Well, I survived my review. I think I carried myself pretty well and had answers when they had questions. It was an interesting experience having 7 faculty express their opinion about what was working and what wasn’t in my work. The first ten minutes of the review everyone milled around and looked at everything and formed their opinions. All the faculty are so different from each other, so everyone had a different point of view. Then, all attention was focused on me talking about what I am doing. I felt like it was a difficult position to be in since I wasn’t really excited about everything I was showing. My work is not where I really want it to be, and everything they told me, I already knew. I kind of wish it had lasted longer so they could have dug a little deeper. The half an hour to 45 minutes went by fast.
I chose to show a sampling of the various stages of development since I’ve been in the program. I started off drawing my family photos and then started to incorporate the actual images about a year ago. I think this was the biggest concern from everybody. They wanted to see me put more of the artist’s hand into what I am doing. It was interesting that they basically told me to go back to what I was doing when I first started the program. The professor’s that I had never had before didn’t realize that my daily collages were just starting points. They thought they were finished pieces, so I think maybe we could have gotten a little closer to the root of my concept, if this had been clearer from the beginning. I thought it was pretty spelled out clearly in my artist statement, but I got the feeling that a few professors didn’t get a chance to read it, or maybe read it the night before and forgot the details. I guess there were 3 other graduates having reviews. I was a little disappointed when I realized this. I probably should have talked more about these in the beginning as well. Lesson learned.
Here are a few comments or things to consider that came from the review:
- Photos can be considered disruptions of what someone is doing.
- You can’t tell where my family is from looking at the photos. It could be anywhere USA.
- Play with scale.
- Responded to the offset figures and shadows.
- Explore mark making and drawing. Show artist’s presence.
- Question the value of contemporary nostalgia. You don’t want your work to look like the crafty iron on photos that people use to make nostalgic family pillows, etc. That would be too cliche.
- Differentiate yourself from the mass.
- Question the validity and value of creating new fictions.
- What about having contemporary settings? Bring the past to the present?
- Play with obscurity and having things out of focus.
- Humor and playfulness is your strength.
I was a little lost in the studio today, as I was trying to, in a way, reinvent myself. I feel like I needed to start from scratch. I don’t think I need to abandon the photograph all together, I just need to manipulate it further and put my mark on it in an obvious way. With concept on the back burner, I decided to go back to the drawing board with my process:
I read in one of the photography books that I’m reading that before photography, when someone was going away for a long time, and you wanted to have something to remember them by, they would trace the person’s shadow on the wall. Here, I decide to trace the collage on tracing paper, using an x-acto knife as my pen. The photo has been taken away entirely and then the “tracing” has been collaged with fabric.
(Above) Tracing paper with photographic elements from a collage.
(Above) Paper, tracing paper and conte crayon. Here I took away the photo entirely.