From the Studio

thoughts on art and process in action from a contemporary artist

Archive for the ‘process’ Category

Playing with text

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As we revisit memories they degrade and change and become confused. The time and place one is in now will flavor that memory. This was an exercise of writing “memory” over and over in different handwriting styles which each evoked different times and places for me. Gradually the meaning of the text itself is lost.

I seem to have become a text artist, at least in part.  Today’s offering is me playing.  I need to play more.  A lot of amazing work can come out of it.

I took a fantastic class last semester entitled Tex(tile).  It dealt with Semiotics, fiber art, fashion, symbols as text, text in art and fashion, metaphor in fiber techniques and materials… it was fabulous and right up my alley.

This semester I’ve got a text art class “This is a mirror, you are a written sentence” (after the text art piece by Luis Camniter) exploring text in art both in the studio and in reading.  I am also taking my first proper printmaking class at the graduate level.  It made sense since I’m interested in the reproduced, evolving, reinterpreted image/text and the craft/art/high tech juxtopositions.  Printmaking was high tech and is now almost craft as a medium (in the sense that these things can be automated, but we do them this way for a certain human texture, process, pride in work, quality, etc.).  The results of any process can be art, medium has nothing to do with it.  Printmaking also has a history of text mixing with image.

I’m going to continue on my large scale projects, but I’m going to make a point of playing with smaller scale ones.  Also of doing some painting and drawing more often.  One thin I’m looking forward to about printmaking is that it combines drawing and sculpture so neatly.  If you paint multiple colors/washes onto a plate you even get an element of painting too.

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Written by Mary Corey March

January 28, 2014 at 1:36 am

Winter Play

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IMG_4049It’s too easy to forget while immersed in the incredibly serious and surprisingly rigid world of educated art practice and commentary how important it is to PLAY.

During the holiday I made a snow woman (the little one is my daughter’s snow-child and the space alien thing is my husband’s).  The simple act of making something purely for the fun of it brought back all kinds of creative ecstasy that I’ve been missing in the studio.  I had an hour and a half of freezing fingers and smiles until the snow got too soft and wet and I had to leave it alone and let the detail go.  That feeling of having to be almost physically torn away from one’s work… it’s been missing.

Making something for the joy of making, even knowing it will melt tomorrow- this feeling must not be forgotten.

Mind you- I love intellectual exercise too.  I love delving into concepts and history and experimenting with ideas and thinking about how to get the participant/viewer to reach certain points… but it’s not the same as simply playing and finding out what will happen.

Play is important.

 

 

 

 

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Written by Mary Corey March

January 8, 2014 at 11:48 pm

Pulse Project

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I’m finishing up my sound installation.  componantsI can already see a richer, deeper version of this piece.

The base of this one was a very elegant instant hack.  I got one of my daughter’s clear play dough (not the brand, but the thing) containers where the dough had dried out utterly and cleaned it out and did some strategic trimming.  Perfect!  it looks like it was made for a base.  I was able to use some of the vellum from my other project as a diffuser for the base as well (which will also disguise the wires).  So fast, so perfectly neat.IMG_3778

The audio files are all converted and ready.  The pulse meter has been a bit on the evil side and we’re replacing it with a new one which should arrive today.  The air does not have a pulse of 220.

On the whole, so far so good.The show is open to the public Wednesday at the Lab with the actual opening on Thursday evening.

Written by Mary Corey March

December 4, 2013 at 12:19 am

Collecting Stories

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An interesting venture indeed.  So I’m determined to not just ask friends (easy), but it was clear early on that this was a much more difficult kind of participation than I’ve ever asked from people before.

I’ve been going around the city on my normal rounds- the yarn store, the playground with my daughter, the cafes, the hardware store, art supply store, etc. and collecting stories about “an SF moment” from people in and around those places for the sound piece City Pulse (San Francisco) going up in the LAB.  Thepiece involves collecting little San Francisco Moment stories from people in the city. I then take their pulse and

I left the story collection towards the end because I was more worried about the technical and sculptural aspects of the piece and I thought the participatory part would be easier.  No.

tools tools fabricThe microphone looked like a taser to some people- very threatening.  The pulse meter seems to be equally threatening- medical devices are just scary.  This is a huge barrier if handled badly.  I almost wan to crochet them little wooly jumpers to make them more approachable.  Something about fabric instantly tools fabricdisarms and comforts cold technical devices.  I started carrying both these and my extra batteries in a little transparent cloth bag and that actually seemed to help (transparent process, softer, easier to get to quickly, etc.).

In “Write Me for Art” it’s so approachable, so soft.  I generally give them to people after they’ve seen me embroidering for a few minutes.  Then I can explain the project to someone clearly interested already.  This one is so much less visual at this stage that it’s harder to get people to engage.  Getting participation becomes and art form in itself.

It’s funny, so far the stories seem to circle around the Haight, the Castro, and random naked men (even when I’m taking the stories in other places).  There is something about the Castro and the Haight that say SF more than anywhere else.

I’m excited about getting the piece all together and seeing it up and running.  This is so different from other work I’ve done in terms of materials, but very close to the heart of my work generally.

…and for tonight, more embroidering a landscape of San Francisco!

And for tonight… more

Written by Mary Corey March

November 30, 2013 at 8:23 am

Write me for Art, floating…

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french letters Life in the studio goes well!  I had hit a bit of a slump, but getting these actually in the air the other day to see what they felt like was a great step.  Once I work out some technical kinks (heavier paper, attachment methods, different adhesive to hold together the envelopes…) it will just be a matter of doing it.  The embroidery continues and I will continue collecting responses for “Write me for Art” until the the new year.

All is going well for this project and I have decided that it will be my MFA thesis show piece at the Vernasage show this coming May.

Speaking of shows, I will be in a sound art show at the Lab during the first week of December, opening is on Thursday the 5th.  I haven’t shown you this piece in progress yet, but perhaps you’ll get a peek soon.

 

Written by Mary Corey March

November 23, 2013 at 5:12 am

machine text

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machine testsRound three of the machine tests for “Write me for Art” has finally yielded some results I’m happy with!  More, I did some sample parts for covering/framing the machine embroidery to give it the commercial, generic, electronic device (+ voyeur?)  feel I’m after.  This half of the piece I’m now very pleased with and I feel like I can keep going from here knowing what I want to do.

Yesterday I was still really wrestling with how I wanted to install the hand-embroidered work.  I met with another fantastic lady and got some great feedback.  It’s funny how it’s rarely a case of someone offering a suggestion that I then take- never that I can remember.  It’s more that when certain people can’t connect with a piece or aren’t seeing what I want to pull off it tells me where I need to connect, lean, etc.  Sometimes it’s just explaining the piece to a new person and the way you need to explain it to them (as that person rather than some other person) helps concentrate what you’re really after and guides you to a better method.

In this case I knew I wanted people to be surrounded in the space by the handwritten ones.  I wanted them to have a presence like a crowd of people.  I wanted you to walk through them and encounter them, look them in the eye, look again, not see the writing until you found a new angle.  I’d been wrestling with how that would happen.  Now I think I found a way to do that.  The exact detail of how I physically attach the written part to the forms I want is still in the air, but I’m nearly there.  With fiber, every method has history and symbolism.  Just doing the most practical physical method may not be the way (though it could be).  I have to think of the connotations of different methods and their visual impacts.

Written by Mary Corey March

October 17, 2013 at 3:56 am

Broad Strokes

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*a continuation of the “Write Me for Art” participatory art piece.

I had a very productive talk this afternoon with an awesome lady in my studio today which led to me figuring out the broad strokes for the “Write Me for Art” installation!  I’m very pleased.  Sometimes no matter how many times you’ve asked yourself certain questions, the right person at the right time asking the same question can be the tipping point.  In this case the combination of her lecture on the Text/texture/material (fabric), the encounter, fetish, surface, intimacy… in conversation with structuralism and post-structuralism primed the studio visit perfectly.

Sometimes I need someone to suggest something that I know instantly and instinctively is Wrong for the piece.  When I step back and answer to myself why it is wrong it gives me a better idea of where my subconscious has been going and I can unpack it and name it better.  Then I know where I am going and why.

In this case one thing that had been a stumbling block was somehow thinking I had to keep the computer text and the hand embroidered text together.  I don’t.  I want to treat them totally differently and so it’s okay that they be physically removed from one another within the space.  It also makes people search a bit, make the connection of the identical responses themselves rather than having it spelled out.  They get to make the relationships.  I learned other things too.  None of which she suggested to me (even indirectly), but the conversation helped get me into a space where I could define things.

The part of this project that was hanging over my head and making me drag my feet a little is cleared.  There is plenty to work through still (and plenty of physical work to do), but the broad strokes are there now.

 

Written by Mary Corey March

October 11, 2013 at 9:44 am

Machine tests

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machine test2Here is the second test for the machine-embroidered text in the “Write Me for Art” piece.  If you’re just joining me here, I’ve been passing out envelopes to people all over with personal questions inside.  They answer one question in their own handwriting and send it to me anonymously.

I then hand-embroider the response in their handwriting.  I will also be doing the same words all in machine handwriting.  I’m still working out different ways to program the embroidery, the font and ways/sizes to do it, the fabric, etc.

This is the second proper test on the machine.  It failed midway, but it showed me enough to go on with.  The poly satin used on the wrong side has the artificial and shiny qualities I wanted, but it’s pretty damn squirrely under the machine which can make the writing and fabric irregular.  We’ll see.  There may be something that both works better with the machine and has the visual qualities I’m after.

I’m also have tempted to leave the machine’s little working lines in there, and am considering hiring someone to do these once I have the process down.  Just as the ones I am personally hand-embroidering using the actual handwriting are full of attention and touch I want these to be on the other side of the scale, so removing myself entirely from the actual making once I have the process set might fit into the piece.

Written by Mary Corey March

September 30, 2013 at 5:14 am

My studio is Haunted

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I’ve been avoiding my studio.  I only realized it today.  I had plenty of excuse to work at home and wherever I was, so I did.  Now I know that it’s haunting me.

It’s full of work which is not alive to me in this moment.  I need to get the finished pieces out of my field of view for now.  I need to put some of the unfinished work that isn’t in my immediate path aside while I work out new ideas before it tugs me off course.  I still intend to finish those pieces, but with one year left to my program I want my focus to be entirely on new ideas rather than wrapping up the execution of old ones.

“Execution”.  No accident to the double meaning there.  To finish a piece that is already in your mind, where there are no more surprises… to me that is the execution.  It finishes the piece, but it is also robbed of life that way.  Where is the space between creation and execution?

I need the process to stay alive throughout the arc of a piece.

In the case of the studio I need to move all this to some other storage space so that I see possibility instead.  Blank walls and space for the new ideas to take shape.  Laying here in the middle of it, the walls feel heavy to me.  They pull on my mind when it wants to be light and nimble. The new art I’m making in my mind is so different from what is on my walls (more traditional work- the participatory installations are all ephemeral, aquired and elsewhere or in storage).  The work that is the least where I’m at right now is most in my space.  That is why I have been staying away- I felt it’s influence on me and rejected it without thinking it out.  I cannot start making tht new art in this space while the other art is in here.

Even just staring at blank walls helps me create.  When they are blank white even the scale disappears.  I can draw on them with my mind and go through a thousand sketches before I even lift a pencil.

…now where can I get a truck and some storage space I trust?

Written by Mary Corey March

September 20, 2013 at 3:57 am

winding

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winding process

Progress on Identity Tapestry #8 (a participatory art installation).

It’s not just dyeing hundreds of individual colors (right pile).  It’s carefully tying every one to a stone and inconspicuously securing it with fabric glue (what is laid out on one chair and draped over the other).  It is taking all those attached stones and spending hours (hopefully with friends) winding them around each stone.

The next part involves threading them through the basket-form and securing them.

Yes, this is a labor-intensive piece, but it’s worth it.

I fly off on the 13th to install Iteration #8 of Identity Tapestry at Southern Vermont College.  The first permanent installation of the series.

Written by Mary Corey March

August 26, 2013 at 11:43 pm