Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Foundation Lecture: Doug Bucci

Doug Bucci is a maker at heart, he strives to create new and interesting objects, often utilizing biology or raw data in some way. He makes good use of CAD, 3D printing, and other technologies in his work. He is currently a professor at the Tyler School of Art, and teaches in the jewelry and metals department. He gave a very interesting and entertaining presentation, based around his works and how he came to be in his current position. He emphasized the importance of keeping oneself uncomfortable in order to facilitate learning and personal growth. that is probably the main point I took away from the lecture, and I will mow try to embrace the discomfort and try to use it to mold myself as an artist. Keeping this in mind will likely have an impact on what I choose to do over the next couple of years. Eben Bayer's Styrene Replacement

Styrene is one of the most environmentally problematic materials that we use in our everyday lives. It is responsible for a quarter of our landfills and is made up of largely petroleum, rendering it essentially impossible to compost. Eban Bayer presents a cost effective and environmentally friendly alternative. The proposed product, MycoBond, uses agricultural waste items, such as rice husks and oat hulls, and the fungus mycelium to grow organic polymers in any form. The end product takes 5 days to grow, but requires very little processing. It has physical properties similar to styrene, making it a viable packaging alternative, and has an insulation value similar to that of fiberglass. After use the product will decompose quickly, as it is 100% organic, and could be reprocessed into topsoil. It is an amazing material, and will hopefully bring to light even more bio-materials and possible natural polymers to replace oil-based materials.

Eben Bayer: Are mushrooms the new plastic?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Persona, a Beautiful Film

This is my essay on the film Persona by Ingmar Bergman.

Last class we watched Ingmar Bergman’s 1966 film, Persona, starring Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullman. The movie was very interesting, and visually captivating. I enjoyed the harsh contrast and interesting compositions within the shots. I may have a hard time realizing the more conceptual and metaphorical elements of the film, but the artistry and care taken when filming are more than apparent to me. Value is extremely important, and the film becomes more highly contrasted as it progresses, helping to emphasize the change that takes place in the characters. While at the beach the shots are drenched in light, making the scenery seem almost spectral or dreamlike.  The characters wear simple clothes, usually in black. This emphasizes the characters themselves and plays down personal decision on the part of the actors.
            I think that the main characters in this story are in fact the same person, or different parts of the same person. It is possible to take this literally, as it seems possible that Elizabet has Multiple Personality Disorder, or it may be that the characters are simply representing different parts of Bergman. I think that the seemingly unrelated clips and images are meant to illustrate the mind of Elizabet. It would seem that she is disturbed, scared, and confused by the world around her. The characters seem to be almost opposites, even switching extremes as the story progresses. In the beginning Elizabet seems crazy, and Alma is somewhat scared of her. By the end of the film, Alma is mentally broken and Elizabet seems to be in control over herself and fearful of Alma. The final act of the film is the two characters literally merging into one, and Alma taking the role of Elizabet completely. When Elizabet’s husband shows up he recognizes Alma as being Elizabet, leading me to think that the silence of Elizabet represents the recession of that part of her mind, while Alma has come completely to the forefront. This may hint at a narrative that is attempting to represent a change or alteration in the mind of Bergman.  The juxtaposition in careers of the characters represents mental disconnects, and the fact that neither character really understands the job of the other helps to emphasize said disconnect. Alma thinks that an artist must be compassionate to others, while she, the nurse, is the one responsible for compassion and care to the other. Elizabet, on the other hand, sees Alma as nothing more than a companion and object to be studied.
            Personally, I find Persona to be a very interesting and compelling movie and was very difficult to interpret. Persona is open to many different interpretations, which is one of the things that make it such a lasting and timeless film.  The real sticking power is in the subtle ambiguity. It is impossible to tell exactly what Bergman is trying to convey in the film. The true meaning of the film was known by Bergman alone, and I believe he was mentally unstable when the film was written, which leads me to think that it is somehow a comment on his own mind or beliefs. I think that religion plays some role in the story, as the image of a stake being pounded into a hand is repeated more than once throughout the film. Parenthood and sexuality are, together, a fairly dominant theme in the film, but I cannot theorize as to how this relates to the author. Perhaps if I knew more personal information about Bergman some of these themes might become clearer.
            When it was released in 1966 I think this film must have been very controversial and probably quite difficult to understand, as if it becomes much easier now. Persona and films like it will become more important to me as my works progress, and I will be able to draw off the compositions and value sets and tonal ranges found in these films. I think they will also serve to make my work more overtly metaphorical and conceptually rich. At the present my work is fairly literal, but I think these complex representations would be well applied to all forms of art, from painting, to drawing, to design. That is all.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Article essay

The article I chose to write about is a Q and A between the artist Paolo Canevari and Francesca Pietroaolo, conducted with the purpose of discussing the art, background, and ideas of Canevari.
Paolo Canevari is an Italian-born and classically trained artist living in New York City.  He comes from a family long ingrained in the arts; His Father and grandfather were sculptors, and his Brother was also an artist.  Paolo felt from the beginning that he was born as an artist, and even felt obligated to become an artist with his families’ history in the arts. While this feeling of obligation seems somewhat off to me, I appreciate that he felt all along that he was destined to be an artist.
Paolo’s work spans an interesting spectrum of mediums, and seems to ignore some boundaries often associated with said mediums. He makes very interesting choices regarding materials, for example, choosing to draw on 100lb. marble slabs as opposed to paper, and I think there is something very interesting and novel about the concept. He is crossing barriers commonly associated with various artistic disciplines, juxtaposing materials and techniques while providing unique images that stay open to the interpretation of the viewer. He allows viewers to make their own connection to the work, providing symbols with multiple symbolic, spiritual, and societal meanings to be taken as the viewer pleases. This is refreshing to me, as much of the art I see attempts to convince the viewer of an idea or concept as opposed to allowing the viewer to draw their own interpretation.
His work seems very conceptual, with more importance being levied on the ideas encompassed within his work, and less emphasis on the creation or medium.  I don’t mean to say that he downplays material choice in any sense; he just seems less concerned with the traditional academic view of a sculptor, or painter, or video artist. To limit oneself by material or technique is to sacrifice the concept in the process of creation. In the 90s Paolo decided to use tires as the primary materials in his works. This was not the easiest or even the most effective way to go about his work, but it was a material that made a lot of sense concerning his concepts and the importance of tires to our modern life. This is the kind of thinking that creates truly interesting and engaging art, choosing not the material that will be the best way to translate your ideas, but the material that works best in conjuncture with your ideas and enhances the message you wish to convey, ambiguous as it might be.
As an artist Paolo seems to be very attached to his homeland of Italy, and Italian culture and history seems to find its way into his work. Growing up in an environment so overwhelmed by history, it would be difficult to ignore its influence when dealing with art. He seems to be impressed and appreciative of the Italian masters, and believes their work transcends time. In this way I feel some kind of a connection with him, as I find myself enamored with work from the likes of Caravaggio and Malaparte, as they are classical in one sense but in a way almost modern as their work questions the very time and culture in which it exists.
Paolo reads as a very conscious and thoughtful artist, taking nothing at face value and always striving to improve his vision and art. He has an interesting body of work that was a joy to explore, and this article really brought to light some questions and ideas regarding material and the creation of work that I would otherwise not have had. Overall it was an interesting read, and Paolo Canevari is an interesting artist.

ART IS A POLITICAL OPPORTUNITY: Paolo Canevari with Francesca Pietropaolo

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Type Images

In Computers foundation we were assigned to create images using only black and white text. The three images had to be representational, abstract, and expressional.

These are the images that I created