Monday, December 15, 2008

Semster Portfolio

My motives for Intermedia this semester consisted of an exploration of space. It was early last summer when I first began thinking about space and its influences on the art produced within. Last summer I moved to Minneapolis to spend sometime away from Iowa City. Once up there my art immediately changed. I began to analyze this change and question the notion of space. Initially, it was my goal to create 4 different rooms all constructed in the same general area. I soon became overwhelmed by that huge task and set out to simplify my initial thought. Which brings my to project one.
Project #1
The first "hut," as I soon began to call my structures was constructed out of white sheets, white foam, and white cotton. I stapled these fabrics together and onto disregarded wood plants in the back of the studio arts building. Within the hut, white house paint, white spray paint, white bowls, and white brushes were housed. It was my hope that my classmates would immerse themselves in the hut and use the "tools" provided. That hope was not fulfilled. The hut seemed childish, that is perhaps why I like to spend time inside of it.

After the completion of my first project, my goal of creating 4 different rooms was disregarded. For the rest of the semester I concentrated on fun and experimental ways to build. I continue to question the notion of space, however freed myself from any restrictions I previously set on myself. It was at this time that I began speaking to David Dunlap about structures. After having many conversations, David brought to my attention the beauty of natural buildings. We set off to construct my first stick hut. However, after many delays acquiring material I converted my sculptural attention to video.

Project #2
After experiencing the fun results of the white hut I decided to take the building notion into a different context. I decided to create my first stop motion video. This project was very much about experimentation and I learning the process. However, I really did not like the result of this project; so I returned to the 3 dimensional form..
Project #3
This project was my first experimentation with creating a tepee like hut. Large branches were collected, painted, and tied together with twine so it could stand on its own. I created this structure inside the grad painting gallery so it was only able to set up a couple day. I really enjoyed creating this structure and knew I wanted to continue to explore other possibilities with this medium.

After the third project was completed I started to focus on broadening its use. In a sense I wanted more. It was about this time when an issue arose within the art department which very much concerned me (as well as many others). A structural lounge know as the EyeBeam lounge was torn down unexpectedly by the administration. As this lounge was a fun, collaborative project, I was astonished by its unexpected destruction and I set out to reconstruct it.

Project #4
the recreation of the EyeBeam lounge was an extremely trying experience. I stepped into the situation knowing quite well that I was not going to create an exact replica of the original structure. With that in mind, I really did not have any sort of plan of execution. I soon found it to be very difficult to direct other people when I did not have a plan of action. Everything was up to the moment. The day we started building we dumped all of the scattered and tattered pieces from the original EyeBeam out of their cardboard boxes and onto the ground. I stared down and found a complete mess of junk; after constructing a shabby wall and tying sticks together my friends and I left for the night. The next day I returned to the site only to find out that it needed to be moved. So the structure was taken apart and moved 30 feet. So I continued construction and after another night of building I returned to the school only to be told that construction was to be stopped, pending a safety issue. After a couple of meetings and a couple of forms signed the project continued. At the point in the construction I was thoroughly exhausted and really did not want much to do with the structure other than prove completion to those who tried to stop it. In the end, a five person 6x8 foot painting was added as the completing piece. The reconstruction of the EyeBeam lounge was very stressful and disheartening at times but I could not have asked for better results. The structure was ready for open house and I watched as children played inside and made little gifts (a goal I had been trying to reach from project #1). I saw fellow students and faculty who understood subtle political statements within the structure and one the other hand I saw the general public (those outside of the department) enjoy the structure as well. This recreation included a combination of all projects I did this semester. I believe it came together well and was worth the difficulties. I however would like to say that I in no part created this structure alone. I had many willing and helping hands throughout the project and I would like to fully thank each of you.

Earlier in the semester I went to the Action/Abstraction exhibition in St. Louis. For my response paper I will discuss some of the emotion which arose while I was there. The show initiated for me first here in Iowa City. I was sitting in my Advance Painting class in early October was Julia my painting professor brought in the catalogue to the exhibit. She had just seen the show in New York and after flipping through the catalogue I readied myself for the show. Now I have for as long as I remember always been a huge fan of work from this era. I remembering seeing my first deKooning while I was still in middle school, visiting New York for a family vacation. I also specifically remember deciding to attend the University of Iowa while sitting in front of the Pollock for 1/2 hr in the U of I art museum. Hence, I was pretty excited about the show. When I arrived in St Louis I entered the gallery and experienced Woman #2 by William deKooning straight in front of me. I thoroughly enjoyed the painting the first time through, for I usually go through exhibitions 2 times. First time just enjoying taking in the atmosphere, feeling it out, concentrating on what catches my eye. The second time through I either sketch or revisit pieces I am still thinking about. As I reflect now, I wish I had spent more time with Woman #2, however, the placement of the piece was unfortunate. It was the first piece and right in the entrance. There was a current of people entering the show which you had to deflect if you were to experience the piece in length. As I rounded the corner and passed the deKooning I found a Pollock starring back at me. Now it is hard to describe (at least for me) emotions which are derived when I experience pieces such as these. That is perhaps why I am a painter and not an author. However, it must be said that I cannot believe anyone to be so hard to obstruct pieces such as these. To receive no emotional feeling whatsoever when viewing these pieces side by side is beyond me. I still receive that tingle which continues to my finger tips when I relive the exhibit in my mind.
Alright so the "purpose" of the show (other than bringing great pieces together) was to try and distinguish a difference between Action painting and Abstract Expressionism. There were two major critics of this time; Clement Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg. Each declared the movement by one of these different titles.
The exhibit was constructed nicely. It led you through early painting from 1940s and spanned all the way to the 1970s. I left the show for the first time extremely overwhelmed. As I walked upon the last room of the show I more or less just walked right on through it. Did not look around much at all. So after resting my eyes for a bit I walked back into the show for a second time... this time with my sketch book. As I drew I began to appreciate pieces more than ever and felt as though I was truly seeing them for the first time.
All in all I spent about 2 hours at the exhibition. When I left I was extremely exhausted, but fully satisfied. I would suggest this exhibition to anyone who is going to be in the St Louis area over Christmas or otherwise. I also believe it will be travelling to the west coast next.

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