Residency 1 summary, Feb 2012

Critique session with Laurel Sparks:
Emma Kunz - at the Zach Feuer gallery – Mandalas
Stephen Mueller - painter
Leonora Carrington
Diamanda Galas
Genesis P Orridge
Alfred Kubin
Odilon Redon
Gustave Moreau
Pheobe Washburn
Jessica Stockholder
Symbolist Aesthetics and Early Abstract Art: Sites of Imaginary Space (Cambridge Studies in French) – discussing the transition from French Symbolism into Abstraction as a way of exploring sacred iconography and embedding spiritual codes in imagery – romantic response to the enlightenment
The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890-1985 by Maurice Tuchman – not just painting, including Harry Smith
Looking into the spirituality and symbolism in art late C19th and Modern Art
Gothic literature
“What is key is your intentionality to do something that is such a cliché, celebrate it, own it and critique it.”

Critique session 1 with Sunanda Sanyal (Advisor):
"I'm intrigued that you use the word "feminine" which is discarded by Feminism and seen as disempowering. What seems to anyone looking at your work and comes up is the "femme fatale" which was Munch's representation of women… are you being critical and looking at archetypes through the historical lens or are you seeing them as archetypes? In the latter case it would be trouble."
Critique session 2 with Sunanda Sanyal (Advisor):
Anna Mendietta
 “Today if you address gender vis-à-vis some kind of Pagan primordiality… The 3rd wave in Feminism was all about the hybridism of identity, the woman question was rejected… when you approach woman pagan primordiality, there are two ways to do that. The first is that you are critical… Anna Mendietta’s work did not show any deconstruction… show the Femme Fatale – that’s not what Feminism is about any more, the other way of approaching it is that: I’m from a different culture and I have a right to do this because I’m coming from a very different world. Now you have to choose one and if you chose the latter then you have to make sure that that comes through in your statements etc… otherwise, you will be misjudged… Irony is not really the issue here as much as critical consciousness as to where all these issues stand in 2011.
Critique session 3 with Sunanda Sanyal (Advisor):
Clement Greenberg – Avant-Garde and Kitsch
Vision and Difference – Griselda Pollock
The Expanding Discourse: Feminism and Art History – Mary Garrard
Laura Mulvey – Feminist Film Theorist
 “It’s about doing it, and getting bashed, getting critiqued and eventually finding your way. It’s a complicated process… at this point it’s not working (paintings), they may be interesting images but in terms of what you claim your content is, it’s not working. To be honest with you, I don’t think that painting has the language, I don’t think it’s possible. Painting is studio language, it’s like classical music, it doesn’t speak for the collective anymore. But the process of painting can be used - video tape yourself painting and that could be part of… with words, talking or whatever… and you can ask which is the artwork, the painting, the video or the performance – it’s a video of a performance using painting as a process.”

Critique session with Tony Apesos:
Odd Nerdrum - has declared himself to be a kitsch-painter identifying himself with
kitsch rather than with the contemporary art world
Ross Bleckner – relevant to my Mandala art
Sexual Personae – Camille Paglia (including cats)
Harries Karsten – The Meaning of Modern Art – essays on kitsch – Kitsch manipulates you emotionally rather than let you contemplate and think
Clement Greenberg – Avant-Garde and Kitsch (trivial sense)
Idols of Perversity – Bram Dijkstra
Munch and Woman – Image and Myth – Patricia G Berman
The Second Sex – Simone Di Beauvoir
Monuments and Maidens – Marina Warner (magic, fairytale)
Linda Nochlin – feminism
The Re-enchantment of Art – Suzi Gablik – magic, shamanism, performance art – rejects deadening of conceptual art
Hermann Broch – essays on kitsch

Critique session with Judith Barry:
Gender Troubles by Judith Butler
Masquerade – debate in the 80s
Joan Copjek
Art and Feminism – Phaidon – useful bibliography
Claire Bishop – installation art
RECOMMENDATION: The Sharjah Art Foundation Residencies programme
   One of the things that you have to figure out is, because you don’t construct the meaning in the same way that you do when you look at a painting, then you have to figure out what it is that you are trying to say in the installation… so they’ll [audience] go from here, to here, to here… many people will not enter it the way you want it to… if you set certain places in the installation or it’s apparent that that’s where you would enter it then you have more control… you consider audience more than perhaps with a painting… and it’s very time based… you get to set it up in your studio and experiment… to get good at it you need to see a lot of installations… you can bring theatrical solutions in a way that you can’t necessarily in painting”

Critique session with Graduate student Rob Sullivan
Michael Borreman’s –film (living tableaus) 3D work
5 Obstructions – Lars Von Trier
Trevor Spalding – thesis on Kubler Ross
Must be aware of Art discourse, for example feminism, and position yourself within it.
"You need to get to know yourself and they [FACULTY] need to know that you know who you are"
Critique session with Graduate student Gillian Mosvold:
Key words from those present at the crit:
Mystical, mysterious, eyes, expressive, movement, dimensional/ I feel like I should be inside/ sculptural, cocoon, covered, central, energy, beauty, graphic, eyes/universe/opening, otherworldly, outer space, science fiction, intuition, dreamscapes, symmetry, Dark/deep colours, Druids/She-Devil, galactic
Critique session with Graduate student Teresa Bonillo
Chiharu Shiota – she transports you – movement, space, relationship between the space and the object
William Kentridge – South African artist –animated charcoal drawing – "it's in the making that the meaning will emerge"
Arnulf Rainer – deconstructive paintings – paint over photos to get rid of the body
The Object Stares Back by James Elkins
The Dominion of the Dead by Roger Pogue Harrison – keeping our connection with the dead
Painting with Light – John Altman
Film Noir genre
QUESTION: “[Sculpture] how do you do the material and keep the ethereal?”

Seminar: Darkness
FIELD TRIP: Two Masters of Fantasy: Bresdin and Redon Museum of Fine Arts Boston
Critical Theory 1:
Foucault – “power is productive – we internalize museum rules and behave in expected ways.”
 “Critical Theory sees Art as a mythic narrative that needs to be questioned.”

It was strange talking to a room full of artists about my work on the first day, especially after fifteen years of barely mentioning it to people closest to me. The feelings of fear and excitement accompanied me throughout the residency. I was delighted for my work to get so much TLC and for me to get such tailored advice. My world was also deconstructed; there was grief, loss and bewilderment but I learnt more than I have in years. That is what I was at AIB for.
I feel very ignorant and am keen to read as much of the literature, on the endless list I have compiled from excellent recommendations, as is possible. At the same time, however, I am also remembering, connecting, sorting and contextualizing a lot of the information that I already know. Nebulous, nagging doubts that I had about my work were pounced on in crits, nailed down and confronted. The process must continue as I wade through the discourse of art and address all that it will expose in me and in my work.
There is a sense of pent up energy, urgency and panic in me that I must channel efficiently. My pushy yet highly perceptive and caring advisor Sunanda Sanyal, gave me grave warnings against taking on too much, committing to too many projects in not enough depth and spiraling into a self-defeating frenzy. When I played the recording of our critique session to my mother and sister (both artists), they burst out laughing in agreement. As I said, he is highly perceptive.
My area of exploration this semester will centre on gender issues in the art historical context. This is important because reclaiming power in imagery depicting women in general, and specifically in my self-portraits, interests me a great deal. I know that this investigation will spill over into other areas and am hoping that it will eventually lead me back to the dear to me, but generally dreaded topic of spirituality. Laurel Sparks, in particular, was very positive in validating it as an eternally relevant subject, and in a very different way, so was Tony Apesos. I will keep my promise to Sunanda and steer clear of it for now. I know that “spirituality” is indeed a mine-field in terms of the discourse of art and the present context of Postmodernism.
In practical terms, I propose to finish my 10-15 minute film, build at least one sculpture and try to experiment in combining the two in an installation. I foresee all sorts of technical issues arising in the making of the work but want to make use of the relatively luxurious freedom I have as a Group 1 newbie.