focus on the representation. In the abstract work I focused on the emotion of the landscape translating it through color and brushstroke and mark making.
I was a bit frustrated with this semester’s work as I was working in a new medium (acrylic) using a glazing technique and working on panel. A few of the faculty pointed out that the figurative work was a much-needed exercise pushing me in the direction of interpreting my work more abstractly.
It surprised me that some of the faculty felt the stronger pieces were the smaller oil paintings. The abstracts were well received but it was suggested that they were too reminiscent of Abstract Expressionism. My goal is to find another way to translate the landscape into abstraction. It was suggested I focus on the process and the physicality of the materials. The general consensus was that I was a competent painter but the work lacked content. I hope to address this in coming semesters.
My first critique was with Peter. He believed I should work more with oil paints. Though there were others who felt I was beginning to get a handle on the acrylics and since I work quickly I should stay with the acrylics. I did like the fact I could glaze easily with acrylics over thick paint. Peter pointed out that the abstractions were too much like Abstract Expressionism.
In my critique with Oliver, he addressed the sublime in my imagery. We had spoken last semester when I was considering a tribute to my coworkers who perished in 9/11. During the critique he suggested I should somehow consider rendering the work in a way that is cathartic to life experiences.
I met with last semester’s advisor, Judith, who felt I made good progress through the semester and produced quite a bit of work. She also suggested I focus on content and start thinking more about the conceptual direction of my work. Academically, Judith also I hire a writing tutor and investigate more art history.
After having critiques with Tony (my new advisor) and Sunanda I started thinking that what I really want to convey in my work is a transition between emotion and nature. My art is actually tied to my personal history. The work is reminiscent of the anecdotes of life, personal relationships, self-awareness, and nature. These are the elements that make us who we are and I seem unable to communicate that concept in my work at the moment.
When Tony and I met he thought I was going in the direction of landscape painting. During our meeting we talked about the fact I was more interested in translating the mood and emotion through landscape and not necessarily the representational image. He gave me some great suggestions on format especially in translating the sublime. Tony also suggested books that reflect on the process of aging and art. As a non-traditional student (basically aging!) these books will aid me in my research and give me a point of entry for contextualizing my ideas. We talked about the fact that I love the element of surprise in printmaking and the process is liberating for me.
During a group critique with Laurel, she suggested I set up some appointments with master printers and ask to see prints made by painters and non-printmakers. This would give me an idea on how as a painter I could approach the process.
I had several critiques with graduating students and it was so helpful to hear the different comments on the work: Joseph Fontinah, Judy Bamber, Stacey Utley, Sam Smart and Nina Early.
These critiques brought interesting insight as to the direction of my work:
Mapping and aerial views in landscape.
Using larger shapes to anchor some of the busier shapes.
Limited color palette.
Looking at prints made by painters.
A more minimalist approach.
Focus on the passing of space and expansion.
Sublime the space between beauty and terror.
Focus on the process and physicality of the materials.
Possibly using fiber silk organza.
Work on content.
The Artist Grows Old by Philip Sohm,
Coming of Age by Simone de Beauvoir
The Sky Below the Earth Above by John P. Milton
Trust the Process: An Artist’s Guide to Letting Go by Shaun Mcniff
Zen of Seeing:Seeing/Drawing as Meditation by Fredrick Franck
Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit
Joseph Mallard Turner