Thursday, April 19, 2012


"Long Voyage" under construction.

There are only two weeks left until the end of my time as a graduate student.  As always, the end of the semester is a busy time.  I am working long hours to finish the written requirement for my Masters of Fine Arts.  Although the educational experiences for a graduate student in art culminate in the thesis exhibition (a display of the art work the student has been developing for two and a half years) written documentation about the work is expected.  Writing provides an opportunity for me to look at my work at a distance and to reflect on the strange, often confusing path I wended to my thesis show.

It is a challenge to use a linear structure to describe my fragmented creative process.  The work I created for my thesis show was not the result of singular thoughts leading directly to finished work.  Instead, the pieces in  the show came together around a collection of ideas and interests in a process similar to the way planets form.  My interests in physics, math, philosophy, and science fiction exerted a sort of gravitational pull on a variety of media, techniques, and methods.  A landscape painting would emerge next to a pile of electronics slowly coalescing into a mechanism aspiring to give life to a foam planet.  Nearby a cone made of corrugated cardboard would be scrutinized by a video camera looking for the point of view that would transform the scale of the cardboard cone into a large, empty corridor.  In a corner a few wooden boards have been cut, sanded, and screwed together forming a vertical frame to hold a sheet of glass ready for Pepper's ghost.  And there books lying on the floor: a small book of poems by Kay Ryan, a textbook on modern physics, a history of matte paintings, a collection of Jorge Luis Borges stories.  And what is that?  A TI-81 graphing calculator?

Bits and pieces coalescing into "Latecomers to the Universe".
Because several pieces are forming simultaneously, they influence one another.  The landscape painting learns from the baking soda poured over crumpled paper, the gears driving the foam planet make suggestions to the mechanism spinning the galaxy, and a camera tells the space ship that there is such a thing as too many greebles.

As with my thesis show, I am crafting my written documentation by working on many chapters at one time.  I hope that something good will come together by the deadline on May 4.