From the Studio

thoughts on art and process in action from a contemporary artist

Archive for the ‘work in progress’ Category

Spring Shows and Events!

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     April 19th:         Open Studios 12-5PM   2565 Third Street (between 22nd and 23rd), SF, CA
                                   
May 2-4th:             Print Show at Mullowney Printing   933 Treat Street, SF, CA 94110

                                    * Opening on Friday the 2nd.

     May 14th-18th:      PRINCIPAL:  SFAI’s Graduate Thesis Exhibition


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SFAI Graduate Open Studios: http://www.sfai.edu/openstudios

This is your chance to get a peek into the process.

Navigational Tip:   There is an entrance at 22nd street.  Go to the second floor.  Every Orange door on the floor is an SFAI facility. 

I am in Bay C (just to the right of the lounge) in a lovely corner spot in #7 in the back right. 

I will send out more information on the second two events as they approach.  I hope to see you at the Open Studios!  I will have an interactive piece running in the studio as well as a Participatory piece you can contribute to.

The Grid and the Weave

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disrupted grid1smIn entering a new media I’ve given myself the focus of concentrating on the abstract forms of the Weave and the Grid in an exploration of the digital and the organic, order and disorder, structure and entropy.  I’m also sticking to plates of a 18″ x 24″ (the size of both the largest acid bath and laser bed.

I’m LOVING this project. It’s very freeing to explore ideas in a purely abstract form.  So far I have 3 laser-cut plates I’m happy with (one etch on acrylic, one grid cut out of acrylic and one block out of MDF).  I’ve also hand-carved a weave in wood.

It’s so refreshing to enter a new media without knowing the “rules” of that medium.  Today I experimented with adding ink in gestural marks onto the plate after the nice clean layer was put on with the roller. Once it goes through once and then gets rollered over again you get this gorgeous ghostly watercolor look (in the dark grey layer here).  I’m also loving adding string resist into the work.

So far I have around 30 individual pieces, many of them still getting layered up.  I’m not doing nearly identical “editions” in the convention of printmaking.  I don’t see the point.  Each of these is absolutely original.  I’ll be painting over some of the ones I’ve printed on canvas, sewing through them… there really aren’t limits to this.

The next plate that will enter this mix will be on copper- layers of cloth texture in soft ground, spit-bite and hand etching a delicate weave.  weave2sm

Written by Mary Corey March

March 15, 2014 at 10:26 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

social fabric

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photo(7)Write Me for Art continues… I tested out a new fabric for the machine text today.  Or tried to.  Funny how sewing machines can cause sudden fits of swearing.  Embroidery machines are another level of complex, and therefore a lot more obnoxious (especially when many different people work on them and do who knows what to them each day).  That said, I think the fabric is a perfect fit for the project.  Second round of text-size adjustments.  I still don’t have single correctly printed statement yet, but I think I’ve found the right size, embroidery method and fabric.  Whew!

Mail for the project trickling in most days.  I love it.  There is something so wonderful about getting actual, physical mail.   I have postcode-stamps from New York, San Francisco, Vermont, Portland Maine, Iowa, Chicago, and France.  So far just French and English, but I’m hoping some of my Spanish ones come back (I did  some instructions in Spanish and handed out a fair few.  I think I should make a Chinese one for passing out here because That would cover the three most spoken languages in SF. So many statements!

One thing that has surprised me is the similar feelings that people chose to share- even with less than fifty so far there are some distinct trends.  The hand embroidery goes slower now that the semester has started but I’m pretty pleased with the results so far.

In other news it seems like I have an exciting commission piece coming up in the summer- a new Particapatory Installation that will take place over the course of years.  So exciting!  It’s wonderful when you are so on the same page with someone that you don’t even have to ask the question “am I willing to sacrifice my artistic integrity here?”  Something I tend to say No to as a rule.  I’m flexible and good at fitting ideas into harmony with mine, but outright against I won’t do.  This project is exciting enough to be a little distracting, but knowing it will be there waiting for me in the Spring is a wonderful feeling.

Written by Mary Corey March

October 7, 2013 at 9:01 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

Backstage

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photo(7)So tonight I passed out more envelopes for “Write me for Art” backstage at the Opera- to all sorts of people from the top of the production down- makeup dept, dressers, chorus and others who will remain unsung as it were.  I’m very pleased with this project so far.  I’m getting new mail coming in every day from all over the country and outside it!

I’m enjoying the exchange with people when they see me working on the project (as at the Opera) and ask me about it.  I then get to explain and hear their reactions and give them an envelop.  I like having people actually see the care that I put into each person’s words as I embroider them so that they know how their words will be treated.

I made sure to pass some out at the airports in Chicago and New York, on the planes, in the shops…  I pass them to waitresses and cab drivers, on buses…  wherever I can to as many different kinds of people as I can.  So far I’m personally passed them out in Vermont, New York (twice), Chicago, New Hampshire, Boston, and SF.  Friends have taken them to Chicago, Iowa and Maine.  I’ve even gotten one or two in strange envelopes from out of the country which may have begun here online.

I do not want to comment on the sorts of responses I’ve gotten and how they relate to the project, but believe me, I’m thinking about it plenty.

Tonight I also started blocking out the files for the machine-embroidered versions of each response.  As I get more responses I’m starting to get images of how I want to put them together as an installation.

PS: If you were wondering how or why I was backstage at the Opera it’s because I’m on stilts in the SF Opera’s production of Mephistopheles.   I’m a supernumerary , which is the Opera way of saying “extra”, but we get called “supers”, which I love.  I did it because I can and because these are the things that feed my art- a life rich with varied experience.  In this case I think this particular stilting experience may have spawned a new participatory piece- I’m still thinking it through.

*If you want to be included in “Write me for Art” follow the link.

Written by Mary Corey March

September 21, 2013 at 10:33 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

Colors

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redsMore dyeing today for Identity Tapestry.

I love working with dyes- in some ways it feels like oil painting- layers of color changing each other, relating each color to the others.  Over-dyeing (dyeing one color on top of another) gives you so much depth and variation in each color.  Love it.

Now I have to balance everything out, fill in the spectrum.  For this one I’m going a little heavy on the greens and blues (I always do a bit because we see more shades of green than any other color and because blues are the most common favorite color.  In this case I feel like it will fit the setting of Vermont.  I also want to be sure not to neglect browns for this one in particular.

After this I spend IMG_3035a lot of time attaching the yarn to the rocks and then (with some help) winding the yarn around each rock.  Time consuming, but important to the piece.

Written by Mary Corey March

August 21, 2013 at 10:33 am