Tag Archives: aib

Last-ish Mentor Meeting

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Still from Rental (Requesting Backup), 2015.

 

Oliver and I had a meeting this week. Highlights included: a bee attack and a tuxedo cat.

I refer to it as our ‘last-ish’ meeting because we’re keeping communication flexible for the remainder of the semester. If we decide to have a formal meeting before the final report is due, we’ll do it, otherwise we’ll just have ongoing Q&A. Oliver feels I’m in a good place, with a solid body of work (he has no outstanding concerns or worries). Now it’s just a matter of getting there and finalizing the installation on site.

Things we discussed:

  • Oliver felt the Margaret Atwood poem I posted to the blog is relevant and intriguing–the tone even references the layering of the voiceovers in the newest edit of Rental (Requesting Backup). He also found it interesting that the poem was written around the same time as the beginning of the end of the Hollywood western, and at the height of pre-cable TV culture. Atwood’s characterization of the landscape is coexistent with the works I’ve sampled…
  • In fact, Adam 12 itself is a ‘western.’ Most of the programs I’m using are conceptually and territorially ‘western.’ The wild west is Hollywood.
  • The new edit of Rental (Requesting Backup) maintains the same sense of panic, incoherence and anxiety, but flows much better and the voiceovers are more consistent now.
  • It might be interesting to consider presenting the paintings with a glass or plexi surface, using L-clips. The slicker ‘screen’ could perform well in the installation.
  • He said I should anticipate a few questions about nostalgia, during the defense or the talk. Consider what I like about the works I’ve appropriated, what 70s nostalgia means, why is it so easy and seductive in the 21st century. What are the personal memories and is nostalgia intended?
  • We discussed Sigmar Polke, David Salle and James Rosenquist, all artists I’ve looked at, but which did not get covered in my thesis or talk. I lamented our inability to address all of our major influences with the respect and coverage they deserve.
  • He suggested I can finish the newest painting(s) and video(s) or not. If they happen, they happen. If not, I have enough material already.
  • The thing that keeps returning to Oliver as the most interesting aspect of the work is the different ways this TV landscape is viewed and received. He said he’d especially like to see me hone in on the way TV landscape was foreign to viewers like him (or Matthew Meyer and others I’ve talked to), but that it was a real place to me. This is ripe for more exploration, maybe even with more autobiographical meat. Since our program downplays the biographical, I am more free to dig deeply into this in future iterations of the project. He also sees the project as ongoing, taking new forms over time. Where the personal or biographical intersects with landscape is interesting. There is a distance between the way viewers like Oliver saw this landscape and the way I saw it… He has said several times that I need to return to these places myself, in the future, and do more work with images and landscapes born from these encounters. Specifically autobiographical could be okay.
Still from Rental, Requesting Backup, 2015.

Still from Rental, Requesting Backup, 2015.

The most current Google Street View of the fire station. From 2014. The one I cited in my thesis has now been displaced to our cultural archive...

The most current Google Street View of the fire station. From 2014. The one I cited in my thesis has now been displaced to our cultural archive…

 

 

Rental (Requesting Backup), Version 1.4

Rental (Requesting Backup), 1.4 (2015) from Ren Adams on Vimeo.

The new version of Rental (Requesting Backup). I made a number of changes and improvements to the late-middle and ending of version 1.3. Rental is intentionally chaotic, the least narrative of the video series, but I did make a few adjustments for clarity, including both audio and video manipulations.

 

Catalog Photos

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How Johnny Discovered the Secret Air Base, 2014. Acrylic and watercolor on Lenox 100. Photo: Pat Berrett.

Stills from Elevator (Finding a Way out of Here, I Hope) and So I Asked…

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Mojave Superchase, 2014. Digital View-Master reel. 3 1/2″ diameter.

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Roy and the Mojave Subsequence, 2014. Acrylic and watercolor on Lenox 100 paper. Photo: Pat Berrett.

Finding a Way Out of Here…

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In my previous post, I mentioned I’ve been working on images for the exhibition catalog, which involved over a thousand screen captures sampled from my video works. In collecting the high resolution set, I nabbed a number of compelling moments from my semi-narrative worlds. Here are just a few!

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Mind Maps and Theory Icebergs

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I don’t normally make outlines for pieces I write. When dealing with complex information, I do mind-maps and wild zero drafts, which each have a constellation of “side notes” and “extracts” that move forward, parallel to the paper itself, as I weed out eliminated material. I save all of this and continually mine it for future works.

Below are three mind maps I made for my thesis, which take on the role of the annotated outline.

The theory mind map is the densest of the three. I see the theory as a vitally important foundation and I recognize that much of the theory mapped below will be reserved for a future social theory text, and therefore left out of the visual arts thesis. I also see the theory map as a series of icebergs. Though heavily detailed in my “backend” superstructure, only the tip of each iceberg will actually punch its way through into my thesis, in order to highlight or support discussion of the actual artworks. It is important for me to fully flesh out the theories, as a theory-based artist, though the structure of the MFA thesis dictates discussion of the physical works takes predominance.

The Installation
This mind-map addresses which aspects of theory attach to which of the three specific mediums. It also outlines which of my influences (and their specific works) attach to each train of thought.

Click for larger (readable) image.

Installation 1.1

The Theory

Since I’m a theory-driven artist, the theory map is the largest.  As I mentioned above, it was necessary for me to flesh out the sub-structure, even though only the highlights will punch through to the thesis. The rest will be reserved for a future text on social theory.

Click for larger (readable) image.

Thesis - Theory 3

Single Idea Map – Primal Media Forensics

This map shows a detailed “dig” into just The Hunt segment (from the theory map), which turned out to be incredibly important in supporting the reason for my interdisciplinary approach. Believe it or not, this ties into my actual discussion of the installation as a whole. This is just a map of how all of the parts I researched relate to one section.

Click for larger (readable) image.

The Cascade, the Hunt, the Search

I will be submitting these mind maps, along with a thesis ‘latticework’ to my adviser this month. I will share the zero draft latticework when it is ‘complete.’

Thesis Semester, Engage (10-4, Rampart)

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A more connective, centralized install, featuring videos front and center. The videos would be displayed on separate televisions, not a laptop, but this arrangement opened discussion into the relationship between the painting and its video counterparts.

 

My thesis semester has begun…

Fresh from the January residency, crit notes in hand, I face a synthesis of work and research, method and methodology, text and talk.

I had the opportunity to show the interdisciplinary elements of The Cascade – Moments in the Televisual Desert in several configurations, the last of which is highlighted (rather informally) in this post. A tightened space, slightly reminiscent of an entertainment center, invited the most connective read of the work, but the installation is not yet resolved. This semester’s studio component will allow me to finalize the most logical install. 

By and large, viewers felt the project was 90% complete and visually & conceptually fascinating. Most found the work contemporary, rich and relevant and enjoyed (or at least understood) the interdisciplinary approach. Dissonant responses mostly suggested focusing on one medium, rather than employing an interdisciplinary approach.

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One of the more linear installs, featuring the Viewmasters on a separate podium.

I also had the opportunity to show the video works in two time-based screenings, as large-scale projections.

For the first screening, I presented three of the “episodes” without context. Viewer response was compelling and surprisingly on-target, even for those unfamiliar with the project. Responses suggested a pervading sense of panic, time-ambiguity, doubt and narrative denial, recognizing an unstable televisual space where actions and reactions occur in a wormhole-loop. Other responses included a sense of confusion (what the hell is happening?) and recognition of color palettes and recast characters as iconographic moments.

The longer screening allowed me to briefly set up context, which actually led to fewer comments and questions after the showing. Perhaps the setup explains everything left confusing (or tantalizing?) in the original works.

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Screen cap from “Rental (Requesting Backup”

 

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My info “station,” featuring bibliography, works from previous semester and other vitals.

Though I’m not required to write an official residency summary this semester, I did excavate my residency notes, crystallizing a “road map” for my own backend use.

In a nutshell, my academic component is centered on writing the thesis and artist talk, completing any necessary (additional) side research, polishing my defense and practicing my performance.

The studio component will deal with resolving the installation, completing a third painting for the series, digging into the digital imaging (and true stereoscopy) and working through a few additional video episodes and presentation strings, in dialogue with my final mentor.

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Time-Based Screenings

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If you’re attending the Spring, 2015 residency (or if you will be near Lesley University) this January, please do stop by the screening for our program’s video art and film folks. I will be showing So I Asked…, Elevator (Finding a Way Out of Here, I Hope), Rental (Requesting Backup) and Encounter.

Monday, January 12, from 4-6 pm.

Snacks. There will indeed be snacks.