The annual Candy Dance festival in Genoa came and went last month, and as usual the SNC Gallery Club was in attendance, cooking burgers to raise money for the art department. Unfortunately I had no camera (in the rush to get out the door I left it behind), but Kath McGaughey came to the rescue and documented the experience nicely; all photos are courtesy of her.
Here is Thomas demonstrating the mysterious candy dance:
Here we are getting things set up at the main grilling and prep station:
The weather was gorgeous on Saturday morning, as seen here through the open roof of the grilling area…
Which of course meant that there was a torrential downpour Saturday afternoon. With an open roof, everyone in the grilling area was pretty much soaked.
But did we despair? Of course not. Look at us. Look at this resilience to adversity.
In fact I think Thomas just danced his way through the entire festival, rain or shine:
All in all a fantastic experience, and we sold every last patty in our possession. We are just that amazing. (Or, you know, burgers are delicious.)
Two weeks ago, the Visiting Artists class went down to the lake to do individual site-specific nature installations as a response to Bill Gilbert’s lecture. They were then asked to write up a paragraph to explain their process in making these installations. Though I’m not technically a member of the class, I went along as the interpreter and was kindly allowed to participate. Below are all the responses I have received so far; I will update this post periodically as more are sent in.
Karl: “SO…I wasn’t sure how inspired I would be first arriving on the site. After screwing around for about half an hour positioning buckets on and old snag I decide to lock in and commit to something cool. Literally, in the shade and cool. I used contrasting elements, stone and wood, but both of the earth. I formed a vertical row of twigs wedged perpendicular to the horizontal cranny that occurred between the boulder and the ground. Though the process of repetition and measurement a walled in space was created…a home, a vessel. The twigs and stone were a unique contrast when removed from their natural state of rest. I had conceived the idea thinking that it might represent a model of a contemporary living space in Tahoe. Really living in nature. Though the piece turned into a unique technical juxtaposition I still felt there were undercurrents of home, place, and, of course, the natural environment being augmented. Construction, The hand of man, and Nature combine.”
Lexy: “I don’t work much with nature in my art, but my music box fit well inside a tiny rock cave. I used to music box to be the voice of the message [the moss] in the bottle. I had never realized how the most simple organic objects could interact so well with the current concept I’m working on.”
Hailey: “My piece was about a temporarty balanced structure, where at any moment it could change. Pieces of it could fall, all of it could crumble or it could last longer than I ever thought possible. It related to me in a way of life, that I dont know how long something is going to last or what is going to knock me down, I dont know how long its going to take to rebuild something if it falls but its all about the process and journey.”
Evan: “The driftwood found hiding deep within the rocks has been liberated. Amongst the naturally shaped wood lies a naturally shaped piece of Styrofoam. The Styrofoam just like the wood resembles the rough journey of society. Through what remains, we deduce stress, age, hardship and heritage; though the same cannot be said about the Styrofoam. It may appear to be weathered but we cannot tell what its previous shape was. Although there is some scaring and marking on the surface, they don’t tell much about the life it has lived. We do know that this manmade object was shaped naturally; this is commonly the opposite of art. Most art is created by taking natural material and shaping it by manmade force. Here we see art as an emotional concept created by nature.”
Heath: “I picked my sight based on a passed experience and memory of another place that I have been. I was thinking of the small cliff dwellings in Utah and how they were hidden from site high up on the sides of cliffs. I built a small hut out of pine needles where would be able to imagine myself living.”
Jessica: “I’ve been trying to address a problem with over-thinking my work, and so I tried to let this piece happen more by instinct than by thought. Of course, that didn’t happen until the last minute. At first I was spending time looking at the materials – I was using a dead branch (not pictured), leaves in various states of decay, the cigar box, and a found piece of glass, trying to compare/contrast them. At the last moment I put the glass shard in the box, shut it, and piled the rocks on top to act as a sort of lock. The viewer would have to essentially destroy the piece to fully interact with it, which I thought was interesting.”
Though I’m still waiting on some more responses from the class, here are a few pictures I snagged myself.
As you know, the SNC Gallery Club sponsored five student tickets to the Art and Environment conference at the Nevada Museum of Art from September 29th to October 1st. Out of the submissions, those selected were Anza Jarschke, Heath Pierson, Glen Cheriton, Karl Schwiesow, and myself, with Logan Lape also in attendance. We are planning to do a collaborative piece as a response to the conference, which I’ll post as a follow-up once it’s done, along with more of our thoughts as students attending the conference; in the meantime, here’s a brief rundown of some of the panelists and work that was discussed. As there were quite a few presentations, I won’t be covering them all, but here are a few that really piqued my interest.
Thursday night featured a lecture and performance from Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky) and four members of the Reno Philharmonic. Miller has created a project that he calls ‘Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica’, or just Ice Music; music composed as an acoustic portrait of Antarctica. He traveled there and set up a portable studio in order to capture and digitally reconstruct the resonant frequencies of the ice. It was a remarkable performance, in which he sampled, looped, composed, mixed, and spoke about the connection between music and information. Below is an example of the project; you can read more about it, and Miller’s book, ‘The Book of Ice’, here and here.
Friday was the first full day of panelists. The first panelist was Alexander Rose, director of the Long Now Foundation. Long Now is concerned with long-term thinking and an expanded sense of present time. Rose discussed the current Long Now project, a large-scale, fully mechanical 10,000 year clock that is currently being constructed in west Texas; the clock will be sealed inside a mountain, and will chime once a year, with a different chime each year, for the next 10,000 years. You can read more about the 10,000 year clock here.
10,000 year clock prototype 1, photo by Rolfe Horn
Next came a series of panels on the Altered Landscapes photography collection at the museum. Edward Burtynsky spoke about his work, photographing the effects of industry on the natural world. He uses images of quarries, tailings, refineries, mines, oil fields, etc., to remind us that we all participate in the degradation of nature:
Oil Fields 19a
Nickel Tailings No. 34
Oxford Tire Pile #8
Chris Jordan, who recently exhibited his ongoing project titled ‘Running the Numbers’ (digital manipulations which demonstrate the massive scale of human consumption), spoke about his work on Midway Island, photographing the decomposing corpses of birds whose stomachs are full of plastic. I won’t post those images here, for the sake of those who would rather not see them, but I would highly recommend taking a look here; it’s some incredibly powerful imagery. While showing these images, Jordan spoke about the need to reconnect emotionally with the ongoing environmental crisis.
There were many more presentations that day; Subhankar Banarjee, Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison, Fritz Haeg, Thomas Kellein, Leo Villareal, David Benjamin, Geoff Manaugh, Mark Smout, and Liam Young all presented and spoke about their work and ongoing projects. As this is running a little long already, I’m going to skip ahead to Saturday and talk about a presentation that I really enjoyed, Amy Franceschini’s “This is Not a Trojan Horse”. Franceschini came onstage dressed as a pantomime horse, while Gaetano Carboni, commissioner of the project and director of the Polinaria Arts Center, introduced the project: a large-scale mobile sculpture of a horse, designed to travel through the Abruzzo region of Italy, where traditional farming techniques have suffered due to globalization. Franceschini spoke about how the traveling sculpture was designed to engage locals and farmers into conversation, and to prompt creative-problem solving. As they moved through the countryside, Franceschini and her group, FutureFarmers, collected/documented samples of traditional farming practices (interviews with locals, recipes, tools, etc).
Photos by Daniela d’Arielli
Other presenters on Saturday included Patricia Johanson, who creates functional and sculptural infrastructure projects; Richard Black, John Carty, Mandy Martin, Gerald Nanson, and John Reid, who all spoke about various aspects of water environments in Australia; Jorge Pardo, who gave a pretty fascinating presentation of his work in blurring the line between viewer and participant in design and architecture; and Bruce Sterling, a science fiction author and futurist, who gave one hell of a closing speech about the realities that we’re facing with the world at large.
Overall, I thought the conference was an extremely valuable experience to have as a student. We all appreciate the Gallery Club’s sponsorship of our tickets, and I’ll be sure to follow up with our collaborative response piece.
In Advanced Studio class, we recently had a discussion about value and the perception of value. Does raising the price of your art affect the viewer’s perception of its worth? It seems to; a piece marked for $2,500 has a very different impact than a similar piece marked for $25. A higher price seems to correlate with a higher status in the mind of the viewer; if it is expensive, it must be important. Later on I was discussing this with another member of the class, and we were both reminded of a perfect example, which I thought might be of interest: an experiment arranged by the Washington Post in 2007, in which Joshua Bell (one of the world’s leading violinists) appeared in the L’Enfant Plaza Station in Washington D.C. disguised as a street busker and played classical pieces on his Stradivarius for 45 minutes during rush hour. Over 1,000 people passed him by; only seven stopped to listen to his performance, and only one person fully recognized him. The perception of his worth was next to nothing. Under normal circumstances, Bell is critically acclaimed and it is difficult to see him perform due to high demand and ticket pricing.
Here’s a time-lapse video of the event:
And a very interesting article about it by Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post, which won him the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing, here.
So I thought I’d make a post about the graphic novel I put together last semester. It’s called “Monster” (weirdly, I stuck with the first title that came to mind) and it was probably the most fun I’ve had on a project, ever.
(Not pictured: my good qualities)
I had always been interested in doing something like this, but assumed I didn’t have the patience or the know-how. Then I had the opportunity to set up a project for Advanced Studio, so I started putting images together. Originally, the plan was to make a book about someone trying to make a book about something trying to make a book – the images would start out very realistically rendered, and degenerate more and more into childlike scribbling. To complete the joke, I thought the person trying to make the book should very clearly be me. I started drawing up pages of self portraits in which I would argue with a dead fly on the windowsill, who would act as a sounding board for story ideas, berating any plotlines I might come up with, angry that I had swatted it. This whole book-inside-a-book plan fell through pretty quickly, and I was left with lots of drawings of myself staring down a dead housefly.
I didn’t want to just scrap them. There was something about the wordless imagery that I really liked. When the dialogue was removed, the sort of absurdist element became something more serious. It reminded me of a child poking at a dead thing, trying to wake it up and slowly realizing that it won’t happen.
Not wanting to drop the comedic angle entirely, I split the book into three short sections that address the same issue in different ways. The fly section comes first. The second section is fairly abstract; it’s meant to address the same issues as the first, but in a more internalized way.
The third section is the only one containing any dialogue. Stylistically it’s much simpler and more cartoonish than the first two, and consists of an argument between an umbrella-headed child and a dying/dead fish, which made it the most fun to work on.
Which is all to say that it’s amazing what a little encouragement from professors and a deadline can help you come up with; I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have finished this project without those elements. I’m tentatively sending it around to publishers now, but in the meantime I’m self-publishing on Lulu.com. If you are interested in filling up your eyes with sweet, sweet images, this thing is for sale here. You could also ask for a copy if you see me around campus. I’m usually somewhere around David Hall.
Hello! My name’s Jessica, and I’ll be your student blogger for the month.
I thought I’d start by talking about an ongoing blog series at Book By Its Cover. The site manager, illustrator Julia Rothman, has built up some extensive documentation of working artists’ sketchbooks. Many of the contributors to the series are illustrators, but there are also sketchbooks belonging to painters, collage artists, and sculptors. I’ve always been very interested in artists’ sketchbooks, sometimes as much as finished work. It’s fascinating to see where ideas begin, and there is a real sense of intimacy when looking at these more private objects.
Below are a few examples; for the whole series, go here.