Friday, January 21, 2011

Fashion Pixels

So I've always had a love/hate relationship with fashion. I appreciate the artistry, the way that identity can be mutable and re-shaped, the textures, colors, the touching upon a utopian dream world etc. But I also hate it, I hate the superficiality, the harmful messages, the way it reduces everything to consumer/producer.
I've been thinking alot about an increasingly digitized world that we live in, and how much of the stimulation that I get is through glowing screens.
So this series of paintings springs from that inchoate bit of thoughts. I painted fashion photography, which transfers it from the glossy mass produced form that I normally encounter it in, and i chose images that exemplify what I love about fashion, the colors, textures, movements. I also chose images that in general obscure and break up the human figure, which I feel make the photos themselves more about abstract compositions in a rectangle as opposed to over-photoshopped  impossible and disgusting ideals of the female form designed to break down self-esteem which increases the likelihood of a purchase.  (I thickened up the red one just a hair so it wouldn't look so fragile.)
the pixels serve a couple different functions. they break up the image even further into abstract compositions, they take the translation of photo to painting even further, and they serve as a reminder of the constant distortions that we in a digitized age are filtering through. Almost every image we see is actually consisting of tiny little pixels that we synthesize into a seamless image. So I wanted the pixels to function almost as white noise on a screen, which I think the big pink one comes the closest to fulfilling that.

P.S. My friend Cassie blogged about one of the pieces. Check it out here

Statement of Purpose draft 1

The most important battle I’m ever going to fight is complacency. The best tool I have for fighting complacency is making art. The act of creating is in itself a hopeful act, and I connect apathy with a lack of hope. I believe that making art is actively fighting back against ideas and values that are spoon fed to me, reclaiming the thoughts in my head. I think that as art functions for me personally, so too can it function for a culture or society as a liminal space. 
A liminal space is where “one's sense of identity dissolves to some extent, bringing about disorientation, but also the possibility of new perspectives. Indeed, 'if liminality is regarded as a time and place of withdrawal from normal modes of social action, it can be seen as potentially a period of scrutiny for the central values and axioms of the culture in which it occurs.”(Victor W. Turner, The Ritual Process (Penguin 1969) p. 155). I try to explore this idea of art functioning as a liminal space on both an individual and more universal level in my art. 
My art submitted covers about two years and even though the images are diverse and showing a progression there are some common themes. I often use “low” materials, found objects, sewing materials, or collage elements mixed in with my paintings. I feel that this is connected to a couple different heritages for me. When the Abstract Expressionist’s started using house paint and sticks to paint with it was a break from more elite materials, and it was the first real American-based art movement. The thread and ribbon are obviously connected to feminist attempts to elevate traditionally women crafts to a more hallowed place in the art world. 
Another common theme is the depiction of feminine forms. In the body of work that I submitted there are women exploding, pixelating, drowning, falling, flying, giving birth, and fossilizing. On an abstract level I believe that this perhaps over-used discussion has validity because it mimics the visual world I swim in which is supersaturated with cartoons of photoshopped women. On a personal level it has validity because not only am I female, but I’ve had peculiar experiences which make the gender discussion seem more urgent, which range from working at sexist restaurants to being brought up Mormon to being bulimic in high school. 
Explosions are a re-occurring theme, both visually and thematically, and the connection between explosions and gender issues is that the explosions heighten the sense of urgency. There are many things wrong with the synthetic pixelated world. Human beings are exhibiting increasing signs of self-destruction, and whether it’s a personal implosion or an external explosion the worst response in my mind is to pretend like things are going to fix themselves. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Football Players and Mermaids

So this is probably long over due, since it was work I made for a show over a year ago. But I'm catching up bit by bit.