Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My interview with Marteha Stewart

What do you want your work to give to the viewer? What type of reaction are you looking for?
When I am painting I don’t really have this on my mind. Before I paint I have an image in mind, but by the time the painting is finished my mind has changed so many times and instinct has also come in to the point that the image has deviated so far from my intention that sometimes I’m shocked at the outcome (that’s usually a good thing). So I don’t necessarily paint in order to give something to a viewer, but rather I follow my instincts and the paint does the rest. But generally I like to please people with my paintings. I don’t paint for any particular kind of audience so I’d like to paint something that is appealing to adults, kids, men and women alike. I like things that just about anyone can enjoy. I don’t have any political messages or anything serious like that in my art, I just want people to see my works and be pleased in some way. Whether it’s because they enjoy my bright, vivid colors or if they like the subject matter is completely up to the viewer. I don’t want them to walk away disgusted, angry or sad. I just want that to be one moment of peace.

What subject matter do you lean towards more? Portraits, landscapes, still lives? Why do you think so?
Definitely portraiture, figure painting and occasionally still lives. I really enjoy portraits because it’s something familiar to me since we see people everyday. I like to try to capture an essence of the individual in my paintings. I don’t just want to capture their appearance, but I am interested in incorporating some of that person’s psychology as well. Portraiture can be really dynamic and no two people look exactly the same; not even identical twins! I like still lives simply because I like to analyze things and recreate it on a canvass. I think that is an interest of mine. I just like to observe things.

What artists have you been looking at that have the most influence on you? Is it showing in your work?

My main inspirations tend to be artists who work figuratively and use compelling colors. I am absolutely in love with Jenny Saville and Wayne Thiebaud. I also enjoy works by Alice Neel, Euan Uglow, Lisa Yuskavage, Kamille Cory, Simmie Knox, and Terrance Osbourne. Some artists that I have recently taken an interest in include Michael Naples, Gerard Boersma, Debra Hurd, and Jane LaFarge Hamill. I don’t think you can look at my work and necessarily see that I am inspired by these artists, but I do take certain aspects of their styles and apply it to my work. Some of them I like their color palettes, their compositions, or I have an interest in the subject matter that they paint. I have lately been viewing Boersma, Hurd, and Naples because I have some ideas in mind for my next series of “Night paintings” and I felt that viewing their works would be useful for that purpose.

What do you plan on exploring/investigating in your body of work for thesis? Is your thesis work of similar concepts as what you’re currently doing?
I believe it will be based on my initial interests, but I plan to push it towards another level. I want to continue certain themes but I would also like to create works that are visually distinct from what I have been creating up until this point. Pretty much I would like to create something that is new to me but still is in tune with my interests.

What is it about the bold, vibrant colors you like? What qualities do they provide for your paintings?
I have always been attracted to really vibrant saturated colors. There’s something about them that really makes a work of art POP! That is specifically what draws me to the art of Wayne Thiebaud and Terrance Osbourne. If you see their works the color just captivates you. You can never be bored. There is no way that you can walk past a painting like this in a gallery. The colors have a way of demanding your attention and the images stay with you. This is exactly my intention. If you like mediocre colors that’s fine, but if you’re looking at one of my paintings expect color that is going to excite you.
What inspires you to paint?
Well, I think my inspiration comes from my emotions. Depending on my mood, how I’m feeling, sometimes the weather, I spark ideas and then I just start to paint. I never usually make sketches or anything, but I always think about my colors. I have strong tendencies to base entire paintings, based on the 2 or 3 colors I pick out of the box. I’ll just really want to use a specific color and from there I start painting, and whatever happens, happens
What is a common theme in your work?
A common theme in my work seems to be drips. In almost every painting I have drips that occurred naturally, or I put them there. Something about the flow and the uncertainty of them fascinates me and I enjoy watching what they will do. It helps me continue with a painting, especially when I become frustrated with a painting, I turn to drips, and it gives me something to work with.
In what ways have you grown as an artist since you’ve been painting? (Especially within the past four years).
I don’t rely on photographs or models anymore, I have grown completely into abstraction and the use of colors and how they compare. I have a much better understanding, how to “use the paint,” and not just use it “as paint.”
What artists influence you the most and what artists have you recently been following?
Artists that have had the most influence over me would be, Wasilly Kandinsky, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Ellsworth Kelly, Joesef Albers, Helen Frankenthaler, Barnett Newman, and more, but these are the ones that I always reference to when I find myself lost. I haven’t been looking at too many artists for myself recently, however I have been seeing a lot of new work while making gallery visits to New York. Some things are interesting, but I haven’t been “looking” too much, I use myself and what I see around me. Sometimes a CD cover will give me all the fuel to create an idea for a painting. It’s just, I like it, or I don’t.
What are your hopes for your artwork this semester?
I hope to paint as many paintings as I can. I want to have so many I can really pick and choose different combinations and styles to use for my thesis. I’m really interested in experimenting with texture and color, to create counter effects within the painting. I want to cover my exhibit area top to bottom, and with new ideas and techniques. I want to have a decent selection of work by the end of this semester, so as to motivate me for the spring.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A long silence....

  • I've never seen a dog sit in, during a crit before. Have you?
  • "I don't care about an artists intentions. I care if the work looks like it might have some consequences."
  • ..the most important thing that students learn at art school is "how to be an artist, how to occupy that name, how to embody that occupation."
  • Then they talk about Asher. "He certainly gives you enough rope to hang yourself," says one.
  • .." but the vast majority will find no immediate ratification."
  • "Creative is definitely a dirty word."
  • "We are looking for the kind of kids who didn't quite fit in at high school."
  • "It is very simple, practical matter. For clear investigations, you need time. That is the only rule of thumb. If you don't have it, you run the risk of being superficial."

Chelsea and beyond....

The nicest day we've had yet, and it was well spent browsing about in Chelsea, checking out the galleries. I started from 22ND and was planning on moving my way back towards Penn, until I realised I was there before the galleries really opened. There were a couple open, none that were on the list, but I went ahead anyway to kill some time. The Bruce Silverstein Gallery, showing Nicolai Howalt's, Car Crash Studies was pretty cool. The photographs were of cars that had been involved in severe, and potentially fatal accidents, which made his work even more stimulating. In some of the photos there was definite blood splatter over the driver's steering wheel, and on the shattered windshields. There was a series of photos that were 4 rows across and 3 down, of airbags deployed. It seemed like the same one, at different stages of deployment, but it's hard to tell, all airbags look alike. But the sequence of them was pleasing and and the abstract qualities in each photo were interesting. By looking at the bigger photos, you assumed they were of a smashed up car from some fatal accident, but they were unrecognizable, and seemed blurred. They were actual photos, just really up close, and the reflections and dents in the car became shapes and patterns, just like some abstract painting. It made me think...maybe this is what he thought those people might have seen, during the accident, a separation between what's real and what's not. Some other experience, that maybe only those people could explain, and that Howalt's photographs were trying to capture? Who knows, but it was cool.
So it was finally 10am now and I think all of the galleries were open by then, so I went back to the gallery I wanted to go to first, the Pace Wildenstein. In this gallery was 3 installations done by Maya Lin. This was probably one of the coolest things I've seen in awhile. When you first walk in, you definitely weren't expecting what you saw, a huge 10' by 53'4" by 35' configured, topographical like mountain/hill made out of 2 by 4 little blocks of wood, neatly stacked. Amazing. This thing took up the entire space it was in pretty much, there was a small walkway area all around it, just enough for two people to shimmy. It was made with over 50,000 pieces; impressive. There were 3 basic rooms, all connected by open walls, but clearly 3 separate rooms. The room right off of it, was a wirey grid like sculpture/instillation that touched all four walls and each point met the wall, at the middle area of each wall. As if you stood in the center and picked a point and spun around, and that's where it based itself. It's made out of aluminum tubing and paint, a 19' by 34'8" by 29'2" creation. You were invited to walk underneath of it, next to it, around it, anyway you wanted. It made the viewer involved. This topographical like grid is based on an actual spot near Bovet Island, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and the closest land is Antarctica. The third piece she had, titled, Blue Lake Pass, was made out of duraflake particle board and was several pieces next to each other to create an overall shape. There were 20 of these pieces, 4 by 5, in rows; it reminded you something of computers and a virtual reality, which makes sense, because it's based on a topographical map of terrain from the Rocky Mt.'s back range. This artist used the gallery space in quite an impressive way, and from here on, I was sure there wouldn't be anything cooler, based upon the last gallery visits we were required to do.
Moving on now....
The next gallery space I entered was the Andrew Rosen Gallery, which was showing Bruno Taut and Tetsumi Kudo's work. Bruno's work consisted of a few colors, the basic primary colors and maybe a couple shades of green too. In the first little room were 3 photos on the wall of primary colored sky scrapper and you looked past into the second, bigger room and noticed an actual glass building thing, just like the ones in the photos. There was a yellow, red and blue set of glass wear that was all hand blown glass, including the sculpture building thing in the center of the room. Along the wall in the second room was several framed white paper cut outs, over top of white, which made no sense to me, and i was bored. So the 2ND gallery space was work by Tetsumi Kudo and an instillation by Richard Tuttle. Kudo's work was just colorful prints, spray painted and imprinted patterns, that looked somewhat 3d. Bright oranges and greenish yellows, flower patterns and hearts. In the same room was the instillation by Tuttle, which was a shitty flower pot deal with shitty flower substitutes coming out of it, that was a dildo and a mannequin hand, etc. Anyway, the last space in this gallery had sculptures made from cigarette butts and just straight cigarettes, and a drawing so accurately done, it seemed like a photograph. The drawing read, "I'm smoking" and was spelled out using hand drawn cigarettes and dollar bills. Then I bounced out of there as soon as I could, to move on to more galleries.
The next stop was to see James Turrell's work at the PaceWildenstein Gallery. His work was boring to me, I spent a total of 3 or 4 minutes in there before I left. His work was big framed, holograms, that had different light fixtures shining on them, so when you walked away, to the side, closer, further, the light changed and so did the image that appeared in the actual frame. Interesting idea, but it was boring. There's only so much time you can spend starring at light shapes on a wall.
The next gallery was the Lehmann Maupin Gallery, which also was lame. The photos were done by Juergen Teller, called Paradis. Photos of ancient Greek sculpture with two naked women posed next to, sitting, or standing with the sculptures. One woman was much older and the other, much younger. I could see the artist was trying to have a comparison and a contrast between the figures, flesh and stone, young and old, body parts next to each other, real and unreal. I wasn't drawn in, and my attention faded soon as I saw the first photograph.
Next we have the Andrea Meislin Gallery, which was found on the second floor of the building, and you had to weve through the hallways to find it. The exhibit, Look at me: Photographs from Mexico City, by Jed Fielding, was creepy. Seemed like every person in each photo, either had a disfiguration, was blind, or...... had some type of disfiguring. It was weird to look at and I didn't spend too much time in there, because it made me feel uncomfortable.
Also stopped in at the Sundaram Tagore Gallery and checked out the work by Joan Vennum. The paintings were like landscapes, formatted out of a dream sequence, with blending, warm and soft colors. Made you feel like a perfect beach day or some open windy field with tall grass, or bunnies.. It was pretty but, it was just pretty.
A gallery we weren't required to see was the Winston Wachter Fine Art Gallery, showing Ed Cohen's work, The Nothing That Is Not Here. Which was brilliant and random, very colorful and happy, but also had a dark feel in some of the works. Solidly painted canvases with a multicolored drips and splatters in a specific pattern in the center of each painting. Kind of like that cardboard box and marble thing, when you put a piece of paper in and roll the marble around in paint....anyone? Goes back to pre-school. This was interesting to me, because I love the drip technique and I usually paint with my canvas laying flat and this is how he painted too.

Friday, September 18, 2009

rigo 23

I wasn't really sure what I saw, if it was an instillation or just part of the building design, but somehow missed the name. I thought it was an interesting idea to have the prison bars and the little cubby/jail cell deal, it gave you an opportunity to walk through and I couldn't help but think, I'm glad I'm not in prison. That stairwell made me claustrophobic.

Dead Cat

I wasn't sure what to expect about the film before we watched it and also after we did watch it. The whole plot and the characters were all little strange, and the fact it was an older film also helped create that creepy, weirdness about the movie. I wouldnt watch it again, but I am glad i saw it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This damn video won't play

My first reaction was that she used "like" wayyyy too much and I knew from that moment, this would be something entertaining. Like, I was like, soo stoked, to like have like seen this video. The way she imitated American influences of "like" everyday stuff was quite amusing. She emphasises on certain words and drags them out and the slight accent every now and again creates such an obnoxious tone, and her silly mannerisms make the video much more pleasing to watch. Now, I can get almost the first 5 minutes before the video shuts off again and goes back to the beginning, so I will have more to comment on after I can figure out how this crap works.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The New Museum

Probably, the only thing I liked about my adventure to the New museum, was the 40 block walk there, (sarcasm), and then the Irish bar we stopped at because we got there before the museum opened. Oh, and the child size spider man umbrella I took out of the trash since it was down pouring.
The design of the building itself was pretty cool, the inside not so much. I started on the 5Th floor and the German video with English and Chinese subtitles or something was making me fall asleep. The only thing about the 5th floor show was the view out the window and the color of the room.
The fourth floor, Intersections Interested: The photography of David Goldbalt, was okay. I felt the message(s) or the pattern(s), whatever, was too obvious and repetitive. I didn't find it really interesting, and if it's photography, then I don't think it should just be fields and trees, with bridges, and the only pattern was black and white, then color, black and white...then color. And through time, older, and newer. It was boring and draining.
Now, Emory Douglas with his Black Panther prints, were just bam! in your face! I didn't really care about about seeing the rest of the show, after I had stared at the big blue wall sized mural with a black panther kid across it when you walk in from the elevator. Hello, I got it. Over and done, moving on now.
Probably the most interesting part of this visit to the New Museum was located on the ground level with work by Dorthy Ionnene. Lioness, which derived from Deiter Roth's pet name for the artist, was a show that had a lot of sexuality and was the most intriguing show in the Museum. Her works were in first point perspective and had a great quality of freedom of expression. They subjected to a severe censorship. The pieces, "I am whoever you want me to be," and "I love to beat you," were my favorites. The images were straight forward and cliche and by the way, huge vaginas. Despite the gross sexual content of this artist, it made me laugh, both the orgasm video and the paintings, but it still made me feel like my 8 bucks wasn't worth it!