Saturday, April 10, 2010
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Yesterday, I visited Great Falls on the Potomac River between Virginia and Maryland with my classmates Aviva, Emma, and Marcello, and Aviva's coworker Margaret, from Towson University. I don't know how long it took to drive there-- it felt far but the drive didn't feel too long. I was distracted by conversation and the fun of being so far away from MICA's campus during what was technically class and by carsickness.
I don't know how long we played on the rocks and boulders on the banks of the river, and after a while I deliberately avoided looking for the time. It was incredible to be so near such an enormous force of nature, and it was simple to observe how powerful and old the river is by feeling the texture of some of the boulders-- smooth to be almost glassy from centuries of tons of moving water. From our perspective sitting on boulders high above the river, each instant of time, each strand of the river is identical to the next, but really the river is made of billions of billions of different and individual water molecules. The continuous and unstoppable movement of the course of the water evaporating, condensing, precipitating and then going through a river's course within the course to evaporating again creates a deceptive stillness. Or maybe it isn't deceptive at all; this action and stillness exists at the same time.
How much is active in a moment?
EVERYTHING AND NOTHING? NEITHER EITHER/OR NOR ALL?
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
For a long time, I very rarely used color in my work. Color frightened me. A month or so ago, I bought a box of Crayola crayons in a set of 64 different colors and this drawing is a result of an accumulation of crayon drawings I did since then. I've been almost primarily using crayons in my sketchbook now, ranging from aggressive scraping to small rapid crayon touching in drawing and even to taking notes and doodling cartoons. This is visually a shock for me, as I previously used only graphite pencils or pens for sketching and note taking. It feels a dissolution of how I previously approached drawing because of the completely different texture and colors crayons have-- they are heavier on the page and can be layered and blended with each other physically. Crayons are not only of childhood but are childlike: messy and sticky. I wonder what hits more true- childhood as simple and idyllic or childhood as messy and wild ? But NEITHER EITHER/OR NOR ALL. Even how I approach my sketchbook has changed with or by my set of Crayolas; I've been using loose signatures to draw in, which can be layered and ordered how I wish at any time. This particular drawing is second to last of a series of drawings from the poem "you didn't know why i was laughing" by ellen kennedy.
i carried my red basket and bought the blueberries
the blueberries are stacked neatly in my red basket
we washed the blueberries and put them in two bowls
two pints of blueberries
we hid under a big blanket from everybody we are hidden
we squished our blueberries and ate them with spinach leaves like spoons
'i want to rub my face in my blueberries'
'so do it'
i rubbed my face in my blueberries
i batted my eyelashes against your cheek and left blue streaks on your cheek
i thought about all the times i've almost been hit by a car for listening to loud music while walking and laughed.
Recently, I've been reading through Victorian era books on the "language of flowers", also known as "floriography". In late 19th century, these manuals on metaphoric flowers were ubiquitous in advice and etiquette books, indexing flowers popular to be given in bouquets from wooer to wooed and from wooed to wooer and detailing their supposed meaning. The idea of flowers and other plants having meaning and emotional significance goes far beyond the Victorian Era to the European Medieval ages in which flowers were most often symbolized as morals to the 15th century in Japan in which flowers took on meaning in the art of ikebana.
Kate Greenaway's Language of Flowers (1885)
What's curious to me is the boundaries of which these meanings were taken as fact. Such didactic almanacs from the 19th century were certainly not taken so strictly-- if so, pity on the poor hopeful who includes a pretty sprig from a white cherry blossom tree blissfully ignorant of it meaning 'deception'. But, these were clearly taken seriously in that these books were popularly owned and consulted. There is a struggle between believing in order to make concrete meaning from emotion and suspending this belief to indulge hope or prolong doubt that is acknowledged in the existence of these informational texts.
How much of my perception of the past is taken as fact? I don't know if that awareness directly shapes my present, but there is definite nostalgia involved in my work, and more recently directly conveyed by turning to crayons as a medium. The past is a significant element of the present, just as the future is, in confluence with the now. It can't be denied that the past is a worker in the present, so I struggle with the confluency of the two but undeniable separation of them as well. In both floriography and working with crayon, there is nostalgia for the past and a searching for the present meaning from the past.
This method of conversation with flowers is fascinating. One bud is a symbol, but symbolism opens interpretation for multiplicity. A defined meaning is not a solution-- it is a package of allusions and hints and that covers and hides itself while it exposes itself too. I see a correlation between the layering and accumulation in the way I've been approaching crayon in my drawings and the similar extents of layering and accumulating in "floriography". When conflicting flowers are presented in a bouquet, they are oft to lose their presumed meaning and simply become a beautiful bunch of flowers-- or they can be related to another in a projected histogram or brainstorm chart from 2nd grade or scatterplot or in endless tangents of meaning to make a cohesive nove, or, or, or so on. The contradictions of the banal in the excitement of living or the exciting in the banal that is felt so strong in childhood with a limited perception of time mirror the shifting of no-meaning and multitudes of meaning in flowers.
Monday, March 15, 2010
In researching cartography for my color talk, another assignment for Elements of Visual Thinking, I've become interested in isometric perspective and the interaction between detail and scale. Road map cartography most commonly combines the classic "bird's-eye view" with an isometric perspective in which distance is not calculated into showing perspective scaling.
So, a land mass that is roughly the same size as another but is farther away from a single view point would be represented to scale, with no warping of perspective. A landscape is flattened not by one bird's eye view but rather by infinite pairs of eyes to create the whole of a map representing a section of the Earth. But the whole of this representation is modified by a change in scale and thus detail. Going beyond road maps, which more manageably section our world, different world map projections demonstrate these different modifications of scale and detail which reasonably attempt to make tangible enormous distance, mass, and variation in surface area, which are not necessarily distortions if a globe is accepted as equally (mis)representing the Earth.
There is compromise in these modifications of scale and detail through perspective. It is necessary and unavoidable: a map of scale 1:1 couldn't be held and a map of precise and meticulous detail couldn't be read. Compromise between two participating components, the real-ity of the physical and immense and the real-ity of the physical and holdable, that accommodate each other-- com-, com-, com- of WITH, TOGETHER, MUTUAL. You are Well -Com(e) (t)Here. Not equal of sameness and static energy but equality of two different reals that enable each other to be seen and understood. They are not at all independent, and no more solely dependent, but interdependent.
With the first two pieces of this blog, I feel I was attempting to address these two different reals with bridges as seen in the motif of cotton thread. I was aware of these different reals, but frustrated with the fact of their different-ness. To be transparent, I began writing about maps in an exercise to remain objective about a topic that is emotionally charged to me, rather than deliberately seeking a solution/relationship to my first two pieces. However, I feel I discovered a logical and symbiotic relationship in this topic that makes me more equipped in terms of my frustration with the intangibility of distance. There is less loneliness/isolation and more discovery in choosing to bind relations between different worlds to become interdependent, rather than being stuck on their separateness and dwell on their isolation as I think I had been.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
this is part of a piece in which these videos are projected on a wall side by side. i grasp two threads connected to the threads on the videos and pull. the videos are videos my brother took of my parents. i wanted to play with time differences and have simultaneous action occur from across distance and time. this is one of several pieces i've done with thread.