SARA & NICOLE: Jessica Bruah and Graham Harwood
I enjoyed Harwood's art more than Bruah's, although both were interesting to me. I have an aunt who has schizophrenia, so I am constantly aware of her disorder every time I see her and am overwhelmed by it, so I can't imagine how it must be to live in her shoes. That's one reason I found Harwood's work particularly interesting. His work was a more aesthetically pleasing to me. Both confronted the viewer and made them rethink their definition of self - I found this particularly evident in Bruah's work. Although I didn't enjoy her work as much, the faceless figures in turmoil set in normal places, often around the home, were interesting to look at and think about. Why were these woman in such distress in places often thought of as calming or at least homey? I can see how she is influenced by Cindy Sherman - turning definitions around and giving the viewer a portrait to think about is something she does very efficiently as well.
VALERIE & JARED: Pascal Dombis and Jeffrey Shaw
Val and Jared did a wonderful job picking out two artists who were both contemporary, interesting and had similar ideas about their art. Their systems were interesting to look at - I especially enjoyed Dombis' work featuring lines all along the wall. I think they would work well in a museum exhibit together as one is more interactive and the other simply displays his artworks. I think the large scale of their works interacts well together as well. Artists who use systems like Dombis and Shaw interest me because they combine two things normally thought of as separate - math and art. Sol LeWitt does art like this too, with systems and lines, and I think his art would also fit in this exhibit, as long as they would be willing to put two digital artists with one more traditional artist. The works that were picked were complementary to each other and worked well, and we incredibly interesting to think about and be involved in.
The artist talk was interesting as well. I'm glad we were shown more of Esparza's work because I found it the most interested and I really enjoyed his other works, even if they were just pictures. It was fascinating having Ricardo Miranda Zuniga traslate everything the artists were saying about their work - I didn't expect that. The performance by Ivan Abreu was very fun to walk and very cool - I loved how you could just hear small bits of the song in the ice. The use of ice on top of the record was one of the first pieces to catch my attention in the gallery and I was glad I got to see a live performance of the piece. It was interesting to know that the ice doesn't last as long here in the United States as it does in Mexico. I think the piece which I enjoyed most that wasn't at the gallery but was shown on the slideshow was the work done entirely with confetti, although I'm unsure which artist it was by. I liked the spontaneity of the piece. Overall, I think Distortions was an enjoyable gallery as well as opening to attend.
For my self-visualization, I plan to take multiple pictures of my hands/arms in different positions. The first will show my arm in a reaching up position. The second will show my hand in an imaginary gun position. The third will show my hand pointing out at the viewer. After taking pictures of my hands in all three positions, I will load them into Illustrators and draw them with the help of my drawing tablet. I plan to give my hands a sort of pen and ink over watercolors feel when I illustrate them, following a Ralph Steadman-esque technique to illustration. I plan to include writing in my illustration as well. I’m not sure about the sizes of the pictures yet, although I don’t think I want them all to be the same size.
The meaning behind my self-visualization is the way I can use my hands in conjunction to other objects and body parts to express myself. The hand reaching up shows my need for help. The hand in the imaginary gun position illustrates my sometimes-overwhelming stress. The hand pointing will show my constant influences from those around me - including the viewer - as well an accusatory gesture . I will try to make the words that I include especially prevalent in each panel.
I didn't feel like I really connected with the work of Cui Xiuwen. To be honest, all female artists who try to be "female" artists, who define themselves by their gender, don't really appeal to me. Although, while looking at her work, I did get a sense of abandonment and isolation, as well as maternity themes (which, let's be honest, is pretty obvious, as she hits you over the head with the theme in all of her "Angel" series). I think what bothers me the most about her work is the fact that the works look like they were created in Photoshop, and not masterfully. I actually like the first of the series - the woman stands in a body of water, cradling her pregnant belly. But as a body of work, I tend to shy away from work like Cui Xiuwen's.
I enjoyed Crewdson's work a lot. His photos don't really feel like photos - they feel like scenes, like you just walked into a friend's house, and they're watching a movie, but you've missed the first half of it and have happened upon the climax and it seems awesome but you can't really tell because you have no idea what's going on. His outlandish photographs made me really stop and think about the scene, really look around at not just the focus, but the other minute details that he took just as much time setting up as everything else. In the NPR article, it reads, " He strives to convey an underlying edge of anxiety, of isolation, of fear." I really felt that while looking at his photos. It was never this overwhelming sense of anxiety, but felt like this little itch, tugging on my self-conscience. Out of all the photographers I viewed today, I was the most intrigued with Crewdson's work.
The thing I enjoy most about Teun Hocks' works is his combination of both photography and oils. I really love both media and his use of both is inspiring. His works remind me of Escher a bit - the scenes Hocks illustrates have elements of both the world we live in and a completely other world where our laws of physics and reality are bent out of shape, and yet they make sense in this world. Hocks sets up predicaments for his central character (I'm assuming the man in his photos is the artist himself) - unable to decide between the hats floating in the air, his businessman accessories seperated from him, all on seperate ice blocks, posed in his pajamas to catch the owl who holds the string on which he is perched. He seems hopeless in most of his endevours, yet I have faith for this man. Hocks makes me want to put an arm around the man's shoulder and let him know we'll get through this, together.
Last year, I discovered Jeff Wall and ended up doing a paper about him for a class because I liked his work so much. The thing that made me really appriciate his art was a quote I read in an article about Wall: "The historical irony is that at the very heart of what these guys [digital artists] are doing when they use advanced computer technology to assemble a photo pixel by pixel is this point-by-point labor that predates Renaissance brushwork and goes back to the earliest panel painters, where you put the paint on dot by dot." And that's exactly how I thought about Wall's work. He put just as much effort into his work as do artists who work solely with paint on a canvas. His images are interesting and appealing in the same way Crewdson's work is - his scenes are interesting and full of motion, but he takes it a step further and incorportates his art history knowledge. Now THAT I like. A lot of artists say in interviews that they are influenced by classic art history, but Wall's work is one of the first where I can really see it. That makes me appriciate his work even more.
I do a lot of things everyday. Well, maybe "a lot" is an overstatement. I do a decent amount of things everyday. But without even really noticing it, I'm influenced by all the things happening around me: the music I hear, the sounds around me, the books I read, the people I talk to, the things I see. Then comes the part where I process those things, recognize them for what they are or what they can represent, and use those influences to shape my own art. Just a few of the biggest influences on my life and my art:
ONE: MY FATHER
First and foremost, my father has had a huge influence on my art. I grew up knowing that the only computer that mattered was a Macintosh, and went to public school not understand how a Windows worked. He taught me about websites, graphics, Photoshop, and how to force quit applications when I ran too many of them at once. He brought me to museums; all kinds - art museums, history museums, museums filled with stuffed animals and dinosaur bones. Both he and my mother instilled in me a great want to learn. But it was my father that really made me understand how I could really take all this knowledge and turn it into an art all my own style.
TWO: REALIST PAINTERS
When it comes to any kind of art - photography, drawing, painting, etc. - I'm a big fan when artists depict people just being people. During the Realism movement, some artists got sick of others showing the world as they thought it ought to look, so they moved on to illustrate people and scenes as you would actually see them, no flair added - tired women ironing, poor people squashed into a single train car, dirty men working in a field, a destroyed building or room. While in museums, these works really catch my attention.
THREE: BOOK ART
When reading books, I take care to pay attention to the cover art and any sketches or pictures inside the book. One particular illustrator for children's books and comic books is Dave McKean, a man I hold in great esteem. His illustrations are freeform and yet have specific shapes. McKean works with many authors, although he is most well-known for his work done with Neil Gaiman, the author of many best-selling books like Coraline and The Graveyard Book. He is a wonderful artist who I aspire to be like someday.