Tuesday, December 8, 2009

recent pieces

~ Road, Fields, Mountain

~Mountain at Dawn

~ Fall, Winter Spring or Fall, Sprinter, Wing

~The Dark I Carried with Me
Fall 2009: Due December 11, 2009

Student: Salley Knight
Mentor: Heidi Whitman
Faculty Advisor: Julia Scher

Salley Knight finished the semester as a very promising student and artist. Salley continued to explore ideas and materials fearlessly, and found new artists to learn from and emulate. She wrote insightful papers and went to see exhibitions. She is just where she should be as a beginning grad student.

Salley is passionate about color and transparent materials - specifically her hand dyed silk. Salley did some work using Jessica Stockholder materials- plastics etc, but she then veered away from those materials. She is a colorist whose interests are rooted in nature and light. Salley’s most recent work has involved whorls of colored silk. She is working hard on how best to present and format these whorls.

One of Salley’s strongest works is a floor piece that involves circles, rectangles, transparent scrim boxes, and silk. She is deftly using grays as a foil for her reds, yellows, and oranges. She is using some element of chance and spontaneity in this work. Salley is trying to remain as experimental and open as possible.

Embroidery is another aspect of Salley’s work. She has done several embroidered drawings on dyed silk of children in school lines and of cows. They are quite wonderful especially when layered over each other. This work may or may not connect with the other “whorl” work.

Maya Lin’s systems and connection to nature are of interest to Salley. She admires Richard Tuttle’s arrangements and use of materials. Salley responds to Stockholder’s color. As Salley progresses through the AIB program I’m sure she will continue to learn from other artists. Continuing to write about concepts would be especially important for Salley. I hope that Salley can be increasingly specific and clear in her thinking and writing.

I’d like to see Salley continue on with the same degree of involvement she has had this fall. I do have one strong suggestion. I think that clearing out her studio further would be conducive to clarity in the work. I’d like her to put up a couple of homosote walls. Eventually I think Salley should get a studio in an artists’ building. I’d like her to connect with more students and artists to share ideas and give support and encouragement. I hope that the January sessions at AIB might be a way for Salley to meet more artists. I’d also recommend that Salley start making regular trips to New York to see work as well as continuing with her research on the web.

Salley has had a very strong and courageous first semester.
Summary- Fall 09
Professor Julia Scher
Salley Knight

If I could put one word on this semester it’s been “exploration”: of materials, of my vision, and of my inspiration. I created works inspired by Jessica Stockholder, Richard Tuttle, and Anna Torma. I explored ideas about my eyesight, line and embroidery, and ways to bring more dimension to my work by creating silk cubes and whorls.
At the beginning of December I felt lost. I had gone so far into my explorations that I had lost my bearings. I related to Bruce Nauman’s experience in art school of feeling like a bouncing ball. Where am I? What questions am I pursuing in this visual medium called art?
After all is said and done, I seem to be still dealing with the question that I came to Lesley with, only now slightly reframed: what is it to love the land? Is it about my memory of the light? Is it about the feeling of the earth beneath my feet (or the horse’s feet) in climbing or descending? Is it the expanse of space, the light, the warmth of the air from on high versus the cool, closed, narrow valley? Is it in contrast to the world of people/schools/order? These are the questions I have just begun to address.
The artist that I found whose work comes closest to addressing some of these ideas is Maya Lin. In Maya Lin’s book Systemic Landscapes, Richard Andrews writes:
Lin’s …works explore how our understanding of landscape is framed by our personal experience with the natural world. Such knowledge is, of necessity, fragmentary, based on relationships to particular landscapes, and leads us to recognize that we can very fully understand nature, in much the same way that we cannot completely comprehend consciousness, because we exist within it (62).
In his book Space and Place: the Perspectives of Experience , the geographer Yi-Fu Tuan suggests that the full range of feeling and thought are included in the experience of land:
Experience (of the outside world) is compounded of feeling and thought. Human feeling is not a succession of discrete sensations: rather memory and anticipation are able to wield sensory impacts into a shifting stream of experience so that we speak of a life of feeling as we do of a life of thought…both are ways of knowing (10).
What particularly intrigues me about Maya Lin is how she has systematized the landscape. In particular, her 2006 work Blue Lake Pass (Lin, 28-32) not only feels familiar to me but offers me a model that I might be able to translate into silk. I had attempted to do just that in a few pieces going into AIB. It was frustrating because I had been dependent on the frame as support for the loose cloth.
However, this fall I found ways for the silk to self-support: with sewn boxes and whorls (spirals). I now have the means to convey sections of landscape by placing the whorls inside the boxes. Furthermore, I have the color of the silk to convey the way the light affects the land. I see a lot of possibilities with this: that I can expand the 3D further with hidden structures under the silk, that I can work in a range of sizes, that I can be as simple or complex as I want, that I can be very structural or lean in the direction of feeling.

Works cited

Lin, Maya, Systemic Landscapes, Seattle: Henry Art Gallery, 2006. Print.

Yi-Fu Tuan, Space and Place: the Perspectives of Experience (Minneapolis University of Minnesota Press), 1977. Print.