Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thoughts on recent exhibitions

In addition to the amazing Stein Collection and the Picasso retrospective in San Francisco Museums, I accompanied a friend visiting from out of town to the Impressionist exhibitions at the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento: Landscapes from the Age of Impressionism, Transcending Vision–American Impressionism, Gardens and Grandeur–Porcelains and Paintings by Franz A. Bischoff.  It surprisingly lead me to consider other glaze treatments of the inside of the tea cup work in progress.  The exhibition of 3-D trompe l'oeil canvases of manufactured packaging by Daneil Douke was thought provoking.  He is essentially making mock up paintings which at a distance look real, but when you get up close, you can see the hand work.  This is similar to the effect of my ceramic trompe l'oeil pieces (without the narrative or scale twists).  He could easily have produced his work in a slicker fashion. The fact that the medium is paint on canvas, the viewer can see the stretcher bars by his leaving the back of the box open, and unevenness of hand lettering, Douke shows his desire to allow the viewer into the process.  He toys with deception while "challenging our assumptions about reality and artiface."

Work in Progress, July 24

One month's progress

It's been almost four weeks since my return from the first residency.  There never seems to be enough time for work and reading.  I'm teaching 5 days a week including Monday's from noon until 9 pm but my schedule will lighten up towards the end of August.  It is difficult to squeeze more into my already packed day but I am managing to make progress.

I started building a new large piece which although is not a complete departure, I am adding other materials (mirror and crochet) and expect to explore new glaze surfaces as well.  It is composed of a large grandmother's style tea cup which I searched antique and thrift stores for, and inflatable swans.  Originally it was going to have an adult swan floating on a mirror within the cup but I decided to knock the cup over and have the swan upside down with a turned neck, and a cygnet 'swimming' away from the cup.  All but the small swan has been constructed but fine detail work is still needed.  It will be a challenge to get the mirror to fit into the sides of the cup because it is not a perfect shape.  The original cardboard piece I made as a placeholder for the mirror lost it's structure from the moisture of the clay so I bought a piece of plexiglass which I hope won't be too difficult to cut and fit after the cup has shrunk in firing. After seeing the Impressionist shows at the Crocker Art Museum, I'm thinking about lining the inside of the cup with (glazed) clouds or shoreline.  There will be glaze tests ahead and I may try decals or China paint for the cup but expect to use underglaze to mimic the inflatables' plastic surface.  I would like to place the cup and swan on a large crocheted doily (which I will have to learn to make!). It has been extremely hot and dry in Davis which has caused some cracking issues with the clay, reminding me of my time at Anderson Ranch. 

Also during this time I made several small abstract forms that seem to flow from the "water" forms of the 'cups runneth' over work which I would like to build on a large scale.  I realize my building technique will have to change from slabs and coils to hollowed forms to accomplish this.  I'll be posting images of the work in progress including macquettes. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

First 2 weeks

Since returning from the first AIB MFA residency on June 26, I've been researching and ordering books, cleaning studio, contacting and meeting with my mentor (Robert Ortbal), going to exhibits, and now updating the blog which is tough going!  I am excited to be starting new work – spinning off all of the advice given in Boston and from Robert. My first maquette is prepared.