Today was the day of our final presentations for our collection projects. I was extremely nervous about my presentation, but I had written out a rough draft of all of my paper components, so I knew enough about my topic to be able to talk about it without having to rely too heavily on my notecards. I was surprised to find that once I stood up to talk, my nervousness vanished and I was actually comfortable. The highlight of my day was when Katherine told me that my exhibit sounded fun and that it was something she would go see! Hearing my classmates’ presentations was enjoyable, it’s fun to see how far they have come since our initial discussions on what we wanted to explore in our projects. Sam’s collection in particular was lovely; I remember her mentioning on several occasions that she was having difficulty finding works about motion that were old enough to have scholarship on them, but her final works fulfilled that requirement quite well, in addition to being beautiful.
Now that I have completed my collection project, I can look back on it and realize just how much I learned while working on it. The level of research that Katherine was looking for, as well as the more artistic components, stretched me in ways I had not anticipated. While I would have appreciated a bit more hands-on time with the professors, I would feel confident showing this project to potential employers as a testimony to the work I have done while in school. I may have been extremely overwhelmed while working on it, but I am proud of the finished product.
Today I finished my poster, it turned out better than I had hoped it would! Anne had said that we didn’t have to use monoprint for the entire poster, so I decided to use the print I had made last week and collage on top of it. I used a stencil to write the dates and title of my exhibit and then enlarged this picture as much as I could without it looking blurry and cut out the Davids:
Sadly, I couldn’t get the Davids very large before they became pixelated, but I was unable to find another picture to use, so I ended up cutting out the best ones and using them, even though they were smaller than I had hoped. Ultimately, the finished product is an ironic accompaniment to my exhibit’s theme of hyperreal bodies.
I’m so happy, I only have two papers left to write for my project, as well as finding two more panelists for my opening program. I have already crafted an invitation to ORLAN inviting her to speak on the panel, because of her surgery performances where she took certain features from women in Renaissance art, known as the Reincarnation of Saint ORLAN. I believe that her work can be interpreted not only as a disruption of current beauty ideals, but also a critique of a practice designed to give people a perfect body that they wouldn’t have otherwise.
Today was a work day for our collection projects. I spent the class period working on my poster down in the printshop. Because I didn’t like my earlier attempt, I decided to go with a simple arch as my background and copied the arch one UGA’s campus because it is fairly simple and easy to copy. I think it turned out pretty well, given my general lack of artistic skill. Unfortunately, the print turned out a little crooked, not enough to be super noticeable, but enough to drive me crazy knowing it’s not straight. However, due to a commitment that evening, I was not able to make another print to try to correct it. I plan on trimming the paper of the finished poster in an attempt to make it more even.
My papers are coming along pretty well; so far I have my introductory essay, curator’s statement, and two of my art essays. I am feeling somewhat overwhelmed with all the work required for this project, especially since I’m also working on my senior project and everything is due at the same time. However, it has helped some that several of my pieces are ancient, so we covered them in my Greek and Roman art class.
Today was the day to make our exhibit posters. Anne showed us the various print techniques other than monoprint, such as engravings, and then proceeded to demonstrate how monoprint works. You have a glass sheet that you paint your design onto, then you carefully place your paper on top of the sheet to put through the press. Once your paper is in place, you cover the glass with several blankets to protect it from the heavy roller on the press and then roll the whole thing through. I had no idea that printing presses were still used, so this was a fun experience for me.
I didn’t really know what I wanted to do for my poster and since Anne had to leave halfway through the class period, I just copied the background from one of the pictures I had printed out to use and used it as a trial run.
The water-based paint dried too quickly, so I had to spritz it with water before running it through the press. Unfortunately, there was too much water on it and the paint ran more than it was supposed to. This reminded me of something Anne had said last class time about how studio work can have a life of it’s own and you can’t always tell what it’s going to do. I certainly figured that out! Nevertheless, despite the disappointing trial run, I now know what I want my poster to look like! I plan on copying an arched space and using the press to print that and then gluing a copy of the David statues from this license plate that I saw everywhere in Rome on top of the print.
Because I’m going to use a circular space for the background, I intend to have the statues in an oblong shape to compliment it. The gradually larger body is an ironic comment on the unobtainable perfection that I am exploring in my exhibit. It’s even better because I have chosen to use the original David statue as one of my pieces. Ultimately, even though I was a little annoyed that I wasn’t able to make my final poster today, the experience was a good one and helped me to figure out exactly what I wanted I wanted my final poster to look like.
Anne Beidler talked about her work in class today. She spoke about her college career and the jobs she held directly following that. I found it interesting that she was an anthropology major, yet she ended up working as a research technician making images of cells for a database. This wasn’t what I expected, given Anne’s major and what she does now, but after giving it some thought, I realized that even scientific images are a form of art, so her current career doesn’t seem such a leap anymore. This is similar to what Nell told us last week during her process presentation about when she took a job as a graphic designer after school. Both women ended up working with other people’s art, rather than their own and, as Nell put it, “it was empty after awhile because you’re solving other people’s problems.”
Currently, Anne makes interrelated mixed media books, paintings, and prints. These are all greatly influenced by the daughters she adopted from China. On her journey to get them, she became interested in Buddhism, as well as by the concept of the lost mother/child relationship that results from adoption. Thus, many of her images contain photos of her daughter when she was very young, as well as the goddess Guan Yin, who embodies mercy and compassion in Buddhism. Anne’s most recent work combines images from her time in China with images of women, recalling the lost mother/child relationship that so intrigues her.
Today, instead of helping us to make our maquettes like I expected, Nell just asked us what each of our projects were about and if we had any ideas for the space we wanted to present them in. She has some really good suggestions! My original idea had been to present my exhibit in a Roman peristyle type space; since almost all of my works are ancient statues, this would recreate their original setting and allow viewers to walk around the statue to get the full affect, which is vital to my theme. However, Nell immediately focused on the hyperreal aspect of my exhibit, rather than the bodies, and suggested that I use a space that is a type of virtual reality, where you can’t tell what’s real from what isn’t. The first thing that I thought of was the Oculus Rift headset, which puts you in a virtual world and follows your head movements so that you feel like you’re really there. <http://www.oculus.com/rift/> Unfortunately, I still have to build the thing, to some extent, so I’m not able to completely avoid displaying my lack of artistic talent to the world.
Nell did take us up to the third floor and showed us several old maquettes that former students had made and never picked up. These ranged from elaborate designs out of many different materials to simple structures made of cardstock. Then she showed us how to build something using mattboard and an exacto-knife. This was very helpful because it took some of the mystery out of this aspect of the project. One of the key parts of building a maquette is making the space to scale with your artworks. That means figuring out how small your smallest object can be, while remaining recognizable, and then using math to figure out the size of everything else. I will certainly be meeting with Nell to discuss my options in making an Oculus Rift type maquette and how the best way to present this is!