I’ve got a fly on a string in my head. My drawings have repeatedly included this image of lightbulbs with a swarm of flies buzzing around them. I decided to attempt this mental image in three dimensions. It has been quite a process. I ordered fly larva online (aka magets), waited for them to hatch and then attached string to the legs of any fly I possibly could (not easy). The result is much of what I had hoped it would be:
As I acclimate to our new living quarters, I impulsively took some pictures of the morning light shining through the windows. As I was uploading them, I noticed a theme. I have done this often in the places where I live as the below history of images shows. The translucent but impenetrable properties of the glass in a house are so seductive. The panes allow light in, you to look out, protects from weather, vaguely reflects the surroundings. All of my photo’s are from the inside looking out rather than the outside looking in referencing a domestic, safe location from which I am shooting. If the photo’s were taken from the outside, it would likely recall a more voyeuristic tone–less safe, more creepy.
I used to trace the giraffe and elephant on the kid’s menu’s from Bill Knapp’s family restaurant (my family pretty much only went to Bill Knapp’s when we went out as a kid) by putting the paper on the window and drawing through to the other side. It’s difficult to recall if this was part of my thought process when I started taking photo’s of the magazine pages on the window, but I’m pretty sure the first drawing I made in my apartment in the Bronx (summer 2004), with the lamp under a glass table where I traced Jonbenet Ramsey’s face intermingling with some Keebler elves I was thinking about this “practice”.
Speaking of tracing, last night during the Artist in Residence lectures Iris Eichenberg (Metals at Cranbrook) was talking about tracing as re-experiencing the steps you have already taken. I really liked this as I have usually thought about it as copying or plagiarism. Anyway, I’m off topic from the window panes I began writing about. There are images to peer through below.
This is the first image I took of a magazine page on the window in 2007.
A new combination.
Photo: 22×33 inches
These new images come from a desire to treat the women in the fashion magazines more as a portrait subject. The more I look into my interest in taking these images, the more I realize that I actually really love the imagery. I was talking a lot about light, disregard for fashion images by combining them, the way advertising uses anything we feel we lack to sell us on what we need. I’m not sure I’m actually that objective. There is a reason that I choose to use fashion images over news. I am also seduced by the intangibility of the allure of these ads. They’re strange and unrealistic, yet, they fit into our real lives. It felt good to take the images in the way that I did today. It’s like I took a little bit of control back from the process. Rather than sticking to rules about documentation (page on the window -> shoot straight on), I was able to manipulate, frame, use the texture of the page and printing, while still revealing the front/back relationship that is my primary interest.
Since the images I took all came from bound, printed material, I decided to bind my versions. The book is only 5×7, which is slightly smaller than I would ultimately print it, but overall I am happy with the way it came out. I chose a variety of images from a variety of magazines. I enjoy the way the spreads entered into the book because of the process they went through (spread, single image, spread). There is a consistency within all the layers of removal that makes the journey away from the original image interesting for me. Some of the pages have one side of the magazine page backed by the other side so that when you put it up to light, they come together pushing my point as far as possible.
I had a critique with the Photo Department on Monday(I am taking an elective with them this semester). Overall, I was very happy with the feedback I got as well as relieved to get the first one out of the way. Here are some shots of the crit space. The photo’s were printed 30×40″ glossy.
Out of my interest in the everyday and small, hidden beauties I have been using magazine pages in my art making for the last year or so. I am particularly interested in the way the images/content from the front and back sides of the page combine when they are backlit.
I am interested in transition; the things that are â€œbetweenâ€. In turning a page in a magazine, there is an instant where the images from both sides of the page interact. In creating pieces of art about this interaction, I am not trying to preserve such a moment as much as draw attention to these sorts of small beauties that encapsulate our lives. To quote the book “Unmonumental”, “life is also filled with grace notes, and when those notes become art, they lift our spirits through the modesty of the rendering”.
The combinations are anything from sexy to strange to hilarious. The images are printed large. So far 20×30, but the next set will be even larger in order to emphasize the combinations and allow the viewer to deal with the imagery in a larger than life manner. The images are ironic and beautiful, but my favorite part is that I am documenting something that actually exists. Almost every person that has seen these images has a difficult time identifying their origin. It is usually assumed that I made these combinations in photoshop, which would be a completely different piece, of coarse. I will be having a set of these prints critiqued in the next few weeks and am looking forward to feedback from both the Sculpture and Photo departments.