BA Group Exhibition, Fall 2016
When: December 6 - 16, 2016
Where: S. Tucker Cooke Gallery, Owen Hall
Opening Reception: Friday, December 9, 6-8:00 p.m.
Gallery Hours: 9:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. Monday - Friday
All events are free and open to the public
This group exhibition highlights the very best work from each graduating senior's culminating portfolio. Both the exhibition and the portfolio are the culmination of each candidate's work toward a Bachelor of Arts degree.
In On Photography, Susan Sontag focuses largely on the role of photography in society, ultimately writing that photography is not about taking images of inherently beautiful things. Rather, beauty arises from every moment the camera freezes. In my work, I focus on exactly that. I take the still timeless experiences that many people pass up without taking a second glance - the moment that, while the subject may not be intrinsically beautiful, captures my eye from the potential of its beauty, which my camera then allows for everyone else to see.
In my work, I chose to shoot with black and white film. To me, black and white film always demonstrates the beauty of its subject in a way that neither digital nor color images have the ability to capture. At the same time, film seems to get down to the basics, which is the primary focus of my work in which I look at the decrepit situations so many people pass by just to go to work every day. I hone in on these specific occurrences in places such as the River Arts District, Townsend, TN and an abandoned fire watchtower in order to remove the surrounding context of the settings my eye believes will become aesthetically pleasing to an audience once translated into an image.
Artmaking for me is a process that provides a lot of comfort and helps me cope with the stressors that life can bring out. Upon analyzing the effect of making art, specifically sculpture, has on my personal well being, I became inspired to look into the concept of self preservation and explore this in my work. I take great interest in people’s anxieties and their sources of comfort and how they cope with these issues. Introspection is an important process that individuals must go through to understand their own self as well as human behavior in general. A lot of my work is inspired by my own anxieties, methods of self preservation, and sources of comfort.
Most of my work is made out of fragile materials such as unfired clay. I believe that clay aesthetically has a life to it which is why I coat it in silicone to give it more of a delicate and figurative quality. I am inspired by human figures, skin, and how people change over time. To me, uncontrollable forces such as the changeable nature of everything and entropy is a source of anxiety as well as comfort. This introspection, exploration of human behavior, and acknowledgement of instability is important for growth and knowledge and my goal is to convey this through my work.
“Homesick for something phantasmal”
It is a sentimental longing for the past, sometimes it’s subtle and other times it connects us on universal levels. It’s in our culture. It’s our music, movies, and it’s all around us. As humans we often grasp to a time or place with various feelings attached.
My artistic process begins by retrogressing into the past through an artistic lens, recalling times that are meaningful and recreating them with traditional drawing methods.
But, how do frozen images simultaneously trigger nostalgia on both the artist and the audience? What does the artist do to create new, standalone pieces?
My body of work lets me explore my own story. It’s the familiar faces that spark memories that fade into darkness. It’s my family, friends, the movies I love and the music I listen to on repeat.
As an artist, I hope to express nostalgia through my work and let it become a quilted blanket of memories that warms the viewer during more modern, colder times. They’re part counterfeit, part genuine; but whatever feeling they evoke, we hold onto what feels real.
Chuck Close once said the face is a road map to someone’s life. I explored this by focusing on faces. Looking into each one, you’re able to see their experiences, recall your own, and appreciate the aspects provided in the human form.
I want to recreate the captured moments that are frozen in time and let their essence transcend the image and take their full shape through drawings, regardless of the veil of illusion that homesickness really is.
My concept is focused on dual personalities and the second self through the portraiture of chimera and personal reflection. As humans, we are ruled by two selves that help guide us and make decisions. We are often fearful of the idea of a second self. Used in literary sense to convey the thinly veiled desire to extend life. The second self is often seen as the “evil twin” in stories of cloning and doppelgangers to express theses dual portrayals of good and evil. They are also seen when two entities mesh and become one. Using clay, fibers, and bronze I have created a series of pieces that attempt to represent the split in my perception of these personalities and have focused on the abnormalities and inner fear of nature. We have this sense of the person we want to be and who we actually are. I see this dual sense of self-represented in life and death. The person we want to be often strangles the person we feel we need to be. I concentrated my work on aging and falling apart. While I find beauty in the death and rebirth of nature I also struggle with a fear of aging with an incomplete sense of self. Through my work I have experimented with the dichotomy of being alive and dead at the same time. What does it mean to be complete? When do we stop fearing nature?
Mending Pieces: Creating Statements About My Personal Struggles with Needlework and Fabric
Situations that are extremely hard to talk about, are often easier to create art about. Through this body of work, a story is being told. The story of me, and my own personal fight with myself. Mending Pieces is about finding myself through the art that I am driven to make, and creating parallels through what I find to be interesting and important, and what I am going through. For the past several years, I have been struggling with severe anxiety and disordered eating habits which have brought on overwhelming feelings of guilt, depression, and loss. Through my art, I have found a way to cope, a light in the darkness, and hope. While my disorders have pushed themselves out into my art, intentionally or not, I have found it to be a way to talk about my extremely personal struggles without having to come out and talk to people about it on a face to face level. My use of store bought fabrics and other found materials relates greatly to the situations I have found myself in unwillingly, which have set me on this course. I have not found a need to limit myself to traditional drawing mediums while working through these ideas. The scale of my work is rather large, emphasizing the fact that I am drawing within the space using corporeal materials. The tangible, familiar pieces of fabric bring a contrasting view to intangible disorders like mine. The work I create with these materials is representative of my mind's reaction, how I came to develop anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder. Mending Pieces is more than just plush creatures and threaded portraits; Mending Pieces is a proclamation that I am owning my mind again, and I will make it my own once more.
My body of work in ceramics is achieved through the process of combining hand built and wheel thrown techniques with specific atmospheric firing methods. The repetition of vine-like patterns and textures carefully applied to many of my forms are a visual metaphor of humanity’s deep connection to nature. The vines are inspired by a type of pattern found commonly throughout nature known as the dendritic pattern, which is a fractalizing pattern similar in structure to that of a tree branch or a root system. Ways in which the dendritic pattern manifests in the natural world can be seen in the structures of lighting bolts, river tributaries, veins, brain cells, leaf skeletons, ice crystals, geological striations, and the list goes on… My process of applying dendritic vines to the surfaces of my forms is a symbolic exploration of the interconnectedness of man and the environment through a simple pattern that reminds us just how intertwined we are with our Mother Earth.
In addition to the patterns applied to my vessels, the aesthetic of my work is also achieved through the process of wood firing. Through engaging in a practice that has been used for thousands of years, wood firing my ceramic wares creates an outlet for me to connect with the primal spirit of humanity. Not only is the act of wood firing steeped in an ancient communal tradition, it also combines all four of the Earth’s elements into one process. Through utilizing raw materials from the earth such as clay and wood to create my work, the forms themselves serve as reminders to their every day users of how reliant we are on the Earth and its ever-nurturing elements to provide us with the tools and objects we use on a daily basis to survive.
It is well known that creating art can have a meditative effect on the artist, considering even the Washington Post wrote articles about it, but can it do the same for the viewer? My work aims to have this meditative response within the viewer. As someone who has had a difficult time adjusting to big life changes, I – like many people - find comfort in balance and symmetry. I want my work to create a similar feeling of comfort for my viewers, regardless of what they are struggling with in their own lives. To me, a “struggle” can range from the stress of everyday responsibilities, to issues much larger like anxiety and depression. According to numerous studies, humans find symmetry to be attractive. This likely stems from natural selection - as more symmetrical features in a mate suggest healthier genes – and then expanded to other aspects of the world we observe. According to the Gestalt Theory, we tend to organize visual elements into groups or unified wholes. Therefore, I find that symmetry is a fantastic tool to use to help the viewer reach a sense of balance. In a world where anxiety disorders –as well as other mental illnesses - are becoming more and more common, I find it important to attempt to offer some form of relief.
My direction for the process of this series of paintings has been abstract and expressive, with an intuitive flow of working in mind. They are a personal exploration in finding ways to be more experimental with ways in which I apply paint and manipulate paint on a canvas, wood or paper, while letting each decision or intuitive action be apart the image that unfolds. I have a desire to push the dynamic of how a form, object or image lives within a space. The push and pull of the painting and drawing process is a demonstration of balancing dualites internally and externally, reflecting on feelings from life and nature. I find myself attracted to juxtaposition portrayed with mixed media, photography, varieties of painting techniques or imagery or styles that create contrast and intrigue. My main focus became finding ways to create a surreal space, while also evoking mood or feeling with in a painting.
My solution has been to work with color, light, movement, texture, movement, layering of paint and collaging to achieve a surreal quality. Ultimately creating a greater depth of space, mostly reflective of elements of nature. Meditation, imagination and stream of consciousness influenced how each painting unfolds with a color field, expressive, narrative approach. Photographs of nature, plants animals and people influenced a lot of my imagery. I am attracted to layering, balancing and contrasting multiple ideas. In some works, the narrative element of form, objects, collage and drawings enhance a surreal atmosphere. Working narratively, has allowed my imagination and intuition to be be integrated more freely within the painting process. Working more expressively and energetically has helped to weave form better into the space it lives in. Juxtaposition helps to create a dynamism of everything living within, when trying to achieve the balance of push and pull. I enjoying the creative challenge of painting, drawing and collaging with in a space, with components that may not normally fit together to find a way for them to play off one another. Surrealism and abstract expressionism have strongly influenced my painting process.
Among the many art styles and movements I am drawn to, the paintings the contemporary painter, sculptor, art educator and scientist; Pamela Longobardi attract me. Very similar to being underwater or floating in the sky, there is an allure to the aura, calm, lucid and surreal nature of the way she paints space and juxtaposing elements within. I see similarities in her approach of creating space to the way Helen Frankenthaler applied fluid paint to raw canvas, while letting the paint soak in, as if she were staining or dying the surface. Longobardi’s water based media techniques feel intuitive, but with intention. Her stream of consciousness paintings and drawings have a very abstract, organic reflective of nature, humanity and of her roots as a scientist who studies the earth and ocean. In relation to painting, this is can be how multiple colors of fluid paint dry, after being poured over a surface area on a flat surface, as if one captures a moment. In nature, this can be the mystery, beauty or intricacy of the inside of shells, walnuts and plants or ghostly patterns left behind. In her paintings, the sun prints or blue cyanotypes she imbeds in layers, is a surreal phenomenological effect, resolved on a whole as a surreal space with mood or feeling I am very drawn to.
The Human Form and the Ways That Color Influences Perception
How does color influence the mind and impact the perception of a subject? The use of darker or lighter shifts of a color can affect the feelings a piece evokes while a change from one color to another can alter everything from the subject matter of a piece to a feeling of temperature. The human form is exposed to the elements, constantly absorbing knowledge on how nature feels and appears to us. As we age, our minds retain information associating color to certain objects, actions, ideas, and emotions. For example, red is known for retaining warmth and being associated with passion, flowers and blood, while blue is commonly associated as being cold; applied as a feature of water, wind, and sadness. We, as humans, are sociable creatures that rely on feeling emotions from each other, making the human figure the perfect vessel to showcase each color separately, identifying and highlighting the emotions each one signifies to us. This body of work plays on these different associations.
Some of my pieces focus on one color specifically illustrated into a body or representation of a human presence. The subject matter of the pieces reflects the colors in the ways that the mind perceives them at a glance, pulling out the likeness found in both human and symbols akin to the natural world. Imagery reflecting or possessing qualities that are directly linked to a color are used to aid in the perceived response. For instance, the color red is accompanied by the image of a rose and used to help the viewer think of beauty and intimacy. This body of work displays a harmony between color with each being their own piece but also being able to communicate as a group. The use of a figure incorporating each main branch in the color wheel is used to assist the viewer in their association of color to feeling, memory, and imagery.
My goal this semester is to explore the American Dream of the 1940s through the 1960s and the sense of nostalgia with which we look back upon it today. Through images collected from the era, we see a bright, shiny world of opportunity. Filled with rosy cheeks and young smiling faces, this glossy, highly-saturated depiction of mid-century American society portrays a nation bursting with success, prosperity, and happiness. In reality, these decades were consumerism-obsessed, rife with everyday racism, sexism, and inequality, making the American Dream available only to a select few who fit the ideal social class or status. When we look back today, these unfavorable aspects are often disregarded and brushed aside in favor of a more appealing recollection of the ‘The Good Old Days.’
By using collected images from magazines, advertisements, photographs, and other vintage ephemera from the era that I have amassed, I hope to bring attention to the lack of diversity and other typically ignored aspects of these years. I will create disorderly collaged compositions of carefully selected, related images from my collection. By employing the use of repetition and other marketing strategies often seen in advertising, I hope to relate the artwork back to the consumerism aspects of the era. I will transfer the composition to a larger format on paper, adjust, add, and subtract elements to highlight my intended message, and complete the drawing with colored pencil and graphite. I will then use gold, metallic paint and gold-flecked nail polish to further emphasize elements of the artwork and relate it back to the golden years of the idealized ‘Good Old Days.’
Through my art I inevitably explore the values of muck, and try to tackle the challenge of creating a sense of clarity within confusion. My art is a visual manifestation of my consciousness and a channel of communication. I aim to expose myself. At times I am embarrassed, maybe ashamed, of my vulnerability, but this discomfort drives me. Ultimately, I want to share the truth.I am a highly anxious person and my art is a reflection of my anxiety. My hands itch with anxiety, they crawl towards any sort of movement. I pick up a brush and I am lighter. Not only is this anxious itch due to a chemical imbalance, but it is also a reaction to my environment. Environmental and social issues haunt me, and the fate of the world truly worries me. My collection of work essentially represents my state of consciousness during an uncertain and frankly scary time in my life. It is bold, bright, and at times ugly. The muckiness builds as I try to find the delicate balance between clarity and confusion. I view this muckiness that I create as a manifestation of my own feelings layering on top of each other until they are indistinguishable. It is my depression, my anxiety, my traumas, my love and my fear. My peers have seen me at my rawest moments and have traveled along the creative journey with me. I now hope to share my journey with as many people as I can. I yell to the world, “you are not alone.”
My goal for my dinnerware sets this semester was to explore a few design principles that govern traditional Japanese aesthetics and reflect them in my pottery. These principles are Kanso: simplicity, Fukinsei: asymmetry, Shibui: minimalism, and Seijaku: stillness. These ideologies are applied to many Japanese practices including martial arts, calligraphy, ikebana (flower arranging), and creating zen gardens. I am especially drawn to how these principles are used in Japanese calligraphy, and I am representing them in my pottery. In most Japanese art, these artistic “guidelines” are used to create a sense of natural flow and a feeling of peace but also instilling large amounts of discipline. I have found that these principles started to develop naturally in my ideas and preferences, so I have been exploring them further and applying them more directly. While I am exploring Japanese aesthetics and applying them to my work, I also wanted to find my own personal “style” through shape and glaze experimentation. Making forms that fit well in my hands and throwing shapes that appeal to me satisfies my creative need to make art for myself, and with it being pottery, there is a functional aspect to the art that I really enjoy. Because of this, people will be able to interact with the pieces that I make in a more intimate way. I want to throw forms that not only am I proud of, but will hopefully find their way into someone’s home to be used and loved for many years.
Humans have been getting body modifications for centuries, but that has not stopped the stigma that is, to this day, attached to those that have them. Tattoos date back as far as the Neolithic era, or around the fourth to fifth millennium BC. The first written reference to the word “tattoo,” or “tatau,” appears in the journal of Joseph Banks, the naturalist aboard Captain James Cook’s ship the HMS Endeavor in 1769, where they explored Micro Polynesia, Fiji, and the Samoan islands.
While these sailors were on their voyages, they embraced the practice of tattooing as a way to remember the places they had been. Unfortunately, when they returned to Europe that behavior was seen as inappropriate and as a rejection of their own western cultural values. This disapproval was made stronger by religious missionaries who also traveled to the pacific islands, and viewed the indigenous practice of tattooing as scornful and barbaric. These missionaries used violence to push their biblical ideologies on the indigenous people, using Leviticus 19:26-28 of The Bible as justification. The quote reads “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks on you.” As history progressed and the practice of tattooing spread, it became a part of “sideshows” and used as identification for criminality and mental illness.
Even in today’s society tattoos are viewed as deviant, and even more so for women. As a woman that is significantly tattooed, I have experienced negative judgment from people solely based on my tattoos. The stigmatism surrounding tattoos is a very personal one for me, not only because I have them, but because I grew up in an environment that embraced tattoos and because of this I have a deep appreciation for it as art. I know that this is not a popular outlook, so I want to challenge the assumption that tattoos are not a legitimate art form, and I hope to do so with my series.
I believe that the process in which I am creating my series reflects my concept because I am challenging the convention of what qualifies as art. I am creating pieces in the style of tattoos, and blurring the definition of art so that they can be one and the same. By using traditional flash tattoo techniques, I am showing authenticity in what I produce and further pushing my concept.
My process began with doing research about different styles of tattoos like Japanese, American Traditional, Neo-Traditional and the art of tattoo flash. A tattoo flash is a tattoo design drawn on paper or cardboard, and is typically displayed on the walls of tattoo parlors. Then once I had a better understanding of what differentiates different styles of tattoos, I did research on the seven deadly sins as a theme for my series. I chose to incorporate the seven deadly sins because of the religious relationship that comes with the negative view of tattoos. Some of the things I was researching was the definitions of the sins and different types of symbolism, such as color associations and demon pairings. After I was done with that portion of research I thought it would be helpful to have a firsthand account on how flash tattoo art is made, so I talked to my uncle and other tattoo artists that I know to help me get a more personal understanding of their process. Once I had gathered all of this information, I came up with a rough vision for each piece in my series and planned them out in my sketchbook. I wanted to make sure I had a plan for each piece before going into it, so I could really focus on using my time for actually painting my pieces. When it came time to start a piece I would quickly sketch it out in pencil on watercolor paper. After I had completed a rough sketch, I would go in and clean up my pencil lines, and arrive at a definite drawing. Then I go over all of my pencil lines with black ink markers. Once I have completed the have completed the line work I often add some black shading using a technique called “spit-shading”, which is how tattoo artists add shading to the flash tattoos. When using spit-shading you have 2 different brushes. With your color brush, you lay down a line of black paint. You then grab your water brush, dip it in the clean water cup, pull the excess water off of the brush and use that to smooth out the color. The final step is to go in with my liquid watercolors and add color on top of the black shading and in the white spaces.
As stated earlier, I grew up in a tattoo - friendly environment, which helped me find my greatest artistic influence, my uncle. My uncle is a tattoo artist, and when I was younger, I would spend a lot of time in his shop. I was able to learn a lot about tattoos and all the hard work that goes into creating them, so I held an appreciation at a young age. My goal with this series is to share this appreciation for tattoos as a legitimate art form, and challenge the stereotypes of tattoos in society.
Christine Braunberger. "Revolting Bodies: The Monster Beauty of Tattooed Women." NWSA Journal 12, no. 2 (2000): 1-23. Accessed October 18, 2016. http://www.jstor.org/stable/4316734.
Thompson, Beverly Yuen. "Sailors, Criminals, and Prostitutes: The History of a Lingering Tattoo Stigma." In Covered in Ink: Tattoos, Women and the Politics of the Body, 21-34. Accessed October 18, 2016. NYU Press, 2015. http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt15zc80j.5.
Thompson, Beverly Yuen. Covered in Ink: Tattoos, Women, and the Politics of the Body. NYU Press, 2015.
With this series, I am exploring how to illustrate a dream using layouts, techniques, and dialogues that are often found in graphic novels and comic books. I will be doing this through a series of acrylic paintings on wooden panels.
Since I was a kid, I’ve always had an interest in illustration and comic books. I love the idea of developing characters that reflect my own personal thoughts and emotions, and I will often base physical aspects of my characters off of myself or people I am close to in reality. I think a narrative portrayed with images is one of the most powerful ways of telling a story. I have also always loved the fantastic and impossible, and these are themes that occur often in comic books that I wish to always incorporate into my own work.
Comic books and illustrated storylines have been a huge part of human culture all around the world since the 1930s, but comic book precursors can be traced as far back as cave paintings, ancient greek mythology, and medieval broadsheets. The so-called Golden Age of comics started with Superman in 1938 and was followed closely by Batman in 1939, two of the world’s most popular superheroes today. The Silver Age brought in superheroes with some kind of weakness or defect, such as Spiderman and the Hulk, and introduced the Justice League and the Fantastic Four. The industry in the 1970s focused on experimenting with color and page display, as well as form and stylistic details. The Iron Age of comic books introduced the revolutionary theme of superheroes questioning their own sanity and focusing on their own mortality, and actually brought about the death of numerous superheroes like Captain Marvel, Superman, and Watchmen’s anti-hero, Rorschach. Today, Marvel has become a multimedia entertainment company, and superheroes in Hollywood are bigger than ever.
This series will consist of eight to ten different sized wooden panels painted with acrylics, and will tell the story of three main characters that are trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world destroyed by a certain melody that drives people mad to the point of murder whenever it is played. The characters in this dream world will attempt to learn anything at all about this killer tune, unaware of the fact that they are in a dream. As the story unfolds, they will slowly recognize the real from the impossible, although ultimately the line between fiction and reality will remain blurred until the end. I plan to present this using darker, dull colors in the first scenes to illustrate nighttime turning to dawn and the decay of a post-apocalyptic world, and brighter, more vibrant colors as the story progresses. In order to capture the intangible blurriness and fantastical feeling of a dream, I will use acrylic paint in the style of watercolors for many of the panels. I will also intertwine the use of text and image to aid in the telling of the story.