Monday, December 5, 2016

An experiment with (fancy) garbage

 Work on the installation continues, and I started putting up landscape elements from the unicorn installation to get a feel for what it might look like with a landscape...but something is not quite right.

Over the printing table is a dry erase board, and each current project or element has a column, and in the column are bullet points of the steps (for example: "Arch" - carve, - print, - refine, -scan, - larger?). Under the heading, "Landscape," there is only one bullet point  "- ???".  It's been that way for over a month.

I know I want the figure to be surrounded by a garden landscape that uses my plant blocks, and I've been researching historic examples and taking photos of any elements I may still need (lots of random photos of grass and pebbles, haha). still wasn't adding up - something is missing. [doh.]

I think the reason has more to do with "why" than "how."  Even if I knew exactly how to build this landscape and had all the necessary blocks and supplies, there would still be a question of what it means.

One thing I would change about the unicorn landscape is that I think it's too simply pretty and doesn't reflect reality enough to connect with the viewer's likely experience of their environment. There is one contemporary element, a discarded lottery ticket I scanned, modified, and turned into a polyester lithography print, but I don't think it goes far enough to have much impact on the content of the piece.

To try to explain with a picture, I think there is a continuum for each artwork between it's relevance and excellence of form, and right now,  it's been aiming for where the X is, but, loving ambiguity and "between-ness," I want it to shoot for the star is, at the point where the question: "is this swatch blue or green?" leads to a mixed result.
This is a round about way of saying that with so much focus on how to make this, it was time for a pause to ask what/why? Conclusion: it needs more garbage.  But not just any garbage, fancy garbage.

I decided it's going to have seven pieces of garbage, all based on things I encounter in my walks, and each representing one of the seven deadly sins.  First up "Superbia," from "super," "above/beyond," and bia," "life" - thinking one's own life is beyond the lives of others in importance (sometimes translated "arrogance," but I think a more contemporary take on this might be narcissism.)  Iconographically, I settled on the Tower of Babel (based on a medieval manuscript version MS Hunter 371 (vol. 1): fol. 5r [Book 1]) and carved a small relief print.

Then I scanned it and turned it into the graphic for a fictional cigarette brand and designed a pack. I turned it into a polyester plate and printed it.

 I want it to have a few points of entrance - on the ground floor, the fact that there is (faux-)commercial garbage in the garden, and then beyond that the graphic, the text, and lastly, on the side I added a slogan in friendly-looking text in English: "Because if will never happen to me!"

I admit to enjoying this, a lot O:) .

With (finally!) some progress on the lower part of the scene, work also continues on the material for the upper part. I'm trying to build a system of modular blocks that can be combined to make different architectural forms (so, for example, with the addition of capitals and columns on the sides it could be an aedicule, or three of them could be placed side by side with pendant bosses between to make an upper frieze.) This 12 x 18" block has been, um, "challenging," [wrist to forehead - dramatic sigh], but it's coming along, bit by bit.

 In other news, "Winter Birds," is printed, framed, and up on the wall as part of the winter show at Gallery 46 until January - thumbs up!

As part of my mission to develop a series of square digital collages to accompany the installation, a new piece this week, "Ring around the Rosie" (which is the first to include the scan of the new initials block - thumbs up. Also, I didn't realize until seeing the photos together for this post, but it uses the exact same color palette as the figure, haha.)
"Ring around the Rosie," digital collage, 11.25 x 11.25" 
And last, but certainly not least, I feel like it's been too long since we had a puppy update! It's gotten harder to photograph her while we're out and about (both hands on the leash!), but I managed to get a good shot of her smile while we were in the conservation area (heart!).
My beautiful little bear is growing up!