Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fall Semester 2010

So it begins...the last year of the MFA program. A hectic summer of 10 credits leaves me with 12 to go before graduation. As it stands it will break 6 and 6 over the two semesters. That is of course if I survive the extracurriculars of this semester.

During my time here at UND I have worked hard to stay active in the academic theological world as well as start to build a quality artist CV as well. This fall will continue that trend with shows, lectures, travel, and conferences. At times it feels overwhelming with the amount I have to do to get to where I want to go, but at the same time with the encouragement of friends, my beautiful wife, and faith that God has created me with these two passions of art and theology I keep going.

Upcoming Events...
This week I have had stuff taken to Valley City University for a show arranged by Linda Whitney (a UND alum) whose daughter Jess I now share office and studio space with. The show will be of current UND graduate student work and will include an artist talk and panel discussion the day of the opening. The show will run from 9.1-9.30 with the reception on 9.24 from 4-5:30. If you are in the area please stop out to see the show.

Next week I will also be hanging work for the month of September at Amazing Grains here in Grand Forks. I think Amazing Grains is one of the stops on the GF area Art and Wine Walk as well to be held on September 18th from 1-5 pm. I will be showing a number from my Elevator Series. Its great to see them framed and sitting together. Until now, I had only framed a few pieces for other shows.

I will also be at Dickinson State University in Dickinson ND for the NDUS Arts and Humanities Summit. Faculty and students from across the state come together to showcase their research. UND's Department of Art and Design will make a good showing with a good number of students and faculty presenting. I will be presenting a paper called Embodying Theology: Theological Reflection and Artistic Practice. Essentially it is a reflection upon the theological backgrounds to my artwork and how those trajectories emerge within the work. I will also be co-presenting with Prof. Kim Fink on the collaborative printing for visiting artists through Sun Dog Multiples.

In November, the printmaking folks here will be heading to New York and New Jersey to give an artist talk at the Printmaking Council of New Jersey as well as printing for the recent Guggenheim recipient Daniel Heyman. While in NYC we will hit various museums, galleries, and of course the IFPDA Print Fair.

And somewhere in there, visit PhD programs, apply to PhD programs, and of course fulfill my 6 credits of studio work just in time for my all important 2nd candidacy review which basically lays out the direction for the final exhibition needed for graduation.

Im tired just typing all of this.

Better get to work.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer Work VI

Another batch of lithos. This group is a random collection unifying theme or direction. These first 2 prints are variations of each other and the one table top photo icon from my earlier postings.

The next two images modify Ben Franklin's famous statement that (insert whatever) is proof that God loves us. This takes that statement and pushes it into geography and patriotism and comes out as another intentionally arrogant pro America statement. While those of you who know me or my comments on the blog know that I would hardly be considered patriotic, the statement seems to hover between reality as something you might see on a t-shirt and just being over the top. Its one of my favorites...not so of my lovely Canadian wife.

The 3rd print is one Ive been talking doing for a long time of the fly-over states. The fly-over states, if you dont know are the states that most people only see from the air as they pass from one side of the country to the other. They make up a rather irrelevant and unrecognizable lot to many Americans. This print intends to highlight that attitude.

Summer Work V

This series continues the line of thought from the Religion as a Chain of Memory series in an alternative direction. There are 3 pieces in this series, but it looks like I forgot to photograph one. The prints contain an embossing of the state/province, 4 color separation portraits, local maps, and a regional landscape. The images are then chine-colle'd onto BFK. They are intended to be folded like an accordian (but i have not gotten to that yet).

Summer Work IV

One of my continuing experiments has been with light and translucence of materials. My original hope had been to have these back lit with a light box of sort but the work and cost of producing that many light boxes quickly shut that door. I continued on with printing on various Japanese papers measuring about 24x39 which I then covered in wax to increase its translucence. This first is a Van Dyke on Mullberry which ripped horribly but was salvaged with cheesecloth melted into the wax. It produces a unique scarred look. The next few images are cyanotype images which normally have an electric blue color. These were toned to produce a more subdued eggplant hue. There is also one detail shot of a preliminary means of display. The intent is to have the image floating 4-6 inches from the wall.

Summer Work III

This series offers a twist to the previous postings. Maintaining the form and materials I made the iconographic dimension more explicit. I also began to experiment with the Ziatype process. The transitional piece uses a vintage photo of my father writing home during his 2 years stationed in Germany in the 50's. The small cyanotype is of an old home. The next image is of my father-in-law and the third, my brother-in-law. I shot these images this summer on our trip home to SK. These last two, and likely the third in a less literal way, are about place and the dialectic between humanity and the land.

Summer Work II

Another set within this series on panels deals with lost vernacular photos as objects and the severed memories associated with the photos themselves. This series has a tentative artist statement associated written below.

Somewhere hanging delicately between subjectivity and objectivity, memory functions. More than simple recall or a mental rolodex, memory is constituent of our very being. It informs. It orients. It is the deep well of our imagination. It can be shared and it is in perpetual reform. Within this delicate and mysterious dance, photography’s process and product enter as curious partners of memory’s fact and fiction, accuracy and distortion.

The photographic object spins out a silvery thread linking a past moment to the ongoing present. Our awareness of such is what Barthes’ called startling prick of the punctum, that historical moment of the shutter snapping open and closed allowing light to pour in and write its lingering image. That moment may persist for viewers today if they are able to wade through the flood of images that daily dull our senses, they may arrive at the alchemy of the photographic object itself.

While the punctum of time’s persistence may continue, the photographic object emanates from a particular context and set of narratives. And yet, while the remnant object retains its silvery thread to its referent, the narratives and contexts are often severed or unraveled within our vernacular photographs. Indexicality remains, but its context has been severed. In these lost images, mute strangers stare back at us. Objects become evidence of their existence but they are divorced from their story.

This body of work draws upon the interplay of memory, identity and the photographic object itself, while playing with traditional forms of Christian iconography and devotional altars. By re-presenting lost vernacular photographs through such wooden panels, it intends to impart a loose religious reading to both the lost photographic object and its referent. Heightening this religious sense are the photographic processes themselves. By utilizing hybrid or alternative photographic processes, it creates a curious sense of age and sentimentality. Coupling these paneled images with smaller cutout images continues my interest in the composite which encourages the viewer elucidate the connection among the cluster of images.

Summer Work

It has been a quite a while since Ive been updating this on a regular basis. This summer was... well... overwhelming. What was I thinking taking on 10 credits? I guess its the Dutchman within since the credits were free. So in that, I will not complain. And I did manage to make a lot of work both in alternative photo and printmaking.

I challenged myself this summer with moving the image away from the traditional mat and frame. The trouble then becomes how is it displayed. One direction I began was to work into a table-top icon or altar piece. These images combine a base with the images printed in either Van Dyke or Cyanotype on plywood.