Residency 2 Summary Aug 2012

Critique Feedback
  • Laurel Sparks:
“I think you should continue working on the collage self-portraits. Have you considered painting from the collages or would that be too mechanical?”
See Sterling Ruby’s ceramic vessels that are in dialogue with Lucio Fontana’s work and are grotesque and earthy. Your buckets are almost like cauldron’s where rituals take place and then have the residue of whatever ritualistic process went into them. I am interested in the use of the ready made, like the plastic bucket, and not being precious about it in something that has a lot of intentionality about it. You don’t have to move into ceramics although it might be really interesting.”
“I think that your paintings and objects belong in the same space together. The witch cats are incredible and I think you should keep painting them - like the portrait and its association with imagination and the archetype.”
“I see your work as really eclectic. There’s performance, the object and you’re a painter and the work can be all these things because they’re all talking to each other. Joan’s work is a good source for you because she has really specific symbolism but has a flexibility of narrative and a complexity of atmosphere and emotion to it. For me painting the deer in the snow was a riff of a documentary of Jackson Pollock but also had this ritualistic side simultaneously.”
“The ridiculousness is just in the work. I’m glad that Joan Jonas’s work touched you because I see the relationship so clearly. Her work is very thoughtful but there’s a certain flimsiness to it.”
“You’re reiterating the stereotype but it’s not really about the stereotype. You can acknowledge that without getting heavy about it.”
“Yves Kline and the symbolic colours and movements and body painting that is riveted with stereotype problems which plays into the humour of your work. There’s also the mythology of Leonora Carrington.

  • Sunanda Sanyal:
“The collage portraits are working very well, you should continue layering the portraits”
“Do not treat the photographs of the buckets as documentation and you may want to make the buckets even more exotic. I would like to see the sides, these look like the mandalas, perhaps make them unstable – there’s a monumentality here that you can play with, put them on the edge of a table… In other words, in these the objects lose their objecthood but you can also go back to the object and treat them as objects. These look invincible but you can have them looking like just buckets.”
“The vessel is a metaphor for woman’s receptivity – the implication is passive at least historically... I see these buckets as having a presence and that is empowering and I think the discussion of abstraction and studio, is not completely unrelated to your central concerns of femininity. You’re forgetting the most obvious, who’s making this? It’s a woman as an artist in control of the studio process.
Laurel will be good for you. Your work just has to be pushed in different directions to see what comes out.
Think about the whole installation first rather than combining all your projects and hoping they’ll work in an installation. The components should not make sense on their own.

  • Tony Apesos:
Julia Kristeva
‘Formless’ by Yves-Alain Bois and Rosalind Krauss – the collapsed, lost form
Dichotomy of mushy and spiritual discussed beautifully in ‘Antigone’
Mathew Barney exploring male stereo-stypes – uses Vaseline to comment on the phallic obsession with sperm.
‘Beauty’ by Roger Scruton
‘The Sticky Sublime’ by Bill Beckley
‘The Power of the Centre’ – Rudolf Arnheim
‘The Mandala’ - Jung

  • Peter Rostovsky:
‘The Sublime and the Avant-Garde’ by Leotard – the sublime is associated with the grotesque.
‘Visions of Excess’ by George Bataille – a Surrealist deals with the abjection of the body, the stuff that’s lowly and formless, the monsterous and ridiculous on a certain level and how they enter the sublime and the numinous and what distinguishes them from beauty is the intensification.”
“I would zoom in (the buckets) so it’s less of a documentation. You really want to plunge the viewer into the world. I don’t need the object, I saw them as abstract painting”
“Ruby Sterling has similar fetishistic objects. Julie Kristeva ‘The Powers of Horror’: The Monstrous Feminine. What is abject? What is suppressed? Freud’ Fetishism. Another book on the fetish was published by Zone (?) In the 90s”
“If I come in here as an indoctrinated viewer and if you tell me that It’s about the feminine, the body and materiality it’s all I need. Everything else becomes redundant for me. Donna Harroway talks about Feminism as a state of hybridity between man, machine and animal as a release from the feminine identity, which is what is happening here.
Hal Foster ‘The Return of the Real’ discusses the transition from subject to representation.
“Do not fetishise the object but plunge the viewer into a world where they are confronted with materiality as opposed to looking at a sculpture that already frames it. If the idea is about the formless then give me the formless.”

  • Lynne Tillman:
“Joan Jonas looks to poets and epics – these grounding stories from different cultures, these early, rather dramatic narratives.”
“It’s interesting when you talk about narrative, because you can’t draw from a specific cultural narrative.  You have two very different backgrounds and you’ve never lived in those countries and your parents have formed their own culture… I can understand you being drawn to spiritual philosophies.”
“My favourite photo is where the object has maintained its objecthood. I feel that with a lot of the others, the photographs are about something else. The photograph is a window. I don’t want to think that I’m looking at something else that has been photographed.”
“Narrative doesn’t have to be created with words. You said you’re interested in the cat, but anything can be a cat, it depends on how it’s done and sequenced in a series. One of my favourite artists is Peter Dreher and he has been painting a water glass since 1974. That glass has become a character. Since 1974, he has changed so much. His capacity to paint and see and the way he sees, so the glass is also an autobiography.”
“Think about an object and then stay with that object. So that object and the way you see it, can become a character. And have it in your life where you can see it and maybe from that you can develop a character.”
“You’re using a lot of different forms and that can be a little confusing.”

  • Jan Avgikos:
“The photographs that I respond to are the ones I can’t resolve. The interesting thing about that experience is that I can’t resolve it and I can’t name it. Putting language to these things is a way to access them or define or locate them is part of the activity I engage it.”
“This stuff (portraits) is completely compelling and scary. Are these indexical with the feminine for you? This one feels like a vampire to me. What’s interesting to me is that in Greek mythology you have a whole family of Gorgons. The Medusa is one of them and that’s where I go. I think these images are empowering. This one where you stitched the eye, because the eye is such a powerful element of this gaze. My immediate impulse is to take the buckets down and put the portraits up on the wall. I’m liking the way the photograph has been altered as attributing to something that’s menacing and that’s powerful that’s not necessarily so specific. I don’t even understand these as male of female but some space that’s more ambient or protean, shape-shifting more of a Cyborg. Have you read anything by Donna Harraway? It has to do with hybrid, colonisations that might be stretching back and have migrated from the ancient to the present or ritualistic or things that don’t necessarily obey the idioms of contemporary life. I think they’re very powerful and exciting.”
“Why lighten up? Why not go all the way in?”
“Because something has been done, it’s even more of a reason to do it. I am so uninterested in the emphasis on the development of a new form. Whatever you do, you have never done before, so you are in charge of stealing, thievery, trickery, borrowing, dispersing, bringing together – that’s artistic practice.”
“I revere Joan Jonas… she’d interested in what is referred to as pagan. She wants to avoid her work being in a stereotypical position or one that can be easily resolved to create a gestalt that is either accepted or dismissed to work in and out of spaces that are antithetical to contemporary art.”
The carnivalesque is a big player here.

  • Michael Newman:
Connections with Richard Wilson and Francis Bacon. “What about performing with masks?”
“Have you ever read any Gilles Deleuze the philosopher? There’s a text in a book called ‘Thousand Plateaus’ called ‘Becoming Animal’ which may interest you. Funnily enough Deleuze was Jungian in an early phase of his career but takes it into a much more contemporary direction. He also wrote a book on Francis Bacon, called something like ‘The Logic of Sensation’, so have a look.
“This developing an alter ego through painting is quite interesting also in terms of your context – where you’re working is quite oppressive. This other character could be a source of freedom.”
“I like the materiality of the buckets and working on that could be interesting. Seeing them as portals and mirrors, putting oil and other stuff in them to see where that takes you. I think they’re almost more interesting as photographs than objects. It’s almost like reading tealeaves. ”
“You’re working between materiality and some kind of narrative that you’re developing in terms of a double of yourself, it seems very promising. Your practice is intermediary sort of three-dimensional photography and painting and I would press ahead with all of them.

  • Book as a precious object
  • New Zealand Book Council – book animation -
  • All books in the West originally made by monks in the worship of God
  • Books made out of clay, then skin, then decorated, then illustrated and finally organized into columns
  • Book of Hours - peacock feathers around text/image – illustration moving from text to blank age – borders/windows/skies – ornate letters/faces in letters – God/clouds/rays/creatures – envelopes – writing in margins – brail/coloured texts/secret writing/overlapping/cutting out text – 3-D illusional illustrations – pattern - mirrors
  • Yuken Teruya – paper artist – environment
  • Justine Smith – money flowers
  • Mia Pearlman – paper ceiling sculptures

Critical Theory
    • The archive results from the work or feeds into the work
    • What are the fundamental elements for an archive? How would it be distinguished from a library or a collection?
    • Archive as a metaphor – archive and memory
    • Archive and narrative – fiction and factuality, documentation (what of?) how will it be interpreted?
    • Archive as a trace/mark of a moment
    • Gerard Byrne – artist as archiver – photography and film as proof
    • Kabakov – collective needs, collective fantasy
    • What is the difference between an archive and garbage?
    • Installation of a fictional archive of a fictional character
    • Museum place of display – archive stores documents
    • Colonial objects used to create a temporal structure
    • Analogue data – there’s a physical trace
    • Freud – erasure/suppression of memory a coping mechanism
    • Hitchcock and the MacGuffin – a plot device
    • Memory as trace and memory as construction
    • Proust’s ‘In Search of Lost Time’ – returning to memory through non-visual triggers (dunking madeleines in coffe).
    • The role of technology mediating the archive
    • Parafiction: is related to but not quite a member of the category of fiction as established in literary and dramatic art. It has one foot in the real. Real/imaginary personages and stories intersect with the world. Pragmatics of trust – fictions experienced as fact. Deception.
    • Antique memory jug – vessel for the afterlife. Object as archive. Vessel for the soul.
    • Susan Hiller – relation of archive to display/storage – open archival boxes.
    • Sculptural – grave-like – Christian Boltanski – introduction of fictionality
    • Freud’s house – spaces – psychoanalysis and architecture – ‘The Sense of the Interior’ by Diana Fuss
    • Photographic archive – the object loses its value
    • Artist as curator of artwork

Goals for the Semester
Investigating the performative, abject, sublime, sincere and satirical in my work in a variety of media including film and sound.

List of Reading
  • ‘The spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890 – 1985’ by Tuchman et al
  • ‘Symbolist Aesthetics and Early Abstract Art’ by Dee Reynolds
  • ‘Joan Jonas’ by Marina Warner et al
  • ‘Living the Magical Life: An Oracular Adventure’ by Suzi Gablik
  • ‘The Reenchantment of Art’ by Suzi Gablik
  • ‘Simians, Cyborgs and Women’ by Donna Harraway
  • ‘Susan Hiller’ by Ann Gallagher
  • ‘Sexual Personae’ by Camille Paglia
  • 3x Abstraction: New Methods of Drawing-Hilma af Klint, Emma Kunz, and Agnes Martin
  • Whitechapel Series: The Sublime, The Gothic, Colour, Beauty
  • Paul Laffoley ‘Book of Lies’ – Symbolist artists protecting the sacred by being campy

Artist for Research
  • Joan Jonas
  • Joachim Koester
  • Susan Hiller
  • Edward Munch
  • Hilary Harnischfeger
  • James Hyde
  • Rineke Dijkstra
  • Kiki Smith
  • Ruby Sterling – ceramic vessels
  • Dana Schutz – the self-eating people
  • Nicole Eisenmen – symbolic characters
  • Jebediah Ceasar – makes stuff from his environment or finds from his walks / journeys. Geological and talismanic.
  • Paul Klee - puppet work
  • David Wojnarowicz - "A Fire in My Belly" – performance
  • Harry Smith and Kenneth Anger (‘Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome’) – Synesthetic filmmakers
  • Yves Kline – painting and performance
  • Gutai movement – performance art
  • Marchesa Luisa Casati (‘Infinite Variety’) – she was the work of art
  • Leonora Carrington – mythology
  • Sarah Bernhardt – opera singer who slept in a coffin
  • Jutta Koether – sincerety and satire bound up in an ambivalent place

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