Tuesday, July 28, 2009

first meeting with Heidi - July 28, 2009

I had such a great meeting with Heidi this morning.
I think the most exciting aspect of it for me is that it feels as if she"gets me": that the pieces of my work that she most responds to are also the ones that I felt the strongest about. (example - the green wave piece)
I also felt as if her advice to me was right on the mark. I now feel both encouraged and motivated.

After looking at my earlier work, her advice to me was to either go less or go widely more - even to go horribly overboard to the point of ruining the work. Later, she suggested that I take photos of my work as it goes along so that we can review it at many stages. She suggested that I work on value contrast, that I do pieces with black, white and gray to better understand what I'm doing.

She suggested that leave off concerns about structure (where I was getting bogged down)- to look at my work as a painting with 3D aspects but not to get sidetracked by needing to understand sculpture.

We talked about the aspect of works that appeal to me: quirky, unpredictable, fresh.
I mentioned Richard Tuttle and J. Stockholder, and Heidi introduced me to Jean Shin - who I immediately adored- and Leslie Dill, Anne Ryan and Polly Apfelbaum, who I appreciate but am less drawn to from internet images, anyway. I just was checking out Sheila Pepe ( recommended a while ago by Laurel - I was intrigued). But Jean Shin is really a hit for me.
I seem to love the simple idea done exquisitely.

So, I loved Heidi's recommendations for the next month:
1. Clean out the studio - create as many white walls as I am able and get rid of all clutter.
2. Go to a fabric store or used clothing store - find a variety of different kinds of cloth
3. Create 20 different small pieces, using translucent scrim, possibly fishing line for support, lots of overlay
4. Photograph the work as I go; make some ugly, some way too much, some minimal, at least one black and white, use grungy and beautiful cloth, stay with the formal principles of painting but let the materials take me, let myself be influenced - try to be over-influenced by artists I like (make a Richard Tuttle, Jean Shin= hard to do)
5. Keep an art journal - when I started and stopped, what I accomplished each day - set aside set hours to be in the studio so that I am sure to be there even with all the family demands.
6. Don't worry about the paper(s), just get them done and out of the way - that my art is the important part.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

thoughts on my crit paper

I had thought I would write my crit paper on craft/art intersection focusing on the Judy Chicago's Womens' Table, but I am having my doubts now. I think I might prefer to write about the why of art - a thesis of Believing is Seeing: that much of what we call ancient art was not created for that purpose. One of my favorite art books is one showing photographs of "Pathway Icons" in India: "art" created for religious purposes by villagers in India that is both meaningful and compelling as abstract art. It reminds me of the NPR book called "What I believe", a collection of essays from across America where people from all walks of life say in less than 500 words what they believe. That question - of why?- whether it is traditionally religious or, perhaps, just a personal belief , that is what I think I'd like to discuss in my crit paper...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Summary of June 2009 residency

Summary of Residency - June 2009 - AIB
~Salley Knight

To do:

Explore, explore, explore for first month at least.
Push my ideas further
Be expansive and wild - go with artwork, let it take me
Familiarize myself with history and movements in the craft/art world - the intersection.
Create the lineage for the work I do (what/ who am I referencing?)
Situate my work ( with visual language and vocabulary)

Figure out:

How to contain without frame
Possibly go in between painting and sculpture
What excites me


Wax as stiffener? Another stiffener?
Freestanding or curtains or wire supports?
Use chunks, strips, lots and lots of stuff, ropes, collect lots of ingredients

Artists to look into:

Robert Morris (floor sweepings)
Allen Shields in the 70’s
Helen Frankenthaler (color)
Felix Gonzalez-Torres
Gabriel Orozco
Ann Hamilton
Lee Bonticou
Ed Ruscha
Miranda July
Amy Morgana
Amy Rankin
Jessica Stockholder
Rachel Harrison
Susan Sze

Individual Critiques:

Jan Avgikos:

- rummage through the bones of history to see what informs your practice. Everything is legit.
- create lineage to situate work - have list of influences
- “That’s been done before” = bogus comment
- your work looks like painting process but not sculpture. Let go or stretched surface
- feminist discourse dismissed “pretty work” but this work is grounded in sensuality, sensory awareness, tactility
- what if removed hard frame?
- look at Scupture 1965-75 ( Whitney Catalogue) scatter installation - not crafted, an accumulation of stuff
- your color is incredible, painterly without paint - look at Helen Frankenthaler for color
- take frame away - address issue of containment less conventionally
- tree limbs? bird’s nests? Garden Design magazine
- take road trip to Storm King

Deb Todd Wheeler:

- think of David Byrne - just lets his words come out: “Stop Making Sense”
- do away with frame
- would it work to stiffen the cloth with wax? use wax as support? would lose transparency.
- perhaps wire? or curtains? Or Japanese screens?
- or hang and let blow in the wind
- right now are looking at them in the framework of painting. Could go in between painting and sculpture - could be interesting
- book to look at : Spectacular Craft. Push the craft.
- Art 21 Site, Lee Bonticou, Ann Hamilton

Julia Scher:

- Yes, look at Maya Lin and Richard Tuttle
- Anna Marie Travers - rooms of light
- gradient important in your work. Check out Ed Ruscha
- translucent . Check out Silver See
- look up visual pleasure . Laura Mulvy (?)
- try to get huge roll of white photo paper for studio
- color: Richter, studies for Cologne
- Glenn Adamson: Thinking Through Craft
- American Craft mag.
- Richard Sennett - The Craftsmen

group crit:

- size and presentation need to be more unconventional, larger
- lighting would help
- let go of the frame
- hanging installation could enhance tactile nuance and could invite participation
- perhaps include something on the floor
- exterior installation might work
- flower references too literal


- take off wall
- push your envelope, this is great place to try and fail. Bigger failure, bigger success.

Stuart Steck:

- check out scientific books that study light
- how about light boxes?
- poems, videos of sunrises, explore thoroughly, including cliches
- get rid of default that I fall back on in my art

Laurel Sparks:

- Sheila Pepe : crochet
- gather lots of materials, garbage bags full of stuff, arrange like stage set with pullies and ropes - create worlds
- make little clusters, lots of ingredients
- steer clear of literal
- notice whatever excites you visually - aerial views...?
- use naivete of child with intelligence/absurdity of adult
- let it all in
- check out: Rachel Harrison, Susan Sze, and Jessica Stockholder

not knowing

When I named my first piece "the 3 pigs", I thought I was off on a theme for my work: children's nursery rhymes, or such material. I realize that the aspect of "children" as it relates to fun is clearly key in what I do. But by saying it was nursery rhyme related, I now feel I was narrowing my exploration too soon. At this stage I want to explore color and the materials in a wide open mind frame. I need to write this down to remind myself of the importance of "not knowing".

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I seem to be having a tough time uploading my images.
This is the still not completely attached first piece I've done. Title: the Three Little Pigs.
I think I'm onto a theme of nursery rhymes. I'm now beginning my next piece: The Princess and the Pea (I hope).
For a number of years, I wrote and illustrated children's books - all of my own, none published. I went to conferences and was in a wonderful children's writing book club. Perhaps this energy is still in me. But it feels so much freer to be having fun with the abstraction.
The photos show 2 views : straight ahead and above.
I was choosing to stay monochromatic. The plants are dried allium. Aside from my hand-dyed silk, I also used bright vellum envelopes, foam core, and acrylic paint on the wood structure.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Heidi Whitman as mentor

I'm so excited that Heidi Whitman has agreed to be my mentor. The moment that she mentioned that she had thought of Jessica Stockholder as someone for me to look, I KNEW - she (Heidi) is going to be the person for me to work with. And when she described my process as hands on dealing with color and materials - I knew she understood the how I make my way along my journey with my art. I'm so glad the time-consuming process to find her is over, and glad that I've found someone that feels just right to me.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

July 5, 2009

Okay, It's been more than a week since AIB ended. I have yet to line up a mentor. I e-mailed 3 artists and heard back from only one. I think it may be because of the July 4th holiday, but if I don't hear anything soon, I'll have to search further.
I wrote a draft of my residency summary and am thinking about what my crit. paper might address. I am particularly intrigued by these 2 books that I've been reading about crafts: Out of the Ordinary, Spectacular Craft (by Laurie Britton Newell) who proposes that only recently had craft moved from functional to spectacle; and Thinking Through Craft (by Glenn Adamson) which I've just begun, but I think proposes that craft traditionally was considered second fiddle to fine art, but that all that is being turned on its head now - I'll be clearer about this book as I read further.
In either case, they are really well-written and directly address my issues of the craft/ art intersection.
In addition, I've been particularly excited by the work of 3 artists:
Rachel Harrison, Susan Sze, and most of all Jessica Stockholder. In fact, as I've begun to explore how I'm going to go further with my work, it's Jessica's work that calls out to me - as if I can now see my work stepping out of the frame and bringing the paint and cloth with it.
I am not sure how the cloud theme I proposed will work. It feels like I'm letting it be very loosely in my head - that what I want to see is what my journey will be without the labels too firmly in place.
I dyed some large swaths of cloth - what a messy process. I am experimenting with some stiffeners - but so far, they really detract from the whole sensuality of the silk. So today I bought some wire. I'm looking for ways to support the cloth without the square frame I've over used.
So that is where I am at present...