Week 30 of 48 (7 Months!)

August 30, 2010

Another month come and gone. Another set of residents come and gone and come again. September looks like it will be jam packed with two amazing poets, Carl Phillips and Adam Zagajewski, the Literature in Translation forum and the usual mix of visiting artists. It should be a busy but good month. In the studio world, things have been a little slow of late. Ever since the show came down, progress on the next project has been much slower than I anticipated, but I suppose I have to cut myself a little slack sometime. It’s pretty unrealistic to expect everything to blast forward all the time—I really want to think through some of what I’m doing before diving in head first so there has been a lot more thinking and a lot less doing than usual. Still, being ridiculously task oriented means it’s hard to accept that sometimes visible progress is slow if a lot is going on in the brain. With only four months left, there is no doubt I am trying to cram too much into my time here and throwing myself into a panic as a result. Goals before I leave (some of them may have to be adjusted… I do work a nearly full time job!):

Assemble another show of new work for the end of November—includes conceptualizing and then making everything…

Teach myself aesthetics—all the basics of continental and analytic from the 18th century forward, then readings that apply specifically to visual art and sculpture, then some of the new work in cognitive/neuroscience as it applies to aesthetics, then some feminist critical theory…

Redo my website—not a redesign, but definitely a restructuring. Mostly this will involve transferring it from flash to html…

Research graduate programs—would like to apply this year just to get a read on how people react though I am not necessarily sold on actually going somewhere yet. Since applying will have to happen right at the new year, when I’m in the middle of moving, I should probably have a good start on the applications themselves before I leave…

So yeah! That doesnt sound so bad, right? Yikes. Anyways, I’m still not ready to say anything about the new project(s) so for now, more post-senescence images:

the last of the candy on the panels—did some interesting cracking

which is odd since that means it's both gooey and brittle hard at the same time—reminds me of Brakhage film and makes me want to shoot some video

beautiful puddles of multi-colored melty goo on the floor

close up of beautiful messy goo

unrelated to sweet senescence, but these guys are STILL around!

They are now 7 months old and looking a little worse for wear, but somehow they have not been reduced to a puddle like everything else... very strange...

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Show preview… Without much explanation, here are some photos and a time-lapse video of what I am working on for the show. It is a week and a half away (the opening got pushed back 2 days) and for now I am feeling good about where I am at in terms of getting everything done. I still have a lot of work to do, but things are moving along without too many glitches so if it continues this way, I should be just about ready. I might have to pull an all-nighter or two, but by now I feel like that is just part of the process come show time.

a first prototype, 2'x3' sheet melting over time

back of prototype sheet

close up of another test sheet

bugs! hundreds of dead bugs stuck to the sheets of sugar

the first layer of sugar on six different sheets for the show

And the time-lapse video of the prototype melting over several days:

Week 20 of 48

June 22, 2010

I’ve made a lot of progress on the show this week, which is great, but I don’t think I’m ready to share yet. I can’t give too much away ahead of time. What I’m planning is very different from what I’ve been showing here over the last 4-5 months… Hopefully different in a good way! In the meantime, I think I will share a little of how out of control studio is these days. With summer going full steam ahead, everything is melting at an unbelievable rate. Making successful casts is becoming more and more difficult as the candy never reaches a completely hardened cool state and instead, immediately begins to melt into a sticky goo. I might actually have to set the casting aside until fall or winter when studio cools off a little. Being on the second floor of an un-air-conditioned building means it is never cooler than 85 degrees. Add to that the fact that I am also cooking and using blow torches…

wall of melting candy and pools on the floor

there used to be a pair of gems here...

a diamond melting in the heat of the studio

diamond slumping in the heat despite an armature to keep it upright

a strung up diamond barely hanging on

Week 19 of 48

June 14, 2010

As promised, stills from last weeks Dawn to Dusk project—the first of what will hopefully be several time-lapse videos of sugar diamonds in the outdoors. My show at the Red Mill Gallery is exactly 4 weeks away so I will be spending 100% of my time between now and then preparing for that. Since there isn’t a reliable way to show video in the gallery, I probably won’t revisit Dawn to Dusk until after the show is over…

funny jerry-rig to protect the laptop from stealing hands and pouring rain

three diamonds sun bathing between bouts of rain on day 1

four diamonds and the jerry-rig: you can actually see the video image on the laptop inside

some close ups at the end of the first day, before it really started pouring...

four diamonds enjoying the sunset together... compare to the next image...

taken after five hours of non-stop downpour... they didn't last long on day 2...

skeletons at mid-day... the rain wiped them out

And of course, the video itself:

This weekend marked the end of 3 months (counted in residency time, not calendar time) here in Vermont and was filled with a lot of reflection about my place here. April was a tumultuous month with mud season, issues with residents and staff, difficulties reigning in the office work and very limited time in studio. Cabin fever has been in the air along with wondering if I can actually survive a year in this bizarre contrived community. Every day is a roller coaster of emotions oscillating between really wonderful moments and complete despair over how trapped I feel here. It regularly occurs to me that I might hate living here. I love it as a residency, but to stay year round is something else entirely and I am losing all enthusiasm about this situation. It becomes more and more difficult to be excited when meeting new residents and to pretend I enjoy being here; more and more difficult to want to work to improve things, to invest any of myself in this place. Today marks the beginning of Vermont Artists Week, a one week residency just for artists who are Vermont residents, and then the following week is what is known as “Work Week“, the only week ALL YEAR when there are no residents at all. Rumor says it’s the best week all year for getting a lot of work done in studio because there are no residents to interfere and no scheduled activities. I can’t wait. I’m also hoping to use these two weeks of supposed good studio time as a gauge for whether or not I can stay through the year. If I can’t get good work done during the best week of the year, then I’m not going to be able to get good work done any other time and I need to leave. So wish me luck! I have made myself a new schedule that I think will improve my studio hours and includes good chunks of time everyday for walks and yoga to mentally escape a little. I also set my studio up so I can spend nights there in order to hide from everything/everyone when necessary (I’ve been going crazy at my complete lack of privacy)—all of which I think will really help in the future. I’ve also talked with my roommate about borrowing her car on occasion since I have no means of getting out of this stifling town and that should help as well, though I can’t go too far with it since it isn’t technically hers. That’s where I’m at with everything and I will keep you posted on how the next few weeks go. If this weekend doesn’t become a turning point in my time here, then I will have to start working on an exit strategy.

finally made myself stop working on the top of the diamond... I could continue carving away at it forever and never be done since it would never be perfect, so I made myself stop here...

Some new green casts

lime green transparent gem

they had already degraded a bit before I took these pics (with the new camera!)—all the little pock marks...

I intended to write an anniversary blog entry in a more timely manner, or have a party, or otherwise find some way to commemorate this momentous occasion but kept forgetting about it! A year ago, last March 6th I believe, was my last day of work as an exhibit designer. Normally that wouldn’t mean much other than looking for a new job, but for me it meant an unprecedented commitment to art making. I know I’ve said this before, but just to remind you (especially you, Errol!), I loved a lot about my design job and miss a lot of the wonderful people I worked with back then. Quitting was really about the art making, not about the job per se, which is why it feels important to acknowledge it. I mean… seriously! Look at what has happened in only a year! I’ve given up nearly everything recognizable about my life at that time and fully embraced something completely different. Or at least done my best to fully embrace it—I’ve been better at it at certain times than others. Quite a rollercoaster the last year has been, and it just keeps chugging along! Anyways, let’s see if I can put together a little before and after…

A year ago, I was here…

Boston! With Matt!

Doing this…

Toxic things in my apartment

Now, a year later…

Alone, in studio, Northern Vermont, March...

Crazy, I know… You are astounded.  Of course, the benefit back then was I had money. I should have bought a camera, knowing mine would die now… Which brings me to appeal number two for anyone out there who might have a spare camera lying around. It’s really hard to write a weekly blog or document process or time based artwork when you don’t have a camera. The situation is getting a little desperate… I’ve been borrowing the studio center’s camera but it is a pretty sad little thing (probably donated when someone else got a new one) and I’m going to have to bite the bullet and come up with another solution soon. Ideas anyone?

Lastly, I will close this little anniversary entry with some eye candy. Hahaha, I am so clever (sorry, really weird mood—new crew of residents arrived today and I think the turnover is making me a little crazy…)

More successful hollow casts...

Diamond-like

Week 6 of 52 at VSC

March 14, 2010

I think I am finally beginning to really settle down a little—emotionally, mentally, spatially. The studio is closer to being a space where I feel like I can get work done; the office is not settling down, but I’m getting used to the idea that every week will be different so I can’t plan on much of anything, and I’m better at figuring out how involved to get with residents, resident activities and other scheduled events. There’s been a lot of thought going into learning to be OK with where I am at on every level; with the artwork, with the office work, with my life outside of studio and with the limited amount of socializing available in Johnson, VT. In terms of the artwork, I had my first studio visit with visiting artist Carol Hepper on Friday and her suggestion was to stop limiting myself. To use rules and other constructions to get started but to let go of them in order to move forward without getting hung up on self-imposed restrictions. She walked out of my studio reminding me that I’m here to break the rules so do it!

First round of casts of the glass knobs

A couple fresh casts

New pink gem

A bright red cast in the other knob-like molds

The bottom half, half red, half amber...

Shelf Update

Onward and Upward!

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