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MFA Thesis – Televisual Memory and the Telescoping Fire Station: Landscape as Media-Memory Site

From "Foothill Incident,"part of The Cascade - Moments in the Televisual Desert

From “Foothill Incident,”part of The Cascade – Moments in the Televisual Desert

MFA thesis – Televisual Memory and the Telescoping Fire Station: Landscape as Media-Memory Site.

Adams Thesis 4.3 PDF 1 – standard PDF

Adams Thesis 4.3 PDF 2 Adobe – Fancier PDF with hyperlinked footnotes

Adams Works Consulted 3.3 – selected bibliography of works consulted, but not directly cited in the final thesis.

Thesis abstract:

‘Landscape’ is an active site of occurrence—a platform of media-influenced exchange. Reflected through televisual language, it offers a relative experience, tied to our sense of geography, time and shifting notions of history. The Cascade – Moments in the Televisual Desert engages TV-inflected landscape as a permeating condition. In this telescoping space, landscape conflates time and memory, location and topography, television and reality.

Rooted in a personal connection to Southern California, which permeates American television from the 1960s-80s, I hunt, excavate and deploy conceptual instances of the Mojave Desert and its entanglement with the real, the vividly scripted and the iconic. Mediated by television, Los Angeles County becomes mercurial, behaving as stage and script, environment and blueprint—a mythic, cultural hunting ground. This transitory televisual landscape informs our understanding of place and event, blurring fiction and fact. The Cascade arrests this instability as an interdisciplinary investigation: a hot-and-cool mosaic that asks viewers to seek, receive and connect.

Derived from a body of moments excavated from television, The Cascade suspends semi-narrative traces as elements removed from their physical location by the original filming and further removed by capturing and mutating temporal instants. The environments thus inhabit the actual, the imagined and the transient place of recollection—a collapsed space conflating personal history, geologic reality and cultural production. Using layers as an economical mode of storytelling (focused on suspension in the moment), I compress events and location into a system of surface-screens: layers provide non-linear depth and conversations between media offer different modes of viewing and consuming.

 

Introduction:

Through my multimedia work, The Cascade – Moments in the Televisual Desert, I offer a meta-narrative of the television mosaic and the act of watching and remembering. Populated by a vulnerable recast of heroes engaged in a kind of primal forensics, an endless hunt plays out across time-compressed paintings, through active, audio-infused videos, and via digital montage.  Viewers (and characters) investigate this unstable environment, traveling between media, events and their realizations. There is a pervading sense of déjà vu—such that television becomes its own self-haunting specter.

Television is part of our working memory-experience, blended with the ‘actual’ to form a ‘hyper-actuality,’ linked to experience and place.[1] TV itself enables an image of culture and history as an “assemblage of dissembled distances from the instantaneous present,” but the present is always rebuilding itself, revitalizing the once-old (Dienst 78), just as television cannibalizes its own history in a continuous present.[2] The space between the original filming, its presentation as cultural object, its excavation and manipulation, and its relation to past-present-future are part of this telescoping space. My installation is a way of enabling the elusive hunt, of sculpting the media-inflected landscape itself—taking it and its cast of characters out of the living room and into an elastic convergence-space. Theorists Byron Reeves and Clifford Nass claim “media equals real life…” that familiar, deflated distance between broadcast and reality:   “knowing that fiction is fiction doesn’t stop the emotional brain from processing it as real…” (Gottschall 775).
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[1] Philosopher Gilles Deleuze proposes that “when a film returns us to the scene of a room and we recall simultaneously another scene that took place there, there is an overlay of present and recalled, real and virtual, as if facets of a single image” (Deleuze qted. in Farr 23). Though Deleuze saw this in cinema, I suggest it also occurs in television and in our individual relationship to real and fictional spaces represented through image (moving and still).

[2] Archived and older television still exists with a strange vitality that eludes even classic cinema. The televisual past is renewed via the abundance and proliferation of specialized viewing (with growing veracity thanks to genre channels, Netflix and on-demand delivery). Television is a medium that contains its own history and frequently resurrects and cannibalizes it (Buonanno 21), thus televisual history is constantly mediated by viewing it in an endless present.

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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.

The Cascade(s)

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Los Angeles Aqueduct Cascades, Sylmar, CA. Near Foothill Freeway.

“Connecting images to images, playing with series of them, repeating them, reproducing them, distorting them slightly, has been common practice in art even before the infamous ‘age of mechanical reproduction.’ ‘Intertextuality’ is one of the ways in which the cascading of images is discernible in the artistic domain – the thick entangled connection that each image has with all the others that have been produced…”

–Bruno Latour, What is Iconoclash?

My third semester is now folding into my fourth, or thesis, semester at LUCAD/AIB and I’m in the process of wrapping up for the January residency. I will be shipping Roy and the Mojave Subsequence in late December and the video pieces, View-Masters and reels will accompany me in person.

My semester bibliography, thesis outline, and artist list are available under Papers.

The Los Angeles Cascades (Sylmar, CA)

The Los Angeles Cascades (Sylmar, CA)

“As we encounter the data cascade, each of us constructs our own personal mythology from bits and fragments of information extracted from the media flow… transformed into resources through which we make sense of our everyday lives.”

Henry Jenkins, Convergence Culture

This semester, The Cascade – Moments in the Televisual Desert (my interdisciplinary thesis) made tremendous headway and I have a clear direction for resolving the final moments of …Moments. 🙂 The residency will give me the opportunity to gauge ideas about installation and continued relevancy of its interrelated parts.

“…the crucial distinction we wish to draw … is not between a world of image and a world of no-image– as the image warriors would have us believe – but between the interrupted flow of pictures and a cascade of them.”

–Bruno Latour, What is Iconoclash?

I also met with Les Ann Holland, my second semester mentor, during November and brought her up to speed on the project’s progress since we last met. I’d like to work with her during my final semester and I’ll be proposing that to my final adviser in January.

Between the (technical) end of the semester and the beginning of the residency, I’ll be continuing work on the next video piece, Ambush, producing more digital stills, and practicing stereoscopic imaging. I’m also doing a lot of reading for the upcoming critical theory course and fleshing out side sections of research that were identified while writing my thesis outline.

Onward!

The Cascade(s) in Situ, Emergency!

The Cascade(s) in Situ, Emergency!

Digital Autumn

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Though I’ve mostly been focusing on video work, research, painting and writing, I’m still plugging away at the digital montages, developing new stills all the time as standalone pieces, and as fodder for future paintings.

I’m still using the digital imaging as a field of intense investigation, allowing time ruptures and even micro-narratives to rupture the painterly surface.

The batch of stills I produced in October and November were red and blue heavy, and I leaned away from my typical infusion of orange-pink-yellow to provide some visual variety, without losing the scheme of the digital desert.

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Some of them even pulled rather dark, and I allowed them to push the outer edge of my palette to see where the language was headed:

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See a selection of additional digital stills in the gallery

I’ve also quite enjoyed catching stills from my own videos, which themselves are composed of twice-removed captures:

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Major Decisions: The Narrow Way

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Besides being the semester mid-point, my 3rd-semester mid-term coincided with major changes in the final direction of my thesis project, The Cascade – Moments in the Televisual Desert. I plotted several distinct pieces that need to be completed before January and determined the final format and physical considerations of the last part of the triad: the interactive.

So, in addition to continued conceptual investigation, I grappled with medium, technique and materials in a direct way–clearing the “limitless possibilities” that were effectively making part of the project freeze, Hamlet-style, from too many options.

The three-part, interdisciplinary installation will include painting and video, which were already decided, but the possible format of the video, plus the final direction of the third element–the interactive R/W component, were still up in the air.

The interactive component had so many potentialities it became limiting instead of liberating.  I had built and cross-referenced output format lists, based on suggestions and investigations, which implied the third component could take nearly any form–from interactive fiction to downloadable apps–digital images on paper to responsive environments. I had also started down all of those avenues, experimenting without critically tying each output back to my concept.

I did some conceptual housekeeping, sweeping away techniques that did not directly communicate my concept and its ties to televisual experience (output formats like websites, phone apps and Processing referenced digitality flavored by the Internet, speaking less about the nature of television and more about the broader computerized spectrum of 21st century communication). Instead I zeroed in on a form of stereoscopy for the third component, which ties in to memory theory and physical interactivity, while referencing televisual memory on several levels. I’ll do a big reveal later in the semester, but it feels good to weed the garden of endless mediums! The interactive has become stereoscopic. If the stereoscopy does not hold up to more rigorous critique, there are several other formats that can be revisited.

Above: Completed Encounter video.

The video display has been narrowed down from a wild list of on-site projections, digital photo frames, and room-filling environmental shifts to a single monitor or system of multiple monitors which play the videos with out-loud audio on the main display. During the last residency I found viewers were split 50/50 on reception of the videos on a large scale or more intimate size. The larger scale referenced the black box of cinema and filmic language. The smaller scale referenced television. While it would be interesting to construct an enter-able televisual space, with multiple projections in a darkened room, I found that referencing television via the televisual screen makes the most sense, especially the more I’ve dug in to the differences between television theory and cinematic theory. The black box of cinema expects the viewer to sit down and focus on the language of film, much like the novel, which restrains, constrains and uses its own cultivated language–characters and locations are fully rendered in a lengthier window of time than your average television episode, yet it has a much shorter expanse in which to develop virtual relationships than a 24-episode tv season. It’s more complex than this, but in a nutshell, cinema is over-arching, encompassing. Television is episodic, fleeting, but builds a dynamic mosaic for interpretation. We engage with tv on different days, in different moods–but film is meant to be consumed in one shot, one specific length.

Television is a “white box” medium which co-exists in our personal, social and lived-in spaces. We don’t turn the lights down (unless we’re watching a filmic experience on television) to engage with it. Instead, TV occupies a light, lively room. We may pass in front of the box, doing chores, talking, temporarily engaging the screen, getting wrapped up in bursts of sound, snippets of dialogue… it is a medium of oral tradition, of mosaic image-memory, of fragmentary, flowing storytelling. It occupies more hours with us in our physical geographies, in our relationship to friends and family in location-situated space.

Showing the videos on a television-referent monitor as wormholes into time, space, memory, landscape, histopry and television makes sense. Even those who prefer to view television via Netflix or Hulu on computers or mobile devices engage with the media intimately, yet with an odd sense of passive control, small and close. In the white box of the gallery space, it makes sense. With lights on, the rest of the installation lit and occupying pass-through space… it makes sense!

My decision was influenced by discussions with fellow students, faculty, advisors, my mentors–and by viewing a variety of video art projections and installations in person, gauging my response to the physical display, as well as the response of other visitors.

I’d still like to experiment with an all-tv room, or with projections on scrims, but in my gut I know tv will show tv.

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I’ve also narrowed the way further. The sheer amount of material that was filmed in Los Angeles County between 1965 and1989 is staggering. I had initially limited the pool of resources to television, rather than the thousands of hours of cinematic references to the same geographic considerations, because I knew it would be overwhelming.  I also knew the inclusion of film would change the dynamic (and personality) of the language I would be investigating and the forms the project could take. Thus, I had to leave Soledad Canyon gems like Duel (1971) off the table.

These early decisions remain in place. However, the pool of available television is itself a massive, decade-spanning archive. I fielded hours of television time, watching, hunting, scouring, sampling, barely melting that formidable iceberg tip. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my reasons for choosing certain programs are systematic and (hopefully) logical. Even with the guidelines I set for myself, the archive was still too big and expanding too quickly (nearly everyone at the last two residencies has suggested additional programming, additional genres), so I drew the line. I’m not adding any more programs, as tempting as it is (and even as I constantly remember more episodes and programs filmed in these locations!).

I’m finding the ground much more fertile when my ever-expansive view returns home, focused and narrowed on the final stretch.

My crystallized, official schema:

Program Selection

1.) They had to be filmed in Los Angeles County during the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s (the heyday of LA County as the seat of American television filming).

2.) They had to be programs I had originally watched in their first (or partial first) run, or in syndication during those same decades (in-context viewing).

3.) They had to offer some kind of iconographic contribution to the project; the “paramedics” or the “detectives.”

4.) They had to be dramas (I excised sitcoms, cowboy serials and other programs early on, as the language is quite different–though I can see returning to investigate these genres in the future).

5.) They had to be programs I had actually enjoyed watching, or felt some obsessive compulsion to engage with. This is why, for example, Airwolf isn’t on the list. I frankly didn’t like it. This is important for the earnest angle, which leaves sarcastic critique at the door.

6.) I had to be a distilled, representative array, including highly recognizable works paired with obscure memory-traces (a la Douglas Gordon, Renee Green).

For the second half of the semester, I’m planning to complete the rest of the video set, which magnifies various tropes and locations, including Ambush, Airplane (Rental), Car Chase, Auto Accident, Secret Air Base, Sniper, Desert Fire, and Military Action – (titles not final). I’ll be working my way through these with my palette of clips and ideas, though some may carry over to next semester. Plus, I’m working on new digital stills (see the two this post) and I intend to finish the next 2-3 paintings in the series.

And, here’s Pink Floyd’s – The Narrow Way. For the hell of it. http://youtu.be/TJaj_2xsHzc

So I Asked… (Elevator)

Videos include sound (lots of subtle layers, too, so turn up the volume if you can!)

So I asked…

Elevator (Finding a Way Out of Here, I Hope)
– Combines “stop animation” style stills with moving action.

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Please note–Elevator is not functioning inline, so please visit my website to view the video. 

Peter Rostovsky suggested I consider new ways of dimensionalizing the television experience (which I applied to consideration of the dimensional nature of real and constructed space; in this case, the California landscape as mediated by now-historical television).

I collapsed, condensed, mutated, fabricated and re-contextualized images that were formerly stills. Suddenly things were moving, deepening and expanding my dimensional palette. Elements were disintegrating, breathing, dancing–full of renewed agency. My landscapes were alive–and they weren’t just looping!

I treat the video work the way I handle the creation of digital images (and painting). I develop and respond, investigate and rebound.

During this process of bound and re-bound, certain characters entered the elastic-space as freshly refined icons. I was intrigued by their presence and obsessively pursued their emerging “selfhood.” It made me think of how, in the beginning, I only wanted the bare landscape in my digital desert. I had originally dumped precision details, but vehicles, individuals and even interior spaces crept into the mix. As Tony Apesos pointed out, I’m repopulating the gradually-emptied landscape phenomena, which has been losing specific objects and people since the 16th century. It’s curious, potentially frightening (and exhilarating).

The inclusion of people as part of the video cadence also flirted with narrative, which, as many of you know, has always been intentionally elusive or denied. Here I emphasized the almost-narrative by allowing moments to rhythmically rebound, but keeping with my larger concepts, the resolution of story is always denied.

I’ve been reading a ton of television theory and I’ve discovered fascinating ways of digging into the idea of mosaic and montage, implied space and the passage of time. Each video is intentionally meta-referential. Certain clips, moments and colors are allowed to cycle, forming choruses that seem familiar, yet always shift. Just past the bridge (thinking in musical terms here), a set of layered clips are allowed to temporarily emerge, only to fall away without returning.

The sound is a carefully composed layered blend of recordings I did on a Zoom Microtrack, combined with television audio and ambient noise.

I feel like an alchemical-archaeologist.

Investigations in Video

I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks doing intense research and sourcing materials, output formats and software for the studio work. I’ve also done a lot of screen captures and video clipping, prepping a new arsenal of raw material for the semester.

Some of what I’ve been working with are moving edits and clips, recontextualized via splicing, editing, formatting and blending. This is a rough idea of the tip of the iceberg:

I can’t wait to see where (and how) it transforms!

I’m also experimenting with time, color and surface quality in the clips:

Expect a TON of new iterations and excavations as I really dig in to the mutli-part components to this project. I’m treating the rough, raw video as painterly expressions…

Resolved – Digital Desert Painting

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It’s finished! The photo above leaves something to be desired, so I’ll shoot some better versions when I’m able. It’s already packed and ready to head to Boston.

A few detail shots:

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I’ll gauge whether or not additional pieces should be developed after critiques at the June residency–but this investigatory painting seems to have broken new ground that I am dying to excavate in tandem with the digital video projections and digital hybrid imaging.

It’s resolved enough to bring along for discussion, but paintings often invite revisitation, so I hesitate to call it truly “finished.” 😉

Here it was a few days before completion. The upper and lower left corners are not as resolved here:

 

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Semester Summary – Spring, 2014

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Ren Adams
Lynne Cooke – Advisor
Semester 2 Summary – Spring, 2014

 

My digital hybrid investigation, The Cascade, marked an important pivot point in my work—significantly changing my method and methodology. It grew from a sideline experiment into my core thesis, which examines the transient nature of virtual, social geography and the time-stripped environment of digital elastic-space. My work this semester was therefore centered on a deeper investigation of this breakthrough, including the hard logistics of its final, physical (or immaterial) form(s).


Studio Work

My studio production was prolific, forward-looking and experimental (with a focused core), spanning digital manipulation, video, animation, painting and mixed media. I made tremendous headway in serialization, image accumulation and conceptual investigation, resolving a firm, intellectual standpoint for the Cascade project.

After much cross-analysis and discussion, I also determined the Cascade will be interdisciplinary, with some aspects cast as digital projections and others providing counterpoint as stills on paper, paintings or as LED displays. Previously, I had been working to resolve a single point of output for the project—limiting its potential.

 

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Outputs:

Feedback from the residency encouraged me to try different output methods for the digital work, and I was able to investigate most of the recommendations this semester. These included:

  • Physical output on paper (smaller/larger formats than previous)
  • Digital video animations and projection of video sequences on wall
  • Projection of non-animated stills on wall.
  • Computer screen animations and video sequences (intimate format)
  • Output on transparency sheets – not a good option. Performs the same as digital imaging, with no particular reason for output.
  • Output on photo papers, rice papers
  • Additional surface manipulations – minimal and subtle were best.

Working with a tight budget this semester initially presented a problem, as I could not afford most of the physical output I originally envisioned. My mentor and I talked about this limitation as a positive curatorial situation. With an unlimited budget, I may have printed everything, then weeded through reams for a final selection, never considering which pieces worked best as light-cast digital forms.

Leslie suggested that I look at my financial restriction as a point of refinement, a pivot for concept. With a tiny budget, I had to use an extra-sharp curatorial eye to choose exactly which stills were allowed to “live” in the physical world and which performed better, ultimately, as projections or on-screen images. I turned a problem of logistics into a conceptual filter—in line with several articles I read this semester, including works by Annette Weintraub, where the breakdown between traditional art forms, new media and the white-box museum space presents a challenge to artists whose work can’t easily be pegged, hung, or pedestal-ed.

Is it even necessary to output digital work on paper, or do artists often feel institutionally compelled (or required?) to make physical versions of virtual pieces? Asking these questions led to a breakthrough in analyzing individual stills and how their form best served the delivery of intent.

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Digital Work

My studio work centered on digital production and hybrid mixed media.

I examined qualities inherent to digital media and their relationship to my thesis. The malleable nature of digital art allowed me to emphasize the moment where the literal and conceptual landscape of Southern California is remixed and reframed as part of a narrative-resistant, unfinished sequence. I constructed moments of deep, digital space—a kind of virtual elastic-space loaded with ambiguous gravity and uncertain time. The collision of geography, culture, personal recollection and historicity opened entirely new sequences of imagery.

I worked closely with the following considerations:

  • Macro and micro storied detail –the image surface invites multiple levels of connection, as well as literal changes in visual information when viewed near and far.
  • Re-contextualization and meta-cycles, where works reference themselves (and larger conditions), across the span of individual pieces.
  • Color palette mutation! I combined my former, earth-toned/lotus color palette with the new intrusion of video blue. Resulting works were the most successful of the bunch; a marked improvement over the video-only palette.
  • Scale shifts / increase in the variety of visual elements.
  • Shifting, breaking and disrupting perspective, reliable space and environment—tying this instability to the concept.
  • Exploring the contingency of time, perspective and distance in digital geography.
  • Allowing “television” to remain, without being literal or sarcastic.
  • Allowing figures, vehicles and buildings to “live” in the elastic-space, a turn from my original intent to excise them in favor of a neutral desert landscape. The figures became characters in a non-linear universe.
  • Finding new ways to emphasize elasticity, uniting physical and virtual.
  •  Investigating the function of constructed landscape as a conceptual engagement of space-place.
  • Working with the loaded term “landscape” (capable of describing everything from panoramas to political divisions). The digital methods allowed me to grapple with the complexity of landscape’s many states of being, articulating intricacies in time and spatial relationships through the compositing of digital material.
  • Breaking out of TV-screen dimensions, into wide horizons and micro zooms.
  • Sorting the Cascade into typologies—vritual gallery-constellations that reveal congruences and tangents.
  • Working on micro zooms that hone in on specific moments.
  • Producing paintings which speak to digitality, without serving as a painted copy. Large-scale, real-time combination of digital stills done as a reactive work.

 

Areas of Research

  • Digital art and new media (art historical, aesthetic, theoretical and social/cultural concerns).
  • Contemporary and recent digital and new media artists and their impact on contemporary art.
  • Cubism, Dada and Futurism and their relation to digitality.
  • Appropriation, remix, and sampling (artists, ethics, concepts, evolution).
  • Postmodernism, Post-Postmodernism.
  • Methods of digital output, video development, software and other logistics for the physical creation of digital work and Processing (programming language).
  • Space/place and concepts of location, social and physical geography.
  • Issues of showing digital and new media work in the “white box” museum model.
  • Immateriality
  • Constructed digital space and its context, physicality, politics, artifacts and artifice.
  • Space/place – personal, social, geographical associations with both physical and conceptual geography
  • Memory, recollection (personal and cultural).

Digital Research

I also gathered material via Pinterest. The resulting smorgasbord allowed me to spot rhythmic relationships and was helpful in generating new ideas for formal investigation: Research Board 2: http://www.pinterest.com/renadamsart/research-board-residency-2/


Mentor

My mentor, Leslie Ann Holland, and I had an incredibly inspirational, productive and dynamic relationship this semester. She provided expert guidance, while allowing me to break new ground on my own. Last semester I felt compelled to make work to please my mentor’s sensibilities and expectation of workload. This semester, my mentor was absolutely pivotal—providing the perfect, open-minded framework for discovery and refinement.

Highlights:

  • Pieces allow for micro and macro readings (detail and concept)—which is important.
  • Push a few pieces until they break—know (and explore) the limits.
  • It’s entirely plausible to have output 2D works (static) shown congruently with video projection (active)–more than one output method can be used simultaneously to complete the project.
  • Scale is incredibly important and pieces with scale variation within the virtual space behaved most effectively.
  • Radically edit, trash, destroy, rebuild and reorient work—especially since digital gives me license to destroy and hit “reset.”
  • Make lots of drafts of the same image, push and pull the resulting meta-sequence.
  • Pieces deal heavily with environment, space and place. Emphasized when people are present.
  • Work reads as an intersection of editing—therefore transition is important.
  • Work also deals with memory, geography, mystery.
  • There is play between the known and unknown, near and far, stable and unstable, movement and stillness, high fi and low fi.
  • Some elements are polished, others loose and rough. There is a sense of hovering vs. a strong sense of line, slick vs. organic, line work vs. boxy-ness., deep vs. shallow, angular vs. curvy. These dichotomies are interesting and form important paradoxes.
  • Experiment with the “objectness” of the digital and learn which pieces need physical bodies and which perform their best when they remain projections of light.
  • Color palette is key and my semester-long investigation (and integration) of my dominant palette and the new video blue is important, successful and necessary.
  • Play with pattern, repetition, scale, texture and transition.
  • The work has an elusive, or denied, narrative, which heightens viewer reception and keeps the work fresh.
  • A few of the surface manipulations were not as successful as the video versions because they pushed the project in the wrong direction. Stills became focused on the hand, and not enough remained of the core concept. In this case, stills with subtle or minimal manipulation were most successful.
  • Zoom in and extract individual moments. Investigate.
  • The painting marks a major breakthrough. It speaks to digitality, without simply performing as a copy of a digital still. I am no longer diving in to simply fulfill an expressive objective. Instead, it functions as a process of reactive discovery–an archaeological dig of moments that reveal themselves, shift, change, and reveal new encounters. It is behaving like a digital or printmaking process, allowing me to adapt and respond, analyze and uncover.

Two side exercises Leslie suggested had a tremendous impact on the work:

1.)    Archive experiment – Group all of the existing stills into typologies. Figure out what the types are (more painterly, more literal, etc.), then build them into gallery-archives to see images in new ways. What emerges when things are grouped? What is different? Which aspects need to get left behind for progress?

This was congruent with a mini project I conceptualized in my Critical Theory II class during the residency and it led to a completely new manner of viewing my own work. Thanks to this suggestion, I sorted the hundreds of Cascade stills into a cross-referenced, revealing archive. It narrows down specific branches of visual language and  several distinct image constellations emerged, which form a larger whole. These constellations also led to specific video animations.
2.)    Micro Zooms – Do some detail zoom-ins of selected moments from existing stills. Are they able to convey the same feeling as the whole, without the rest of the image? Do they become something new? Do they help me think about constructing new wholes?

They did all of the above. They became a new mini-body of work, they might get blown back up, large scale, and they allowed me to consider ways of constructing new images that convey the same kind of impact as the little moments. In some cases, they did tell the same story as their larger source. In other cases, they were appendices.
Leslie feels I’m on the right track–and that I naturally unravel troubling situations as I work through them. The sheer volume of work I produce allows me to explore side-tracks, then return to the center with a resolution, combining spontaneity with calculation. She is excited about my progress, my range of experimentation–and the work I’ve done sorting through the massive Cascade archive.

 

Future Work

I’m interested in gauging response to the outputs and various conceptual and material changes. I’m especially interested in feedback on the video animations and painting—and I suspect I will develop (or abandon) responses accordingly.

I am now focused on the development of thesis work: producing, manipulating and outputting digital hybrid stills, creating new video projections and potentially developing a series of 50” paintings in response to the digital elastic-space. I feel my core thesis is established and future studio work will be geared toward a tighter form of investigation, rather than bust-out experimentation across wild medium changes.

Large-format image outputs are still on the to-do list (50+ inches), as are room-sized projections. I’ll also experiment with a smaller, intimate viewing experience (think View Master), as well as digital LED/LCD screen frames with moving images.

 

Exhibitions Attended

Urban/Suburban – Etchings by Nicholas Hudak
New Grounds Print Workshop and Gallery
Feb. 7, 2014

Etchings by Takahiko Hayashi, Japanese printmaker
The Matrix Gallery
Feb. 7, 2014

Etchings by Ando Shinji, Japanese Printmaker
The Matrix Gallery
Feb. 7, 2014

Print, Printed, Printing III – Printmaking Exhibition
New Mexico Highlands University Gallery
February 21, 2014

Chroma – Etchings by Pamela Wesolek
New Grounds Print Workshop and Gallery
March, 2014

400 Years of Remembering and Forgetting: The Graphic Art of Floyd Solomon
UNM Art Museum
May, 2014

Melanie Yazzie: Geographies of Memory
UNM Art Museum – Main Gallery
May, 2014

The Blinding Light of History – Genia Chef, Ilya Kabokov, and Oleg Vassiliev
Russian Paintings and Drawings from the Collection of Wayne F. Yakes, MD.
Clinton Adams Gallery – UNM Art Museum
Mat, 2014

 

 

Artist Talks Attended

February 21, 2014  (Artist Talk Series)
Tod Christensen, Jacob Meders, Abigail Felber, Kristen Martincic, Mark Ritchie, Cerese Vaden, Frol Boundin, Sam Cikauskas, Katie Killian-Stokes, Chris Blume, Matthew Rangel, Tim Van Ginkel.

 

Studio Visits / Critiques (outside of Mentor Critiques)

Josie Lopez, PhD Candidate in Art History- 2/8/14 and 5/31/14.
Conor Peterson, MFA – 5/15/14

 

Conferences / Conventions Attended

Print, Printed, Printing III – Highlands University Printmaking Conference
Feb. 21 – 22, 2014

 

Artist Talks, Guest Lectures, Demos Given 

Introduction to Printmaking (Making a Mark) – Guest lecture presentation for the Rio Rancho Art Association, Feb. 12, 2014.
Watercolor Monotype Demo at RRAA, Feb. 12, 2014.
Lithography: Fine Line Etching  Demo, Print, Printed, Printing III Printmaking Conference, Feb. 21, 2014.
Artist Talk – NM Highlands University, Feb. 21, 2014.
Intro to Serigraphy, New Grounds Print Workshop, February, 2014.
Serigraphy II, New Grounds Print Workshop, April, 2014.

 

 

Classes and Demos Attended

Alternative Methods for Making Book Cloth – Feb. 21
Alternative Methods in Subtractive Stone Lithography – Feb. 21
Research Mapping: Digital to Analog – Feb. 21
Smart Plate Lithography by Hand – Feb. 21
Harnessing the Wild: Bringing the Immediate Mark to the Lithography Stone – Feb. 22
Quick Book (Bookmaking with Serigraphy) – Feb. 22
Magic Black: An Etching Recipe for the Dark Side (Pseudo-Mezzotint) – Feb. 22
Penny Pinching Rubylith Alternative and Serigraph Toner Washes – Feb. 22
Multiple Woodblock and Stencil – Feb. 22
Digital Collagraph Demo  – Feb. 22

 

Exhibitions and Events Featuring my Work

Exposed – Contemporary Gravure (Upcoming) – New Grounds Print Workshop and Gallery, Albuquerque, NM. July.

Emerge Boston – MAC (Menino Arts Center). Hyde Park, MA. May.

Marked: 1st Drawing Annual Group Show. Unframed Gallery, Las Cruces, NM. March.

Printmaking Exhibition, Esther Bone Memorial Library. Rio Rancho, NM. Nov. 8, 2013 – Jan. 8, 2014.

Collaborative Project, Part II

You may remember my cohort’s collaborative group project from one of my previous posts. We were divided into pairs, with each pair responding to a quote and developing an original work on a 9″ x 6″ card. We mail our finished interpretation to our partner, who responds to it by working back into the surface.

I received my partner, Nancy Meyer’s, card last week and I percolated for a few days:

nancy_collab

 

I put the card up in my living room and “lived” with it for several days, considering it carefully. As I am already familiar with Nancy’s work and its investigation of socio-cultural body image (and knowing the amazing progression she made between our first and second residencies), I hated to even think about altering the surface!

That was the hardest part of the collaboration, really. Not wanting to overturn, or reorient, my partner’s response.

In thinking about Nancy’s visual response, I could see she had distilled the already abstract body forms into ornamented, formal shapes. The fearless use of glitter and baubles speaks to Nancy’s concept of excess, which walks a tantalizingly dangerous line between craft and art, immediately igniting traditional dichotomies of high and low, proper and improper. Nancy’s glittery abundance also changed the collaged, photographic paper surface–immediately resisting the flat, natural place of paper. My familiar, safe-zone approaches were denied by the sculptural terrain.

After analyzing the work, I focused on the point of the collaboration: to respond to her response, integrating our joint idea of self as verb.

Nancy’s ‘self as formal element’ began to remind me of the undulating rock shapes I’ve used across several projects–shapes that anchor my own investigation of self as (geologic) verb, both within this collaborative project, as well as in The Cascade, my MFA thesis. The more I observed them, the more they became a windowed, earthen landscape with a clear valley and monumental presence.

IMG_2850

So, I dove in. I had to let go of being worried about ‘ruining’ Nancy’s work, knowing it’s really about the result of our response.

I painted and drew, allowing the photo paper to generate pools of color that reticulated–building a sky and horizon, while allowing the original self to integrate and support naturally. I also applied an iridescent interference color to part of the blue background (and some of the foreground) to provide extra depth between the clarity of the central sky and the distance.

Another shot:

IMG_2849