Sunday, February 9, 2014

phase 2 redux - observe the laws of equivalent exchange

      ...doing fine, thank you, I would say,
      never knowing how to talk about what I do. 
      If I could talk about it, I would not have to do it. 
      I make art, sometimes I make true art, and sometimes 
      it fills the empty places in my life. 
      Some of them. 
      Not all.
                         ― Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane [Audible audio edition]

"Unhope," charcoal, graphite and ink collage on paper 

gold ink in the eyes

Hypnos (Sleep) Roman, 1st - 2nd century AD,
copy of a Hellenistic original, from Perugia,
in the British Museum:

It started out as a poppy, the flower of Hypnos
(and the design on Hope's blindfold) but it turned into
a pink rose (subliminal Valentine's leakage?)
I'm proud of the way the transparent layering of the
hand and the bowl turned out :)
With Hope's wing - this will become part of the same scene
Francisco de Zurbaran, Saint Apollonia,
oil on canvas, 1636, Louvre,

Testing out a new technique for this relief sculpture, 24 x 24," engraved polystyrene, then spray painted,
 then stained with the new Golden
high flow acrylic, 
then marker. 
The texture in the owl reminds me a little of decalcomania
like in  the cloak and headdress in Max Ernst's 
The Robing of the Bride (detail), 
Peggy Guggenheim Collection,Venice
The funny thing is -
I photographed this after 
making the sculpture

and fish
little snow leopards and an optical illusions at the Central Park Zoo
and parrots - more parrots
I went to the Met to see pieces by William Kentridge,
William Morris, and Antonio Canova (all wonderful!),
but I just couldn't walk by these without stopping -
read the label - Faberge - Mmmmmm

side ornament on a clock - I see more wings every time I visit the museum

It started off as sort of a dark week. When I heard that there would be another foot of snow, I did the mature thing and sat on my floor and cried (Thank goodness Feline Assistant and Feline Assistant Junior are here to keep me company!) Then there was the rejection packet - I get these frequently,but maybe it was the snow or the darkness that made this one seem especially brutal. There was no postcard, no note, no "....more qualified applicants than places; we're delighted and overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response; wish you the best in your future endeavors..." - just the return of my materials in a self-addressed and self-stamped envelope. Then I read about this incident of online bullying of an artist  - :(. Shortly after, I discovered that musicians don't get paid for performing at the superbowl. (?!? - Can you imagine the athletes getting told by their teams: "You'll get lots of PR, which will lead to endorsement deals, so we're not going to pay you..."). At one point, I even felt like the president, a former college professor, was making fun of me (for studying art history.) I couldn't listen to the radio news from Geneva anymore. 

I unplugged for a few days and spent a wonderful day in New York, photographing at the zoo, visiting the Met, and spending time with lovely friends. 

How does this relate to the project? I've had some time to think about what's been bothering me about the Hope. Even though I'm happy with it on a technical level, I feel like it's missing something content-wise. Maybe it's too straightforward - there's not enough between-ness yet, and that's why I'm reluctant to consider it finished and take it down. 

I was thinking that one way to bring more "between" would be to add a second figure - the inverse of Hope. I've been thinking about "Hope" vs. "UnHope" vs. "Hopeless" (...bear with me here...) going back to the Alexander Pope quote from a few weeks ago, from the Essay on Man: "Hope springs eternal in the human breast; Man never is, but always to be blessed: The soul, uneasy and confined from home, Rests and expatiates in a life to come." 

One of the things about Pope's description of hope that bothers me is that he seems to looks at hope exclusively in terms of time, as the projection of a positive future. I think this leaves out a spacial dimension of hope. For example, who hasn't hoped that a loved one far away is safe and well, in the present, in some other place

I decided that the thing the time and space aspects of hope have in common is the element of absence. I came up with a definition of "hope" as "a positive attitude toward something that is absent."
 I love color-coded charts, so I made this picture to illustrate :) 

By this definition, there are at least two inverses of "hope," because each of the defining aspects, "positive," and "absent," can be changed independently. 

So, the goal for the Hope piece will be to bring more between-ness by adding the figure of "Unhope" (instead of "Hopeless" - phase 2 redux - exchange!). Unhope's main qualities are "present" (represented in time by the goldfish, and I'll use a map as a cloak to show space), and "positive" (the rose).

Stay tuned... :)