Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Autobiographical Grid

I entered the second assignment for the semester with great gusto, as we were given much liberty in picking our subject matter. The guidelines consisted of created corresponding drawings and paintings, in the format of a grid, that give some insight into a personal story or theme. This was a project I'd been wanting to take on on my own, so the structure of time restraints and supervision was very helpful for me to achieve my goal.
The material I chose to address is very personal, and a bit scary for me to air to the public. For a majority of my youth I was a very sad, maladjusted, self destructive person. It is only through time and a few epiphanies that I have been able to overcome these obstacles for the most part, and transform into a happy, capable individual.

I took on the drawings first and head on. I knew going into it that I did not want any concrete images, but instead expressions of what I was trying to convey. I used my marks to build upon each other as if I were fabricating my image from the material in which they actually existed. I would say that the most prevalent reoccurring image throughout my whole series is that of a nest, which I have also used throughout prinkmaking and sculpture as well. The concept behind the nest is very cathartic to me. In my past, and honestly in my present, I tend to find my niche and settle into an existence of isolation. It is both a sanctuary where I can lay my head, and a black hole where I sink deeper and deeper into the depths of self reflection and disconnect from reality. The nest in turn is a double edged sword, my solace and my downfall.
Another very important recurrence is drug use and abuse. Just as the nest, drugs for me have had both their positive and negative effects. My experimentation with substance has led me to several major life changing decisions and events that have changed my life for the better, and I would not trade any of my experience in retrospect. It is because I have seen these facets of life, and I have been able to step outside of my own control that I feel I have a more well rounded perspective of the universe. It is when you lose all control however, that the darker, more desperate aspects of substance can take over. Because I have been a part of this community for so long, I have many friends and acquaintances who suffer from this affliction. I have lost many friends and damaged many relationships because of the heavy hand of addiction.

The paintings I wanted to handle in a completely different manner as my drawings. I wanted to focus most upon the medium in which they were fabricated, and treat them almost as if they were low relief sculptures. To start this process, I stretched all of my own canvases with a lot of depth. I feel that this solidifies them as objects rather than images and makes them more tangible to touch and reality. Throughout all of my work I really try to create pieces that straddle boundaries between classification. Although these may be considered paintings, the way I handled the materials is truly more sculptural than painterly. I did not use any paint throughout the process, rather I used wax. I was able to achieve any color I desired by mixing the paint into the melted wax, but no actual paint was applied to the surface.
The order in which these paintings are displayed are not that of which they are made. This first piece is an homage to my pseudo feminism. I wanted to portray this lone feminine figure isolated and drowning in a sea of masculinity (represented by it's traditional blue). I've always had a hard time relating to most girls growing up, as I was always in the company of boys. I never really partook in typically feminine activities, always being known to roughhouse and know how to wield any type of tool. Even as I'm writing this I am aware of the hypocrisy of classifying things as either masculine or feminine and denying myself of either. If you are a feminist you are for all women or you are for none. Some of the worst sexism is inflicted by parties of the same sex, but that's another matter entirely.
I achieved this pebble like effect by dipping a large brush into my melted wax and dragging it along the surface of the unprocessed canvas over and over again, while creating variations in the tone of the wax itself. This was one of my greatest discoveries in the use of my material.
The next piece is an obvious adaptation of my nest. I begun the process by stretching the canvas very loosely upon the stretcher. I then attached an extra piece of wood to the back and stapled the center of the canvas unto it. This created an element of depth I couldn't otherwise achieve. My process was very similar to that in which an actual nest is fabricated. I used twine mixed with actual dirt and brown wax to form a solid form.
The two pieces in the center are made up of soft clay wrapped in the same piece of nude stocking. I chose to keep the clay soft to emphasize their malleability and influence they have on each other and the world around it. The stocking stands as a sort of skin in which they are bound together, but can be easily tattered. These forms serve to represent how I often isolate myself with relationships, and change my form in order to compensate for another within myself. I also chose to include pieces of a turkey's vertebrae as a representation of soldiers that fallen along the way yet still hold their place in my life.The next piece is an expression of my sexuality, a factor which played a large role in both enriching and damaging my life to the present day. I wanted to maintain a feeling of flesh and the melting of such into itself, the joining of forms. I wanted to keep the stark contrast between the bright, juicy colors, and the dingy, compromised tones of others.

A medium in which I have used much in the past is that of needle and thread. I like to play with the void in the painting as the actual mark made. I started out the process by stretching the canvas as any other then I cut my marks with an exacto knife, sewing it back into place after each cut. I finished by pouring flesh colored wax upon the canvas. Once everything had dried, I flipped my canvas over to find that the back side was more interesting in my opinion. I liked how the wax absorbed into the fibers in some areas and caked up in others, so in the end I unstretched it and restretched in the opposite fashion.
This piece is greatly representative of my self destructive tendencies, and the scars I left myself both physically and emotionally by my poor coping abilities. I wanted to emphasize the scarring of flesh without the literal adaptation of the spilling of blood and I achieved just that.

This piece served to depict habitat and it's shift, yet coexistence. Most of my life I have been absorbed within the natural world, enamored by the forms nature takes unprovoked. This was the focus of my artistic endeavors for a long time before I made my migration to the Big Apple. I quickly found the industrial beauty of the city infecting my work and preoccupying my visual lens. The chipping paint and beauty in the decay of what man tries to control in his world is inevitably concurred by mother nature. I used many found objects for this work, including actual bark from trees and insect parts integrated with more industrial objects such as tiles and hardware. The final chapter in this tale is one again of substance abuse as afore mentioned. The story begins as a light hearted romp through the world of hallucinogens, a happy, exploratory adventure. The marks start out as vibrant, fun colors, and as they travel through time and gravity they gain severity and their colors become muddled till they fall to murk.
The process in which I achieved such an effect was a revelation to me. First I applied dots of acrylic paint to the surface and then applied a drop of hot glue atop each one. This created a sort kaleidoscope effect, something I plan to use in future works.

Overall, this assignment was greatly cathartic for me. I was able to get some of my demons out from the depths in which they lie and


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