Wednesday, June 2, 2010

June 2 Mentor Meeting with RPW

I met with RPW for our final critique of this spring term. I showed my large installation work that now was glued and mounted on dyed canvas. I had added significantly to its size with larger whorls at the forefront. I also had added text -I had “painted” around each letter – on pieces of silk. I placed them on the floor as the front of the piece. In addition, I had made a small color chart (which I forgot to bring in) and the first 6 pieces of a larger one, which I disliked because of its strict uniformity. I also brought in my “add water” piece and the boxes that were used for gluing the silk, that make a piece when arranged like a grid (but they had been stored for too long and needed ironing for the sides to stand up again). Finally, I had the beginnings of a miniature piece I’d begun. The critique touched on the following areas:
1) RPW suggested that I explore mounting this newest piece ( as yet unrealized), with its small elements, on the wall with museum wax - a new material for me. I told her I had considered using a hole punch (leather punch?) and mounting them in clear acetate which RPW thought could then traverse through space.
2) We then began to discuss the large piece. I asked her about the text, did she think it worked? She liked the content, said it offered something universal, that it worked to present it in small bits like Twitter or Haiku, and the font felt right. I had put it on the floor to include the words visually with the whole piece. She thought it would be stronger as an adjunct piece on the wall, perhaps mounted as a grid.
3) Next we talked about how I might present the piece in a smaller space. I withdrew one of the sections, which I thought looked strong separately. Althought that might be true, there was another issue on hand: the canvas. Even with it dyed (as opposed to black, as before), it needed better integration with the silk. Although using silk to cover the canvas in intervals could help, RPW felt as if the large piece was crowded – which I had also felt. I had thought to resolve the crowdedness by eliminating some of the whorls. RPW had a much more exciting idea, which was to cut away the path where the bare canvas showed. I had my scissors along and we experimented with one section. Wow! It was exactly what the work needed. Seeing the bare floor and the way the negative and positive spaces started to come alive – it was a very exciting moment. Cutting away the shapes opens up possibilities: with no prescribed path, I can be sensitive to whatever space I install the piece. It also allows me to work with the edges of the space, RPW pointed out. And it makes the piece available to move through, much more so than when it was confined to the canvas.
4) I showed RPW the large pieces of individual colors I had worked on for the color chart. I discontinued them because I was so put off by the emphatic, high contrast exact circles. She encouraged me to complete the set. I forgot to bring the much smaller chart to show her – I emailed a photo to her after the meeting.
5) We talked about my “add water” piece. It reminded her of Frankenthaler. She thought I could pursue more but that the actual frame needed to be much larger – it was too equal to the piece. I had presented it on a stand alone support – which she appreciated because it made it into a piece in itself, allowing the light to come through. She thought there was potential for the “add water” pieces to work with my larger piece somehow.
6) This brought the discussion to the use of the scrim. I had understood my piece to be like a Jessica Stockholder’s that attached to the wall and came forward. But now with the path a non-fixed variable, the scrim was a question. RPW suggested that I perhaps do a piece with just scrims – such as Bill Irwin’s work. I think there is possibility there for me.
7) I intended to show RPW my piece that is made from the small boxes I had used to support the whorls while gluing them together. She could see enough to comment that they had a Chuck Close sense about them. However, I need to iron them so the sides stand tall again- they had been packaged too long.
This last meeting was a rich experience for me. I have much to explore and also feel ready to share this and whatever I can do in the interim with the AIB community at the June residency. Thank you RPW!

Summary – Spring Term 2010

I started this semester with the image of looking down into water from a summer sailboat. This memory led me to the large floor installation of silk whorls that I spent most of my time making: dyeing the lengths of cloth, tearing them into strips that were wound into whorls, then sewn and glued to hold their shape and stand upright. The time consuming process frustrated me since it seemed to take so long to build up a large enough number of whorls to make an expansive piece. In the end, I may have ultimately overdone it for the small showplaces at AIB, but I think that the piece needs size for its impact. At any rate, the piece moved beyond just looking into water to include the path of the boat and then to thoughts/words on what sailing had meant to me, which were painted into an accompanying text piece. I also made 2 pieces making a color chart referencing the numbers of the dyes I used in the large piece. A further work was a byproduct of the process of gluing: the silk boxes I made for gluing the whorls became a piece when grouped as a grid. Finally, I began experimenting with the concept I called “add water”, as in a recipe, whereby I would lay down squares of color, as in a color chart; then, I’d add water and let it run and drip and blend. A final tangent came as a response to Louise’s upset at the size of my piece – I’ve just begun a miniature piece which is mostly conceptual at this point, but deals with multiples, just tiny ones.
In my papers, I wrote about silk, my process, and its history. In my other self-chosen paper, I explored the concept of installation. I found the Japanese aesthetic principles: “ma”, emptiness, a good view, the unfixed gaze all leant themselves to installation art and enriched my understanding of its possibilities.
I would say the strength of this Spring was identifying my focus: water. It is a large subject so I am coming at it from memory of specific memories. I am seeking experiences that highlight distinct sensations – perceiving movement as still, feeling still as movement, or feeling still as very still (heightened awareness). I introduce these ideas as text in simple description.