From the Studio

thoughts on art and process in action from a contemporary artist

Feet on the ground, starting to run

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It has been a awhile since the last update.  The first jumble of moving in and starting to find my connections to SFAI has settled.

Today was spectacular. Last night I attended a visiting artist lecture by Raashad Newsome.  He’s awesome.  Intelligent, open, collaborative, exploring interesting cultural and artistic juxtapositions… just fantastic.   Using cultural gestures and conversational exclamations to score music in the style of chamber music in live performance pieces.  He conducts the pieces, and at the same time uses a wii and his own programming to mix video live into the performance!  Genius.  Exploring conceptions of “high” and “low” society and mixing them up, abstracting them together… then taking them around the world to see how they inhabit other cultures.  Brilliant.

So- I loved his work, immediately liked him, and then I got to have him come over for a studio visit in my studio today!  I just wish we’d had longer to talk, but it was a good talk and he liked my work.  He immediately struck me as the kind of person I would be great friends with.

I also had my first session with my tutorial class professor.  She’s really a great fit for me.  She asked good questions and gave me new things to look at, but she also really got my work and appreciated it.  I have no doubt she will push me harder  in the future and I look forward to it.  I love being challenged by someone who’s really good and who is really in proper communication with me.  She can also handle my whole range, which is impressive- tech things, installation, painting… she’s very versatile and has a well of knowledge and experience worth tapping for it all.

When people miss most of what I’m doing or saying and give me less than useful feedback on my work based on not understanding me or my work there is little to get from it.  There’s always something to get though.  For example:  “this is a lesson in how to manage discussions with certain kinds of people”, or “your work will be read in this way sometimes by certain people: how do you deal with that and to what extent is it them, to what extent is it you and does it matter enough to shift your work?”.  Everything is potentially useful, but some much more so than others.

Following studio visits I got a load of lumber for a new project I’m experimenting on.  I’m also convinced that it’s time to order materials for another one I’ve been planning for a few months.  More tech in both.

In the meantime I’m chipping away at the Pieta- there are many layers to go.   I also (finally!) found what I think will be a great hair photo source for the Mother.  I dragged an art history MA student from my Critical Race Theory class and took photos of her hair the other day.  People are often bewildered, but generally willing  thankfully.

Looking at the image of the painting  on the screen I see I let the left side of her face get too light and I definitely lost something in the left side of the smile.  I knew I was losing it but it was getting forced so I had to stop and return to it later.  The smile is hands-down the most delicate part of creating this piece.  Fortunately I get to go back into it tomorrow.

Last Friday I did a bit more with my quick painting of the woman in the B52 bomber.  It doesn’t fit into my body of work, but I really love the image- love the juxtaposition of the woman and the machine.

So… work is picking up and I’m very happy with my decision to do this MFA program.  The people it is putting me in contact with are an incredibly rich resource.  The access to visiting artists and artist/curator/critic faculty is great, but the connections with other students are not to be underestimated.  I’ve been meeting some wonderful fellow students and having some great conversations.  I’m pleased, and the art path continues.

In the meantime, Identity Tapestry in LA came down last Tuesday and more photos will follow.

Written by Mary Corey March

September 21, 2012 at 9:53 am

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