Please join me this week at my opening thesis exhibition titled, Blood Works. Thursday, April 2nd 5:30-8:30 in the Tuska Gallery in the Fine Arts Bldg on the University of Kentucky campus. 465 Rose St.
The show will be on view between April 2-11 Monday-Friday and by appointment on the weekends.
I hope to see you there.
Fall 2014 artist statement
Blood is the record keeper of our origins; predetermining our phenotypes and ancestral lineage linking us to a past that we may never experience but to which we are a part. While the idea of blood may conjure images of death and violence, it is the substance of life. From the moment of conception blood flows through our veins, transporting oxygen throughout the body in order to breathe, think, and grow. Blood allows the cells to position themselves into the jobs they will carry out until the host body no longer lives. This river of blood transports the capabilities of the animal throughout it’s entire life. At the moment of death, the energy of that animal still lives whether it is consumed by another or through decomposition it returns to earth.
Across the globe, blood is used as a symbol connecting people to their celestial maker. Catholics drink the blood of Christ and consume his body. The Aztecs would free blood from their bodies in rituals that included human sacrifice in hopes to receive blessings from gods in agricultural and territorial conquests. In some African cultures blood tonics are fed to the weak and ill. Modern medicine uses the information contained within blood to understand our health and well-being. Chlorophyll, plant blood, gives life to photosynthesis playing an essential role ensuring oxygen to animals. Blood is life fluid.
Painting with blood is a way to communicate ideas of interior landscapes and metaphysical ideas of connectivity. For me using blood changes the act of painting because prior to the use of blood the paint was a neutral substance and did not come packed with conceptual properties. In these paintings, it serves as a metaphorical means to express the constant exchange of energy from one life to another. Every life and death is purposeful and blood is a record of that exchange. The versatility of the medium as a painting material allows for it to be used subtly or aggressively. Although the paintings may be reminisce of abstract expressionists, it is used in a manner that suggests bodily fluids, movement, and growth.
The rectangular pieces are reminiscent of microscopic slides, however, in this state the slide is expanded beyond life size. The painting becomes the specimen available for observation; sometimes magnifying the magic seen through a microscope or telescope. These pieces want the viewer to draw connections between science, art, and corporeal realities. Throughout this work, another form is often utilized: the circle. The circle is representative of growth and continuity. It is reflected in the petri dish, the womb of a mother, or the cosmos itself. It exceeds the edges of the microscopic slide, encompassing the unknown knowledge that even science is currently unable to comprehend.
Also, new work on the website. Check it out; it's been a busy semester.
Open Studio is THIS FRIDAY!
Come visit me in my studio this FRIDAY DEC 5, 6-9. See poster below.
I'll have current work on display (and in the student show as well). I will also be having a sale on prints and paintings that I've been holding on to too long. They'll make great holiday gifts, something different from the traditional socks and dvd's that we are accustom to receiving. Hope to see you there!
One way that my body and brain deals with stress is through nightmares. Ever since I was a kid, I've always had bad dreams when stressed out. Sometimes, I can't remember the dreams, sometimes I can. Sometimes the bad dreams I had as a kid come back to me even now as an adult and still freak me out.
I've been having bad dreams the past few days. It's going to be a stressful week. I have 3 crits lined up this week - which is something I rarely do to myself but juggling so many schedules is difficult. This week happens to be convenient for the people I want to hear from. So, I'm stressed; and coffee is always nearby.
I keep dreaming about paintings falling off the walls, or that suddenly everyone in my committee hates all my work, and the worse - that I simply do not produce enough work. My expectations for myself are quite high. In the studio I feel a little frustrated. Although I like my current work, I know it needs to go somewhere else - I really need to push it - but I just don't know where to take it. I'm hoping that after these crits some of these problems might become more clear.
Also, I ruined a painting this weekend. It was beautiful before! and then I screwed it up because I was frustrated with it and tried something new. I'm hoping I can save it still. I'm going to give it a good try.
I also spent a few hours last week in the lab, looking at some of my "slide paintings" under the scope. Below are some of those images.
JOE DAVIS IS AMAZING.
The documentary was really inspiring. To listen to him talk about the things he's interested is really inspiring. As someone who references science and bio artists, he makes me question whether or not I'm "science-y" enough. And this of course is something that I have been considering in my own work. Since my residency in NYC, I've been asking myself:
"should the work look like ART or SCIENCE?"
"should it be more science-like?"
"do I need more data?"
"is visual data enough?"
"does my work reflect both science and art?"
"how do I fit into the contemporary context of other bio artists?"
During Joe's lecture he mentioned that a lot of times artists (and in his opinion bio-artists in particular) are very illiterate about real science. That is very true. During my journey of trying to find bio artists to look at and relate too, I notice that a lot of them just use the scientific jargon as a way to elevate the work. Sometimes they don't. But where does my work fit into that? Or perhaps more importantly where will my future work fit into that? I'm not going to lie, I've used some scientific jargon in titling my work- but I think I was doing it correctly and not just trying to elevate the work.
I find that the art circles are almost more easily accepting of my work, whereas, the die-hard scientist is a much tougher critic in some ways. I like to consider both; or at least be aware of both sides of the audience.
Joe's visit was so very inspiring. I was quite nervous before he arrived here, wondering what kind of interactions everyone would have with him. His visit surpassed all expectations and blew me away. He is so charming, down to earth, intellectual, and curious about most all things. I am eager for his return visit in the spring. He'll be with us for a week, and here while we're teaching the bio-art class. He's one of those people who can inspire with just a short conversation. I am blessed to have met him and consider him a friend.
Don't miss out on this amazing opportunity to meet JOE DAVIS.
WIP = Works In Progress...#mfaproblems #wip
I'm totally digging these two paintings that I'm working on. Almost everyday this week I've fine tuned them even more. Their current state is different than pictured above. This image was taken last week. I think I need to do more like this.
This one has given me some trouble...but its currently drying from its latest tinkerings. I'm hopeful about this one. I think it has real potential. This image is also from l
Below is a WIP of my artist statement for these paintings:
For this critique, I am presenting a recent series of works that are made with a material that is increasingly important to me. I am beginning to come to terms with the fact that I am a process-based artist whom will also be inspired and awed by what my materials can do for me and the work. Recently, that material is blood; in my case pigs blood from my family farm. Why blood? The materiality of the substance itself is very versatile. I can manipulate the blood to act like oil, acrylic, or even watercolor paint; whereas all of those traditional paints cannot give me the same effect that blood does nor the color exactly, which I find very important to the idea of the work. Also, the experience of using this material is substantial. I’ve always been interested in the connectivity of the world (i.e. animal to animal, person to animal, person to universe, etc.). A way of understanding the world for me is through accepting a belief in a constant exchange of energy from all of these relationships. Blood is literally a “matter from which we are made” and metaphysically assists this idea.
I'll happily take comments/suggestions.
Every Friday morning I have a biology lab meeting; and at least once a semester every member of the lab has to present on their current research. As artist in residence in Dr. Ashley Seifert's lab, I usually treat my presentations as practice "artist talks". I presented this past Friday and have found it helpful in preparing for this weeks crit in Grad Seminar. As much as I hate sitting down and trying to write an artist statement (let's be real- everyone hates it) prepping for last Friday's presentation helped me get my thoughts organized for this week. I'm still hammering out the statement - and some of the work - so I'll post those things tomorrow.
However, in the studio this week, I have felt so very productive. Normally, I tend to work in 4 hour stints, but this week they have been 6 to 8 hour sessions. One reason, I think this is, is because I have multiple pieces going at the same time. They're all within the same series, they relate aesthetically and conceptually, but I don't think they all will be equally successful. (These days, successful correlates whether or not I think they could be in the MFA solo show next spring.)
Today, I worked for a solid 6 hours. I decided to call it a day when I thought I might be over-working a particular piece that I've been having trouble with. I'm eager to see how this piece looks when placed next to the others that are more towards completion. I like setting the end of my studio days up with something to look forward to the next day. Usually this means, waiting for a piece to dry; however, tomorrow I'm looking forward to just seeing how it relates to the other pieces in the series.
I'm starting to feel the pressure of the last year of grad school. I'm eager to get things going - and I think my messy, smelly studio reflects that. I've been spending a lot of time in my sketchbook thinking about what my thesis show will look like. It's scary and exciting to be at this stage in my grad career. The pressure is on. Time to start churning out work.
18 "slides" made with a variety of materials such as: paint, pigs blood, and iron. I have a total of 21 "slides" but have narrowed it down to 18 that make the cut.
The plan for these slides are still in flux. However, by talking to a couple of different faculty I think I will build individual light boxes for each of them; then probably be displayed in a grid together. I still have a lot of details to hammer out. What kind of material will be boxes be built from? the ratio of the box to the slide? how will I light them? will there be a switch to turn the lights on or off? Below is one of my favorite "slides" held up to the light. Dr. Ashley says it looks like a hamburger. I had Mark Rothko in mind when I made it, but a hamburger works too.
I really enjoyed making these "slides". I think I'll continue the project throughout the year. They have been helping me think about the compositions of my paintings. I view them very similarly to Richter's mushed polariods - studies that become individual pieces. They are also quick and easy for me to make and disregard if they come out as failures. I feel no pressure when I'm making them. Something I willingly welcome in this last year.
It's been a while since my last post. Please take some time to check out the newest work posted under the "home/lab/studio" series. This series currently consists of 3 large completed paintings on panel and a couple more large pieces that are in progress. It's a way of exploring how animal life (or in some cases - organic life) reflects the environments in which influence the work I make.
There are lots if exciting things happening in the studio. I look forward to trying to keep up with the blog this upcoming year. One year of grad school left- there's a light at the end of the tunnel and it's not a train.
I am a contemporary artist focused on the intersection of art and science in Lexington, KY.