Colorado Art (and beer)

The middle of May was a big, exciting time for me, as well as Scott. Within three days I had my birthday, MFA commencement ceremony, and a trip to Denver, Colorado.

In Denver, Scott attended a conference and had an interview for a postdoctoral fellowship (which he has been hired for!). While he was busy with his stuff I managed to get to a few art museums where I saw work by some of my favorite artists in person for the first time. I didn't bring my real camera on most of our adventures, though I did take lots (as you will see in this post) on my phone. 

One of my first stops while in Denver was the Clyfford Still Museum. I have loved Still's paintings for a while, and finally had a chance to get to the museum on this trip! They had lots of his early works up as well, which were vastly different but so very beautiful.

It is difficult to get a sense of scale in these photographs, but they are extremely massive paintings. It is truly an experience to stand in front of them. It makes you feel as though you are engulfed in the painting, and creates a definite sense of awe as a result. 

After taking plenty of time at the Clyfford Still Museum, I headed over to the Denver Art Museum (The DAM), which is conveniently right next door. The DAM has a really nice variety of work, and I could have probably spent the entire day there. One of my favorite rooms there was the John De Andrea exhibition. They had three sculptures by De Andrea, all within a dark room with black walls. You have to enter the space by walking around a large wall, and then are confronted by the three extremely lifelike sculptures. 

It was quite a surreal experience. They were so very lifelike that the more I stared at them, the more I was certain I could see their bodies moving as they breathed. They were absolutely stunning, and the presentation of them in the dark, quiet room significantly added to their impact.

My absolute favorite part of The DAM was the Sandy Skoglund installation. I have adored her work for years, but never had the pleasure of seeing it in person. My thesis work, though I didn't realize it until after all was said and done, was heavily influenced by her. My monotone still life scenes directly relate to her installation work, as you can see below. 

Besides seeing some incredible art, we were also able to try out lots of amazing local beers in some very cool taprooms. One of my favorites was the Station 26 Taproom, which is an old fire station turned brewery in Denver. I tried the Cherrywood Smoked Red, which was the most unique beer I've ever had. (And now I am most definitely craving it.)

Towards the end of our trip we also visited the Upslope Taproom, located in Boulder, Colorado. It was a really neat place, filled with families, kids playing board games, live music, and a few dogs as well. And of course delicious beer. 

On our last day in Colorado we finally made it out to the mountains, thanks to a spontaneous drive to Estes Park. I actually brought out the real camera there, so Monday's blog post will have some better quality images. 

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Fabric Landscape

A few weeks ago I went out to a new (to me) location to take some self-portraits. You may have already seen one image from that shoot, since it is currently featured on my homepage. Beyond just a basic headshot, I had the goal of also shooting a more conceptual self-portrait, as it had been so long since the last time I did so. 

I went into the shoot with only a very vague idea of what I wanted, which has occasionally worked in the past. Unfortunately, that was not the case this time. The location and materials I had didn't quite work for what I was aiming to do, and in this situation, the lacking of a very specific visual idea left things a little flat and uninteresting. So, the self-portrait failed, but the setup that I had for that ended up being fairly interesting on its own, which is what I have to share with you all today.

I have always really enjoyed images of moving fabric in general, but especially ones that involve some sort of interaction with a landscape. The photographs and paintings by Laura E. Pritchett have served as sources of inspiration for some of my own photographs, largely because of her use of fabric in motion. Thomas Albdorf has also influenced my work, because of his manner of interacting with the landscape. Though I wasn't consciously thinking of these artists at the time, the photographs in this post have likely been shaped by both of them.

As always, thanks for stopping by, and feel free to share this post, as well as comment below to say hello! Happy Wednesday!

The Cost of Forgetting (MFA Thesis Show)

I finally have managed to edit the images from my MFA thesis show, and I am so excited to share them. I was going to wait until Monday (my normal posting day), but I decided I just couldn't wait. 

I had been working towards this show since I started grad school essentially, and it was amazing to actually have my work filling the gallery. Everything turned out better than what I had envisioned even, which was exciting to see. The day that I went to document the installation was perfectly sunny, making things even more beautiful. The miniature pieces hanging from the ceiling were my favorite part of the installation by far. The way that they caught the light and gently swayed was mesmerizing. They even projected little versions onto the floors and walls when the light was right, and bounced streams of light on the walls next to it. I could have sat there watching for a while and been extremely content. The hanging pieces were also intended to be taken by viewers (another reason why it was my favorite part), and so by the end of the reception only red strings were left hanging from the ceiling (as you will see in the last few images of this post). It ended up being perfectly timed, and I loved being there to see the last one pulled down by a friend. 

The work is entirely centered on memory, or more specifically, memory loss. It serves as a visual for memory loss in general, but specifically the inability to remember the mundane, uneventful moments (my artist statement is at the end of this post for those who would like to read that). It was interesting to hear quite a few people tell me that the work made them sad, and prompted them think about all the things they wish they could remember. That said, I would love to hear more reactions to the work. I'm sure reactions to photographs of the installation will be different, but it would interest me to hear them.

Some quick technical information before I leave you with the images. The photographs are multiple exposures (done in camera) of monotone still life scenes, which are printed on transparencies. They were cut into circles using a laser cutter and then mounted to plexiglass. The wall pieces are for sale, so if anyone is interested in purchasing one (or more) please email me for details. 

Artist Statement

            Maurice Halbwachs explains that the constancy of the everyday provides us with the stability required to create memories, and that mental illness is often a result of a disconnection from objects of the everyday. On the other hand, Ollivier Dyens notes that memory is a “matrix” and describes it as “a moving, unstable and ephemeral language.” Our memories are constantly shifting and changing, making it hard to grasp at times. And yet, the ability to form memories is a result of the opposite.  This body of work stems from the juxtaposition between the necessary stability to form memories and the “ephemeral language” that is memory.

            The still life scenes that I photograph focus on the mundane objects that we encounter every day in order to point to their impact on memory. However, the objects are painted to remove some of their familiarity. Multiple exposures are used to suggest the confusion that results from failing memory, as well as the passing of time. The resulting images are unstable and confusing, suggesting that something is in the process of being lost.  

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The Cost of Forgetting (preview)

The installation is finally done! After 11 hours straight in the gallery yesterday, and quite a few hours on Saturday as well, everything is up and ready to be viewed. It turned out better than I expected, and I am so relieved to be done. I will be taking photographs to document the installation soon, but I was too excited and wanted to share a few images here before I get to that. 

One of the walls of images.

This is my favorite part of the entire show. It isn't a great photograph, but there are lots of tiny images hanging from red string in front of the window in the gallery. More details on this part of the installation to come.