A big part of the G.U.T. Feeling project is finding visual patterns throughout the universe–the image of the stars is one of the easier ones to find. Something about their ability to appear so small, and yet actually be so large (sometimes incomprehensible) makes them a recurring theme throughout the series.
“Photography is the only major art in which professional training and years of experience do not confer an insuperable advantage over the untrained and inexperienced–this for many reasons, among them the large role that chance (or luck) plays in the taking of pictures, and the bias toward the spontaneous, the rough, the imperfect.”
-Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others (p. 28)
First off, all apologies for the lack of updates. My energy has been firmly invested in my studio, which I think is probably important. I’ve also started a Tumblr–mainly for research, but also so you can see what I’ve been up to. Lastly, I redid my website. I’m hoping this is the last time I ever do this myself–but the main think you’ll notice is that I did away with the categories. At this point I’m starting to understand my work along one unbroken continuum. It’s not always smooth, but it feels less arbitrary than breaking up into different “projects” and forcing differences between them. Let me know what you think, and enjoy!
It’s Monday morning. I’m sitting in my studio, listening to Sparklehorse, fading photographs pinned to the wall, and receiving news that a number of my artworks were victims of hurricane Sandy. I am surrounded by loss, and yet I’m not sad. Far from it, in fact. I actually feel surrounded by beauty.
The sad and the beautiful cross paths more often than we think–I could understand how there is beauty evident in any powerful emotion. Mark Linkous’ music is laced with it–even more so given the singer’s untimely demise, the hurricane’s ability to bring out the empathetic in the country’s largest city (has a photograph of a power strip ever made you feel warmer?), and through the storm’s powerful destruction, it has fulfilled the natural goal of my art.
The works that were lost were a number of my unique blueprints from “Blue Line of Woods“, along with a number of prints from my “Sunburn” series. The images were being stored in a storage unit in Chelsea which apparently was completely submerged in the well-reported flood.
I could be angry and sad, but it wouldn’t bring the work back and it would actually go against the whole purpose of the work in the first place. The “Sunburn” images were created through destruction. By selectively bleaching and destroying the dyes of found images, I was able to cull the latent beauty of the sunset to the photograph’s surface. The images in “Blue Line of Woods” were meant to self-destruct–the images are produced on non-archival blueprint paper and thus will fade away and disappear over the course of their lives. So while the loss of these works is premature, it is by no means surprising.
The strange thing is that having digital photographs of these lost works almost makes it harder to let them go. It makes them harder to forget, and forgetting is a natural, helpful way for us to move on. I can’t imagine everyone feels this way, but as Chelsea rebuilds over the coming months it will be interesting to see how artists and galleries alike either choose to move forward or attempt to rebuild the past.
I’m in the midst of sorting out my current project, G.U.T. Feeling, and my mind is spinning. So many places I could go, so many directions this project could head in…it makes me realize how much deciding what NOT to do is part of the art process.
That said–I tried to take a close-up picture of a flower and the camera didn’t focus where I wanted to. In this case, the machine was right–it ended up being a better picture.
Perhaps of note–I use Tumblr. I’ve been using it for a year now mainly as a research tool–I would scour image searches for visual and conceptual connections for my G.U.T. Feeling project–but I’ve recently started to post original content. I actually found the experience to be very informative, especially on a formal level. The non-stop cascade of pure imagery has definitely influenced the structure of many of my collages, and judging by the studio shot posted previously it will probably affect the way I install images, too. If you’re interested in what I’m up to on Tumblr, please follow!
Printing out my photos and pinning them to the wall is an essential part of my photographic practice. They can’t hide away in a negative binder or a hard drive–I’m confronted with the existence and presence whenever I’m in my studio. This helps my projects immensely–both in editing and generating new work. Not only do I see what I have too much of and what doesn’t work, but I also see what I need and what I’m missing. The shot above is of in-progress G.U.T. Feeling work–I’m not sequencing or anything like that–just sitting with them for a bit and listening to what they tell me.