Sunday, March 8, 2015

New Collage!

:) (!!)

New piece! 22 x 30" mixed media collage


wings and petals sewn on with gold silk thread - pretty and effective
(beauty over efficiency ;) )
loving the bees -
added blue to make the wings look transparent :)

A busy week here in Artlandia. I put the finishing touches on this, and I'm happy with the way it turned out. And best of all...I broke my "adhesive dependency"(!) - the flowers and wings are all sewn on with gold silk thread. It was more work, but I like the way the gold looks, and the pieces can't fall off now (not without a serious mishap).

New blocks:
um... so I may have gotten it backwards the first time (oops.)
I find certain moments of it funny - the tiger hungrily noticing the ants, the elephant not caring about the giant mouse, and the lion catching sight of the snail. Overall, I find it both beautiful and sad.

I've been thinking about why those articles (and more articles) from a few weeks ago bothered me so much even though much of the information isn't new to me (and I've been rationing my news consumption, at least until post-taxes.)  An answer occurred to me as I was reading more psychology/animal studies articles.

I spread my science reading out because I find the experiments really upsetting (don't get me started about the one with the baby monkeys and the soft vs. non-naturalistic mom monkey dolls - long story short - the baby monkeys died of despair while humans took notes [shudder].)

Another experiment I find particularly troubling concerns the concept of "learned helplessness." The idea is that if a creature is conditioned to believe that they can't alleviate their suffering through effort, they stop trying and don't re-try even if external conditions change. The destructive power of conditioning.

I think I worry when reading articles about the hopelessness of any given situation not only because the information itself is upsetting, but also because I'm concerned that the repetition inspires a response of learned helplessness.

This tangent does relate to this week's piece (promise!)

One thing I like about this piece is the way I think the darkness of the content unfolds slowly - the animals all have wings, but they're sewn on (an experiment?) Despite the presumed ability to fly, they're on the ground going round and round and round in a circle, as if they can't escape the conditioning of a vanished merry-go round. I sewed in the cables of the power lines to visually (and physically) create a sort of net over the creatures.

Considering disaster/learned helplessness, I've been thinking about some of the artwork that inspires me and why I'm drawn to certain things. After finishing this, it was looking kind of familiar...I pulled out my much loved Schongauer book:

The Ox of St. Luke (L), Griffin (Lower L) and the Lion of St. Mark (R)
all engravings by Martin Schongauer, late 15th century.

File:Giotto- The Seven Vices - Foolishness.JPG
Giotto, Foolishness, Scrovegni Chapel,
c. 1305
Giotto di Bondone - Scenes with decorative bands - WGA09284.jpg
Giotto, Scrovegni Chapel, c. 1305
(Haha, and I thought I was coming up with a "new" idea to add wings...) The solid blue with grisaille is partly inspired by Giotto's Scrovegni Chapel. 

Why these artists? It seems random - different times, different places - but I think it comes back to the idea of learned helplessness/
hopelessness in a way.

Both of these artist worked during periods of transition, while their society's way of life collapsed. I think that's part of why I'm drawn to them - even though everything was falling apart, they still made art that survived them. Maybe their work gives me hope that "an" end is not "the" end, but then I still wonder about creatures... [hmmmmmmm.]

Random photos of the week:
Feline Assistant Jr inspecting the progress
(and rubbing her face on the corner):
 "mine, mine, also mine - no other kitty can have this artwork"
Starting to feel a little "always Winter but never Christmas-y" (oy.)