Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Utilitarian Object

When given the assignment to visually explore a utilitarian object for this semester's combined painting and drawing course, I relished the freedom to pick whichever item we desired. However, I did encounter some difficulty when deciding on to which object to focus my efforts upon because of the magnitude of interesting tzatskes that remain from my grandparents. Most appliances and tools are left from a different era, which is interesting in and of itself in how they have evolved over time.
After much speculation I decided to work with an outdated, yet extremely stylish stapler. Although initially excited at the prospects of this assignment, I found myself struggling with making it interesting. Due to a series of unfortunate events, I missed several classes and wound up falling behind in all of my school work. This severely stressed my time restraints and in turn made me a little bitter towards the assignment.
I began my exploration with my drawings. I decided to work with charcoal and gesso, a medium which I hardly ever utilize. Because of this I feel that my hand was muddled within the materials and it did not represent who I am as an artist. The first drawing I worked on was the one on the right. I wanted to portray the action that the stapler takes and be true to it's real form. The second drawing is purely an accidental act. I began by gessoing my whole paper and then having to put it away while still wet. When I took it out the next class the whole thing was stuck together. Completely enraged by this I tore it all apart and then began frantically taping it all back together. I drew the form and then began making marks wherever I unconsciously felt the should lie. Eventually I found interest in the different geometric shapes that could be formed from the greater picture. This eventually translated into my first painting.
First off, for some reason unbeknown'st to me, I chose to work in a very large format, when I was already struggling with image I was to place upon it. During the process of making this piece I was very irritable and unsatisfied, which is highly uncharacteristic of me. Usually I am my own greatest fan and I create my work in the manner in which it will please me most. However for this piece there was an utter disconnect. Because of such I decided not to romanticize the image at all, but instead break it into simpler forms, as in my previous drawing, and handle it in a very scientific, structured process, while paying attention to the introduction of color. This proved to be a worthwhile exercise for me in the end, because I have never worked this way before.
Although I am ultimately satisfied with this work, I do feel that again it is uncharacteristic of me. Running out of time, I decided to tackle the last of the paintings in the comfort of my home. I still had to portray the utility of the object I had chosen, but didn't want to take such a literal route. I ended up with this:
This photo does no justice which is unfortunate. My thought process applied to this work was to actually use the object as it is intended in order to depict the actual material object. I cut the canvas into different pieces, similarly to the previous painting, and then put it back together using a series of many staples. I like the play between the function and the form, and the necessity of the function in order to even achieve the form in the end. This work is much more indicative of my personal style, as I feel that I am more tactile than anything else. I feel that it straddles the lines of what paintings can be, especially since there is not one drop of paint on the canvas.
Overall, I struggled greatly with this project, but in the end I feel as though I reached some enlightening conclusions on what directions I want to take in the future. Although I faced much aggravation, I feel I concurred a challenge I wouldn't have otherwise tackled.


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