Thursday, July 22, 2010


First Residency Summary

I didn’t leave the residency with many opposing views of my work. I left feeling like there was a consensus. My work is interesting maybe even compelling at times, but stops short. My figures exist in similar, empty space. They are alone or stand very close if there is more than one. They are very central, lacking formal variety. They exist on small pieces of paper that feel like they should be in a book. The figures are treated very similarly and stand at relatively the same distance from the viewer. They are cute and precious and a little creepy. They are reminiscent of childhood both whimsical and frightening. They feel preliminary to something. They are stopping at a point, teetering on an edge where something could happen or they could just be precious, cute, and a little odd. Over the coming semester I want to explore the formal qualities of my work, investigate context for the figures, and further develop my content.

My figures primarily exist in the blank page. They are almost always central and usually alone. This semester I want to group them together, create families and allow conversation. I want to avoid an obvious narrative but would like to let them interact and explore one another. Jan suggested that all of my works and figures are too miniature. This term I want to explore issues of scale with the figures themselves as well as working on larger surfaces. I want to move them around on the page and compose them rather than relying on the framing device. Judith commented that I am very good at editing. She felt like everything looked like it belonged together and that perhaps I should look at some messy painters to break out of everything having the same sensibility and control. She suggested that this may make my work feel more contemporary. Laurel suggested that I show struggle and once again let go of the control that I have have begun to rely on. By exploring scale , composition, and variety I will hopefully create more visual tension as well as images that are more interesting alone and do not rely on the company of many drawings to make them important.

Again, because my pictures exist in the empty page they lack context. Jan stated, “they don’t exist anywhere.” She suggested that I look at Picasso’s paintings from the rose period to see how he handled the landscape behind his figures. I would like to explore creating spaces for my figures to exist in that are abstract, yet give context and a feeling of place. In the past I have tried to create places for them but they felt plastic and contrived . I am looking forward to exploring issues of context by experimenting with indoor and outdoor spaces. I am still hesitant to put them into a defined space and am hoping to allude to spaces both interior and exterior while maintaining the focus on the figures themselves. I would like the space to support them but not control them or overly define them. I want to approach each drawing as its own. I want to, as Deb suggested, give myself obstacles to overcome and resist the rhythm that takes over and begins to feel redundant. I still enjoy undefined space and the focus being on the figure, but realize its limitations. I am hoping that by giving my figures context and place I will not only make drawings that are formally more interesting but I will deepen the suggestions of their content.
I am very aware of the content of my work. It is something I am constantly thinking of and realizing as I work. However, when Stuart asked me to answer, “my work is about..., in my work I seek to..... “, I found it difficult to respond. I think I have been holding myself at a stand still, with my content by approaching each piece so similarly. I think they became routine and were hinting at the same things and failed to reveal the content that is underneath them. Stuart suggested that I work with found imagery for awhile as a means of exploring what I am drawn to, to further push the content and in turn the context of my work. I am exploring this now and will continue to. Working with found imagery has afforded me a wealth of new images and encouraged juxtapositions of those images that I would not have otherwise discovered. . I am excited for the possibilities and am finding it easier to speak with a little less focus on the character or person and more on their interaction and relation to one another. I look forward to being able to finish those sentences and to creating work that is less controlled and less familiar to me. I know what I need to hold onto and what I should let go of. The first residency made me aware of these things and I am eager to move on.


  1. DANG- words words words from outside- presumptive words- Your art stands out from ALL because it is what you leave out, what the focus is, the FEELING of mystery and story given to the viewer, which makes it more interactive.Your work does not clearly define - that is part of the beauty of it.The empty space is welcoming to the story of the characters. Size matters, you might go bigger but other than that I would not change the lives of your characters at all- LOVE YOUR WORK.

  2. Interesting summary. Changing the scale of the figures sounds like it will give a good opportunity to confront the characters differently. Getting out of the comfort zone an taking risks is a good challenge.
    Seems like exciting times for your work. All the bestl

  3. Well why did I feel like the old couple in the corner were worrying about the scary future now they are old and can't deal so well with it? Why did I feel like the lady and child cut out from the family picture was what I would like for my daughter? And why did I feel that recent large group of people were having a family reunion?

    Either I have a super imagination or your pictures led me to their story. I keep returning because I want to see what more of your characters are saying to me. Growth is good. Change can be good. I hope you can do both without losing the specialness of your work. Remember Stephen King was told he was a rotten writer many, many times yet he is now one of the most popular. Well, let's see what you come up with (and here I thought your work WAS large when I saw it on your bulletin board in that recent photo).

  4. hmmm! it must have been a bit confusing at first to hear all those remarks. they go in so many directions. Sorting them out like you did here must have helped.
    I agree with everyone here so far though. your images tell mysterious stories and I think this is what appeals to people. this is what appeals to me. the ambiguity of the expressions that your characters have make me pause and think of how they feel, what's their story, do they look happy or sad... I'm surprised that this very important aspect of your work didn't come out in your residency. The fact that they are on an empty space contributes to the ambiguity of their feelings. If they were in a defined environment, a realistic one, it may leave less to the imagination. Size is important too. The fact that they are smaller pulls us toward them, make us voyeur of their life.
    Wow! this is such a great challenge! I'm looking forward to see what comes out of your residency. I think that the fact that you confront what you learned there with us is also very interesting. Maybe it would help you sort out the pros and cons raised by both your peers and your fans :)
    In the end, there's nothing like experimenting to bring you elsewhere. Isn't it what art is for anyway?

  5. WOW. Thank you all for such thoughtful comments on my last two posts. It means so much that you would take such time and that you feel so connected to my work. IT means so much I cannot tell you.
    I hope that I will never lose the qualities that speak to you, i don't think I will. I hope to retain the sincerity, the ambiguity and the unfinishedness. I do look forward to changing and growing. My residency was great even if I don't make it sound so. I focused mostly on the criticism, I tend to do that but you all have balanced that out quite nicely. Thank you,
    I so appreciate your honesty and if you feel like I am letting something go or you find it hard to connect please tell me. I welcome your comments. Art is a communication and I feel lucky to speak in images, my words are sometimes lacking.

  6. so interesting ~ it's almost like sitting next to you in class. and i feel for you having to hear some of the harsher judgments. it must be really tricky to take on viewpoints in your own way! i agree with what others have said re the context/background. i actually love your use of abstract work/layers behind some of your characters ~ it's so unique and from what i know, so you.
    i relate to what you said about trying to change things for the sake of it can be 'plastic and contrived'. the line between trying to be something you are not and pushing yourself forward seems thin/scary, but good in the end! you could go crazy with all the thinking but it sounds like you are doing well