Project 4 Statement

 

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What is art? What makes art “good”?

As humans, we want to know we are not alone. So we make art and we say “Here. This is what my brain thinks, how it works. Now you have thought it too, or something like it. Now we understand one another.” Good art requires you to not just glance at it, but to take it in and toss it around in your mind until you make it into something new.

The basic idea of this piece was to convey the feeling of anxiety–that heightened sense of feeling, the panic, the excessive thoughts, the pent up energy. I wanted viewer’s to look at the piece and either feel panic themselves or to at least see the energy that goes into anxiety. I kind of wanted it to be difficult to look at my piece because there was so much going on that the viewer’s brain couldn’t quite focus.

In order to achieve this goal, I chose to use steel wool for its harsh connotations and I made the overall shape of the piece a spiral to encompass that energy. I think the steel wool worked well at communicating a kind of uncomfortableness and it imitated TV static in a way, like how my brain gets when it is under a lot of stress. I used a lot of hemp on this project as well, which worked well for making a lot of criss-crossing lines, but I don’t think it was harsh enough to convey the negativity of anxiety.

I learned a lot about problem solving with this piece. After discovering the wire would not hold itself up, I had to figure out a way to get the shape I wanted in a short amount of time. I also learned that it is really important to really know what you want to convey while making art. Throughout the project, I kind of was wishy washy about whether I wanted to convey anxiety or pent up energy, and I think because I was in the middle of both, my project didn’t really convey either idea very well. If I did this project again I would decide on one feeling or idea to express and just really go wild with it. I thought about doing a lot more with this project but was afraid of it going wrong. I think if i had just gone crazy, I would have conveyed my idea much better.

 

An artist whose work makes me uncomfortable: Choi Xoo Ang

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Choi Xoo Ang is a sculptor that works with polymer clay and resin to make sculptures that primarily focus on humans and the human body. A few themes that arise in much of Ang’s works include human rights, gender politics, the state of society, and human emotion.  Art Plural Gallery said that Ang’s work “suggests that Man hides behind his body but that the soul is so powerful that skin speaks a language of its own, howling when it hurts and playful when peaceful. However, when continuously fighting against society and the burden of existence, the quintessence of numbed flesh dies even though the blood flows and the heart still beats”. I think he communicate’s his ideas pretty well because in a lot of cases, what Ang has to say about society is generally negative and his work is very dark and promotes questions about the meaning of the piece.

Ang chooses to primarily use human bodies or parts of the human anatomy in his work and this makes it clear that he is analyzing society and humanity. This choice of form makes it so the viewer feels connected to the artwork, because they are human just like the art is human. He uses a lot of clay and resin and I think those choices help portray the idea of society’s lack of humanity and lack of human rights because they are both very hard and strong, rather than soft and fleshy like what you would expect the figures to feel like.

Overall, I really enjoy this artist’s work. I am very intrigued by the human body and I think the themes that can be seen in his work are very important and I think he presents these themes in really intriguing ways. His work is incredibly creepy and makes me really uncomfortable because of the way he distorts the human body. Despite how hard it is to look at his work, I find I can’t look away either.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/16/choi-xoo-ang_n_3934707.html

http://www.emptykingdom.com/featured/choi-xoo-ang/

http://www.artpluralgallery.com/1-en-art-a26-bio_choi-xoo-ang-.html#.U20eAfldUdc

 

My choice: Curves/Spirals

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I found myself really attracted to small, detailed objects. I liked when something thin and fragile make up something strong and somewhat bold. I also liked when objects had details with one large swoop, like the elephant and the tea pot. I also really liked when the entire object or portion of the object was made up of small curves to create one larger curve or spiral. I think these details could be used in a lot of ways in art. For one, the braiding and macrame could be used as a small detail (like how I am using it in my final project) or if you were really motivated, you could make a giant structure or something out of a braided something. Also, utilizing the swooping curve and blooming motion of the plants would be really interesting. You could use mechanical or un-organic objects to simulate the way a plant looks and grows. The spiral form seen in the hemp, wire, cord, etc. could be used as a starting formation for some kind of structure. A series of objects could spiral up and have a real sense of energy and motion.

One artist I thought of who used the idea of the braid is Janine Antoni. She braided a rope out of hair, blankets, clothing, and many other materials to make a kind of lifeline.

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Artist I would like to work with: Mel Chin

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Mel Chin is a conceptual artist who works in a variety of mediums on many different kinds of art (installation work, sculpture, painting, drawing, etc). In many of his pieces, he focuses on the idea of transformation, rebirth, and revival. I think a lot of his work does a good job at expressing his idea, particularly his Revival Field. The whole concept of that work is to take the pollution in the soil, plant organisms that can thrive in such pollution in order to clarify the soil. The use of plants very clearly expresses the idea of life and transformation and if you know the type of plants he chose, the concept of transformation is further expressed.

Many of Mel Chin’s works are fairly geometric, but often are juxtaposed with organic elements. Hir geometric tendency reminds me mandalas that Tibeten monks make and I think that connection works well for Chin’s main idea. The thought of mandalas makes me think of Buddhism and the transformation from human to Buddha, from the cycle of rebirth to the release from that cycle. Chin’s work is very centered around the transformation from one idea to another so his geometric tendencies further that concept. He also works in a variety of materials, from plants, to destroyed houses, to video games, to metal work. I think his use of destroyed houses to make art very clearly symbolizes his idea as well as his use of plants as a medium. Individually, I think his mediums work well for his different project in different ways, depending on the meaning of each individual work.

I enjoy Mel Chin’s work for a few reasons. I really like that he works with so many different materials, and a lot of the materials he uses are huge, like when he uses destroyed houses. I also saw an interview with him and I really liked how he looks at his own art. He said that he wanted to make something that would live and exist long after he had gone, and I think that’s an interesting way to look at art making. I’d be very interested in working with Mel Chin because he gets inspiration from so many things and I ‘d really like to learn to do that. He also is very focused on conveying an idea and I think he is very successful at that, so I think I could learn a lot about that for my own art after working with him.

 

 

Sources:

http://melchin.org/oeuvre/mel-chin

http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/mel-chin

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mel-chin/the-artist-is-not-present_b_4823707.html

Interior Volumes (and their context)

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As I looked for interior volumes, I found myself attracted to volumes of clear objects in which you could see the volume from the outside. I also found myself attracted to volumes that make up bigger objects, like bodies or figures. I think any of the clear objects I photographed could be used in sculptures and could be really interesting. I think using clear glass to cover something or surround part of a project could be really intriguing.  Also, utilizing parts of the body, like open mouths or ears, could be really interesting on sculptures that don’t necessarily relate to the human body. Also filling those kind of interior volumes could be really interesting. I also think using mesh, like a tea infuser, could create really cool textures and be interesting because you could sort of see through it but not clearly.

An artist who used the interior volumes of the human body is Choi Xoo Ang. She makes somewhat creepy sculptures of human-like figures and I think the sculptures that include open mouths and other volumes are even more successful at creeping out the viewer.

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Project Statement: Squishy Body Bits Project

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The idea for this piece started with me noticing the feeling of my hair brushing against my shoulders when I turn my head. I found it to be pleasing and thought about whether I would be able to make myself have that feeling with an object interacting with my body. I struggled with coming up with a legitimate idea. I knew I wanted to make earrings but beyond that I couldn’t think of anything. Then I thought about what it would be like if one object on my body was able to please all my senses at once. That’s when I decided I would make earrings that smelled good, tickled my shoulders, looked interesting, sounded pleasing, and possibly tasted good too.I wanted the viewer to understand up front that the earrings had something to do with my body, which was why I chose to make the earrings into faces. I hoped that the faces would indicate either the 5 senses being addressed or at least the connection to my own face and head.

When designing this piece, I wanted the aspects of the piece that interacted with my body to be fairly obvious. I chose to use bells for sound, lavender for smell, flowers, for sight, cranberries for taste, and feathers for touch. I also wanted the face to be fairly abstracted so the viewer would have to look closely to see smaller details, but still understand the main shape of the earrings. Each item that interacted with me was supposed to be easy to identify so that hopefully the viewer would be able to piece together the purpose of the earrings by themselves. Also, by using each object on the part of the face that it affected, I hoped to make the connection between the earrings and me more clear.

I learned a lot about how my body interacts with the world while making this piece. When I initially began thinking about my interaction with the world, I found it really difficult to discern how my body reacted to things around it. But soon I started noticing a lot of little things that my body does in relation to my actions or to the world around me. I learned that although I thought flexible materials would be really limiting, by forcing myself to think of one type of material I actually ended up thinking of using materials I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. If I make this piece again, I would try to make its function more clear. I might get blooming lavender for the eyes to help with correlating lavender with smell. I might also make the faces more recognizable so the earrings didn’t look like a jumble of objects.

Someone Ancient Whose Work Would Still Be Relevant Today: Pablo Picasso

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.” – Pablo Picasso

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Throughout Picasso’s life, he created a wide array of work in many different styles and of many different types of subjects. Looking at his work as a whole and reading some of the thing he had to say about his work, I think his primary goal and main idea was the idea of breaking away from tradition. He spent a lot of time, especially as an adolescent, drawing people around him and the world around him as a whole. He was very interested in the idea of documenting what he saw and experienced and I think he=is work was meant to show people everything around them that they may not have noticed on their own. He helped start the Cubist movement, which  is a style of art in which numerous views of an object are shown simultaneously and the object is broken up into geometric forms. This style is oriented around the idea of observation as well and it focuses on showing the viewer as much of an object as possible in one image. He also worked with some surrealist style which was focused of showing the viewer new ideas and concepts in brand new ways. I think Picasso was successful at opening his viewers eyes to all angles of an image or situation and making the viewer really think about what he was showing them.

Picasso worked in many medias including paint, sculpture, printing, and graphic design. He utilized a lot of geometric shapes and some works were very colorful and patterned, while other were quite monochromatic. I think those choices aided in the communication of his idea because the bright colors draw your eye to the painting initially, while the array of shapes force the viewer to really look at the painting and decipher it. In his monochromatic work, he focuses more on the shapes he presents and the lack of color allows the viewer to spend more time working out the bigger picture and the smaller details within the image.

I really enjoy Picasso’s work. I like that it is very different from older artists’ work in that it is not clean and clear as to what his is presenting. You have to look at his work for a while in order to really see what he has painted and the longer you look the more images become clear from the geometric shapes in the work. His representation of faces is really intriguing to me because it is so childish, but he is able to communicate so much despite his seemingly uneducated, unskilled style and technique. I think he is still relevant today because it seems like a lot of artists today are trying to create something new that hasn’t been done before and that is exactly what Picasso did in his time. He work is about the world around us, but it does not look like the world around us. I think a lot of artists today are trying to make work that adjusts the world we live in, and I think Picasso’s work does that well because it changes how we see people and objects and makes us wonder how he would depict other things.

Sources:

http://www.biography.com/people/pablo-picasso-9440021#awesm=~oB93J9PR4znbI3

http://www.pablopicasso.org/index.jsp

http://www.picasso.com/life.aspx