Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Phase 2b - take time for meaingful rest and reflection, update

 For me, the hardest part of Tempus Fugit hasn't been coming up with time/space principles, it's putting them in to practice (isn't that always the way?) - so, in spirit of principle 2b, I took Sunday and Monday off to visit family and relax (but I still made some art.)

I made this tiny print early in the week.  I'm liking this new process of tiny block printing so much that my initial instinct was to cut more blocks (I like multiplicity, the materials cost less than $1, and the finished product is easy to store, so it was hard to resist), but keeping 2b in mind while still holding on to 1, I decided to make more work, but in a way that used and reflected on what I'd already made.  Result:
 I had plenty of time to reflect as I tried to teach myself embroidery.  The theme is in keeping with my focus on mechanical vs human copying - the map is product of mechanical reproduction (it's a map of LA from AAA), the houses are hand pressed relief prints, a fusion of human and mechanical copying, and the poppies are handmade using embroidery, which I thought was fitting because it's based on a repetitious motion which still leads to an individualized result.  As for the content - poppies are the state flower of California (a real place), but "fields and fields of poppies" also feature in the Wizard of Oz, (an imaginary place). I find the distinction between 'real' and 'imaginary' spaces to be fuzzy, since all maps show imaginary places in a sense. I love maps - they turn a place into a picture, so, of course, I'm a fan, but I don't actually trust them because they fix a place in time, which makes them destined to be inaccurate.  My grandfather loved maps and knew a lot about them.  As a little kid I would sit with him with a book of maps and ask him to show me all the "fake places"  There are lots - places that were never real, (clouds on the horizon), places that were real, but not really land (icebergs), places that were real, but not really where they are on a particular map (numerous islands), places that were real, but couldn't be located (Antarctica appeared on maps, then disappeared, then reappeared), places that were real, but now are gone (Krakatoa).  One thing I think I absorbed from this is that no matter how beautiful or official looking the map, it might still be wrong, and repetition of a place on multiple maps is no guarantee of accuracy (which is a worrying concept in reference to wikipedia). So while I like maps as pictures, I don't really believe in them. 

In other news - I saw a moose! Exciting, yes, but how does it relate to art? I use a lot of animals in my work, and while I work from lots of different sources (anatomical charts, photos, skeletons) I always try to circle back around to working from life. Lately, I've been thinking how research also falls under  the "preparation," heading, and it's about time for me to study some animals. My new location has proven very accommodating: I've seen deer (lots),  bunnies (lots and lots), chipmunks, squirrels, birds, frogs, salamanders, and many types of birds on my walks.  Fortuitously, this week was also the county fair, and both animals and carnival are on my "things I like" list.

In keeping with the animal theme, I also had a very timely visit to an exhibition "Rewilderment" at TSL gallery in Hudson, NY featuring artists Sarah Falkner and Ryder Cooley. To me, the show highlighted the use of animal remains as products, which the artists tried to reinvest with spirit through art; so that by becoming art-objects, the remains gained acknowledgement as once-living beings. I'm going to have to keep thinking about that one, but I thought the show was moving and aesthetically interesting, and if art that leads to thinking is good, beautiful art that leads to thinking must be even better :).