Friday, November 4, 2011

New Works on Paper

I'm taking the initiative to perpetuate the cycle of studio life that I've been seeking and in many ways missing out on. The recent lack of residents and short time between wood firings has left me producing work without having the time to really sit back and reflect. The feeling of the body moving faster than the mind is hitting me. So, now that the bisque kiln is loaded and no more work is being produced I'm taking the time to do some more reflecting, drawing, and (hopefully) reading. I've converted one of the unused resident rooms into a drawing studio to make working in the evening easier.

Back at Coe College I was doing some very exciting collages with found materials inspired by the work and lessons of my professor, Priscilla Steele. The notion of using found materials with diaristic intentions was very fulfilling to me at that point in my life - having collected worn papers and odd materials since New York. The ability to finally put them to use resulted in a large body of work which flourished along side my senior exhibition in clay. It was in many ways a mutual relationship. Although each served unrelated compositional ideas they both thrived on the excitement of responding to the natural qualities or one's materials. My intentions with both paper and clay work were to create an object which speaks uninhibitedly of these qualities.

However, I've been having problems continuing this working process out here due to studio demands. I've taken this opportunity of freedom to start a series of works with found papers inspired by the drawings my younger brother, Ben and I created as kids. Titled 'Battles,' this collage series relates to the scenes of warriors, machines, weapons and environments of our childhood. My intent is not to directly depict or recreate these scenes so much as it is to relate to the memories of hours spent as kids carefully assembling guns, heros, and machines with great excitement. I enjoy the childlike compositional freedom of these pieces as amorphous forms, lines and marks come to exist in tension with their surroundings – occasionally the figures fit within the landscape, but more often exist with no relationship to the space of the page or each other.

The concept of struggle is something which has always occurred in my working process – whether it be with composition, form, surface, etc. However it has never freely come to the surface. Many of the 'Battles' collages come to be as a result of a struggle with process. The constant search for a relationship between compositional elements which speak freely of found and torn papers dictates their existence. A piece begins with the construction of two small collages, which over time grow, evolve, become changed or destroyed. An interest in the balance between geometry and the non linearity of worn papers results in the creation of distinct lines, angles, and rigid shapes within each piece. Eventually the two collages struggle (hence the fitting term of the series) to become one. Their connection is dictated by the matching of lines, angles, and forms which before were unrelated. The result is a finished piece whose composition reflects this struggle with process.

more to come..

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