Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Monday, March 5, 2007

Art SMP Critiques

Attending the art SMPs for the first time was truly a different experience. It's definitely not my typical poster session with everyone asking about the significance of my statistics. The four I attended were Jeannie, Erica, Hilary and Amy. Lisa, Carrie and Colby are the three professors who gave the critiques.

Jeannie's sculptures were made of plaster and other materials that "seeped" or "bursted" out of the plaster based on emotions she feels that she doesn't share and therefore bottle up and eventually come out unwillingly. Compared to last semester's sculptures, these are smaller so that the viewer can become more intimate with the details. They are also more self-portrait-like than the characters of last semester. The professors mentioned playing with the space to display them. Specifically, creating a smaller room within the gallery and adding a white floor so that the brown carpet doesn't play against the white plaster. Also, they urged her to explore vertical space, although Jeannie seemed weary as she wants the viewer to feel overpowering to the sculptures and not the other way around.

Erica's community based art was interesting, however, not easy to appreciate in a large group of people. Only one person could participate at a time because it involved sitting at a desk and following some directions (similar to our class cut-up projects). One piece involved someone signing a box with a pen that was surrounded in gold leafing to create a residue to be left behind on postcards that the participant is asked to read. The other piece involved looking up words in a box, resembling a card cataloging library system, and cutting the cards if the word could fit into two or more categories. Erica wanted the participant to experience past participation, as well as leave their own mark to be experienced by the next participant. The professors all agreed that her concepts were strong enough that she could take away the artificial environment that she creates for her participants and that it actually confuses people (i.e. setting up the cataloging table like a library desk).

Hilary's photography ideas are to point and shoot pictures while taking a walk, as opposed to taking a walk to take pictures. She prefers the square shape of her displays so that she can play with more of the concrete elements of photography, such as the horizon. All three professors agreed that this method really supports the physical aspects of walking and shooting and helps to develop the work as a whole as opposed to trying to take pictures. They also agreed that she should keep her displays professional, simple and consistent and that bringing in the display as a new element would be too much and overpower her photography.

Amy's paintings were my favorite project of the evening. This is probably because of my simple and child-like tendencies, but I really enjoyed looking at her pieces. Her intent is to make a book for children in kindergarten and younger. Each panel consists of three pieces, each with a word that rhymes with the other two in that panel. The panels start with the main character (a bear) in nature and gradually become more industrialized into the man-made world. I love the use of her rich and vivid colors and the not-quite-cartoon-like characters. The professors thought she should tone down the intensity of the dark colors used in the later panels that reference the human world. Amy explained that as it becomes more developed the dark colors are used more and in more intensity to contrast the light and texture in the nature panels. It will be interesting to see the final piece and how this gets resolved.

I'm glad I got to see student work with them there to explain their work. I still think I need practice in viewing art and appreciating it and after a long and frustrating day of my own statistics, the art SMPs were a good break.


For my postcard project, I've chosen to create a relationship between Johns Hopkins and Harriet Tubman. To do this, I would like to do both sides of each postcard and have the clear relationship in their written messages to each other. Basically, Tubman is writing in the present time period to the deceased Hopkins for money to rescue poor/exploited children. The pictures are related to their written messages and, therefore relate to each other, however one wold not know this without understanding the written messages.

The actual pictures, as seen in the sketch, are a digital picture of a railroad track (representing Tubman), with 3D scan of linen as the sky background (representing the exploitation of the children), possibly a 2D scan of an exploited child. The other postcard involves a digital picture of money (representing the wealth and generosity of Hopkins), a 3D scan of a book and possibly a 2D scan of the medical symbol caduceus (representing Hopkins' standards for healthcare and education, which relate directly to Tubman's cause). I'd like to mount these postcards in front of a mirror so that a viewer can read the backs to the postcards and experience both postcards in their entirety.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Artist Talk

This morning I listened to Patrick Kelly, a candidate for the digital arts teaching job. He presented a lot of his photography and how he got started with his love for nature and brought in some human aspects of creating the environment. Eventually he started using the web as a showcase and then created some natural looking art with the computer. He is currently interested in using web space not only as a showcase, but as the art itself. For example, he collaborated with a musician to create a labryinth on the computer, much like a video game. He likes the idea of the viewer being able to interact with the art and decide for themself what is real and what has been created. I think he is an excellent candidate for the posistion.