Tag Archives: mixed media

Desert (Loss) Studio Shots

Here are a few shots of the pieces for Desert (Loss) at various stages of layering, on their way to completion in September and October.

My intent was a combination of flatness and density, like strata of information, memory or sensations that converge and entangle as a kind of information overload. Only certain shapes escape the mosaic chaos. The geographical, imagined and supposed become concurrent events.

Landscape  itself is neither completely geographical nor entirely theoretical. Historian Simon Schama suggests “landscape is a work of the mind. Its scenery is built up as much from strata of memory as from layers of rock” (7). This is vital to Desert (Loss), as well as the larger body of work Desert… spawns from (The Cascade…), as ambiguous, digitally-informed landscape ruptures and re-contextualizes the nature of location, by way of a strange elasticity. Time, perspective and distance are contingencies in my manipulated topography.

In this case, I sampled my videos, media and screen caps and flattened them into graphic strata. Layered like transparent sediment, they suggest the way pinpointed moments and memories freeze with a fictionalized quality, yet remain transient and insubstantial (yet hardened as iconic distillations). until built up with other layers of memory and experience (additional strata), forming a relational network that allows the viewer to understand.

An earlier phase:

And later phases:

View the finished works here and here.

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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Roy and the Dimensional Dilemma – painting #2 progress

It’s been a while since I shared a painting update, and I do apologize! Here’s the current state of the second large painting, plus a gallery below featuring all progress shots to date. Time warps in the desert. Currently untitled. IMG_3836_2

Almost finished!

Here’s the current state, with the previous painting nearby for context.

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Progress shots, in order:

 

New Work

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Just wanted to share the new painting I’m working on, including the earliest layers. Expect it to undergo many mutations in the next week!

I’m also plugging away at several new videos, still in the rough cut stage. They continue my investigation into the conceptual nature of looping, telescoping space, situational montage and semi-narrative. They are also allowing me to develop firmer iconography that relates to televisual memory.

Stills from the rough cut of Encounter…

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Stills from another of the working clips (currently untitled):

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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.

Infinite

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Here are some examples of the way the video projections are designed to seamlessly loop in an installation. Though I would not use the Infinite Looper YouTube mod for the actual project, it gives you a nifty, low impact way of visualizing the seamless design:

How Johnny Discovered the Secret Air Base: http://www.infinitelooper.com/?v=ci9rM3Uqox0&p=n

Murdock – Soledad Canyon: http://www.infinitelooper.com/?v=4cJubEuhMoU

El Mirage Dry Lake: http://www.infinitelooper.com/?v=tMBBJxhaZd8

Digital Mojave: http://www.infinitelooper.com/?v=vL7S67XzGr4&p=n

Fires in the Mojave: http://www.infinitelooper.com/?v=JymtupXYq4E&p=n

I’m still dealing with the logistics of selecting the best combination of hardware, software and projection.

Final Mentor Meeting

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Leslie and I had our final in-person mentor meeting on Friday, May 23–and we really wrapped up a productive semester. Leslie’s help was pivotal. She asked incredibly important, relevant, often philosophical questions, allowing me to arrive naturally at fruitful answers, without ever feeling disarmed or pressured.  I was able to be myself, with expert guidance, and I’m hugely appreciative of her incredible wisdom and open-minded approach.

Since we had spent so many hours analyzing the digital stills this semester, we talked less about them as individual units this time and more as an overall, blended language.

We referred back to the set of stills as we talked about other developments, however.
Especially this one:

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The big painting is about 3/4 of the way complete and Leslie was excited about it.  My primary question was whether this was an avenue worth investigating, to which Leslie answered a resounding YES!

The painting started as a mutation of a side exercise Leslie had suggested during our very first meeting. Like the digital Cascade, it took on a life of its own and rapidly moved from exercise to breakthrough.

We talked about ways in which the painting spoke to digitality, without simply performing as a static copy of a digital printout. We also discussed line, color palette, the ambiguous, elastic-space environment and other formal and conceptual considerations. Leslie did an intense micro/macro reading of the painting surface, analyzing everything from moment-to-moment passages and color shifts to the language of mark-making and individual transitions–then we dug into its method of communicating the ambiguity of physical and social space so important to both the transitional television stills and my bigger body of work.

Overall, she was intrigued by its ability to stand up to reading both near and far, and by its fresh interpretation of the digital as counterpoint.

We could see a series of these shown in relation to video projection and digital stills–various expressions of the Cascade with different dialects, thus offering different avenues of analysis without being repetitious.

We also dug deeply into what seems the most important aspect of the painting: how it radically changed the way I work in paint.

I’m normally a fast painter, owing to my quick, responsive engagement with the content. I strategize the whole and attack. I know what needs to be done and I work to complete it as a continuous drive.

For example, we spoke about this older still life I had in the studio:

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For rendering the study above, I conceptualized the whole and dug in. It was a matter of fleshing out a complete idea where most of the planning and discovery takes place off-canvas.

What’s different with this new painting is my approach to resolving the image. Of course the style and purpose of these two works are different, but that’s not the point I’m making. In fact, Leslie pointed out that my treatment of the seemingly flat areas in the fruit study (especially the lower right, just beneath the right pomegranate) resemble the moment-to-moment shifts in the large painting (and the digital work). So, *I* am still very much doing what I have always done–just cracking it open and freshening it up.

For this new painting, I am combining three different Cascade stills, themselves already multi-layer combinations of other stills, drawings and prints.

Rather than combine them in Photoshop, print it out and copy in paint–I am mixing them in real time on paper. Deejaying, in a way. Sampling bits from each and whirling them together. I have an overall intention, but as I work into the painting surface, I am responding to each individual moment, to each brush stroke, to each passage in a new way.

I am no longer diving in to simply fulfill an expressive objective.

Instead, this painting is a process. It’s 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. 

It’s taking me much longer than painted works in the past, because it’s telling its own story as the story unravels.

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Leslie was thrilled. I seem to have made an important breakthrough which allowed me to apply my digital and printmaking way of thinking to the immediacy of paint.

It takes me out of my plan-ahead strategist brain and puts me in a new, adapt-as-you-go-within-a-bigger-plan method, a la The Art of War. So I paradoxically have a plan blueprint, but my movements change from hour to hour.

Taking away the rigidity of the finite plan in execution allowed the painting to open up, to speak to digitality, to speak to the concept–and Leslie and I both felt it’s an important avenue of investigation.

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We also talked about some of the first output Horizons (above). They came out way too dark, but Leslie encouraged me to let go of my dissatisfaction with the printing process and to look at them for what they are, for their scale, their internal nature and their “happy accident” color palette.

We analyzed them for a while, with Leslie suggesting what might happen if they were selectively excavated. Would a smaller snippet still speak to the whole? This is kind of like the micro zooms idea.

The long, desert-evoking horizontality is important in these and I’ll be printing a couple more to take with me to gauge interest. Leslie also suggested she liked multiple horizons stacked, just as Conor had mentioned last week.

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We covered a lot of ground, went back over many of our earlier discussion points from other meetings and Leslie rounded it all out by taking a personal interest in my preparation level for the residency. We tackled any concerns had for the upcoming trip and we discussed the nuts and bolts of getting the most out of even the most problematic critiques.

She genuinely cares about how confident I feel and how capable, equipped and ready I feel for the Fall semester and offered to meet again if I need it during the final week of May. I will be sending her updates on the videos I’m reworking, as well as the painting, but I think she prepared me well. Thanks, Leslie!