Response to THINGS listening and reading
Things are very important to me. I form attachments quickly, and hold a deep appreciation for the history of the items I have. The older and more used a thing is, the more affection I have for it.
One way that I see the influence of my relationship with things influencing my making is my need to have a personal hand in the history of the piece I create, versus machine-made. Working with my hands adds a humanity to the piece—the straight cuts are more impressive, the mistakes a part of a story of the piece’s making. The piece and share a piece of history, at different times meditative, transformative, or turbulent.
If Doris Salcedo is a secondary witness, then her artwork is a testimony and her objects are evidence. In Radiolab’s first story, the egg also served as proof of something. When I make pieces, I think I am often trying to make my own kind of document, but not of a physical event. I believe I am trying to manifest evidence or documentation of internal or intangible phenomena.
As Jaki said, nothing is built from scratch, though sometimes we like to pretend they are. My paper artwork is almost always made from new paper. I do this so that the medium does not bring its own history into the piece. I often feel that the material’s individual, tangible history would misrepresent the intangible phenomenon I am after. Even the history-less-ness of the paper holds meaning in my work.
Can I use material with no history or with irrelevant history to document or testify to events that have no physical evidence or documentation? Is work that tries to represent the intangible rooted in fiction, or can it still possess truthfulness? Is there a formula for making work that isn’t rational make sense?
MFA Documentation - Continued Artist Research
Focusing on my goal of experimenting with kinetic sculpture, I revisited two artists whose work initiated this desire for me.
With the idea of kinetic sculpture in the realm of possibility, I expanded my artist research to look for other kinetic artists that resonated with me. The number of kinetic sculptures in existence is overwhelming, but it was helpful to be able to identify distinctly which pieces felt like a path I'd like to go down and which pieces felt alien to me. Several artists and works appealed to me, but a few stand out as potential influences.
Proposal of Sorts
For MFA Sculpture, I would like to develop a small body of kinetic, mechanical works that have the potential to benefit from learning new wood and metal skills. These pieces will employ movement as a means to either imbue liveliness or, hopefully, create a narrative. Figures may be represented or implied. Paper may be employed.
The first step for theses works would be a short study of mechanical movement, not unlike Wolf Cat's, working to quickly employ various mechanisms on a small scale. These would be documented mechanically, but would also lead to sketchbooking the potential uses and movements the mechanisms could be applied to. This step would be done alongside learning new tools.
After the study, I begin the first piece, still small in scale, based on a design that emerges from the study. The primary goal would be to create a finished, mechanical piece, but also to work on how I plan a mechanical element and to see what additional skills I need to create it. For example, a more precise way to bend wire or to learn to create functional gears.
From there, I would like to make an additional 3-8 works, depending on scale and complexity, that can grow technically and conceptually.
1. Figure Sculpture vs MFA Sculpture
While I feel it is very important for me to learn to sculpt the figure by shadowing this class, I feel its impact on the work I'd like to do may be limited.
2. More than I can chew
It's possible that this is too ambitious.
3. Conceptual relevance
I have an interest in storytelling and cycles, which I feel like these sculptures may lend themselves to, but I want to do this in a way that is refined and not elementary.