Friday, September 16, 2011

In the Studio: Heading Into the Millennium of 2000

When I introduced Studio RSVP a few months ago, I said we would journey back and forth looking at past and present to see if the more things change, the more they stay the same. This post will fast forward to 2000 and show work I called 'digital drawings'. I had been using computer technology for experimenting with images in the early 1990's, and by '95 had developed a series of photo-based work I began exhibiting. I used found and original photos, and was scanning them into the computer where I could use raster programs to exaggerate pixels, grains, dust and extraneous marks along with an electronic marking pad that I used for additional strokes and manipulating the image.

By 2000 I had developed a reasonable body of the work that was output as print/drawings on rag paper up to 60" inches. Using a monochromatic palette in the digital manipulation stage supported my interpretations of the dated subjects that related to past experience or memory, and allowed me to go into the final printed image and work with graphite, charcoal, and toned pencils to continue mark-making and manipulation. The end result looked photographic at a distance, but  faded into a haze of marks, pixels and grains as the viewer approached the surface. The images seemed to dissolve as the viewer drew closer. I was interested in the ever-growing world of images captured in photographic stills and motion that insinuated the possibility of holding on to some past thing, and in some absurd way placing it in the present. Photographic images tend to be promoted as a way of slowing time with an on-going effort to grasp at the ephemeral.

Posted here is a selection of work from the 'traces' series from 2000, that after being stored for ten years, was recently selected for the retrospective exhibition 'TRIENNIAL Revisited' at 701 Center for Contemporary Art in Columbia, South Carolina. The South Carolina TRIENNIAL Exhibitions were organized by the South Carolina Arts Commission and the South Carolina State Museum between 1992 and 2004, and exhibited at the State museum. I was most fortunate to have been included in four of the five total exhibitions. TRIENNIAL Revisited is a juried exhibition from those five previous exhibits,  and serves as a prelude and historical context for what will become the 701 CCA South Carolina Biennial.

' sweet tea '   size: 28 X 40"  digitally manipulated photo, print on rag paper, graphite © 2000

' high of 98˚ '  size: 36 X 31"  digitally manipulated photo, print on rag paper, graphite © 2000

' shared reality '  size: 43 X 32"  digitally manipulated photo, print on rag paper, graphite © 2000

' inherent ambiguity ' size: 28 X 37"  digitally manipulated photo, print on rag paper, graphite © 2000

' tandem concern '  size: 25 X 35"  digitally manipulated photo, print on rag paper, graphite © 2001

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In the Studio; Ending the 1970's

In 1979 I graduated from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, and while it was the height of an economic recession, I was fortunate to receive two fellowships in my first year out of graduate school. First was the NEA/Southeast Seven IV artist fellowship from SECCA, the Southeastern Center of Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, NC. Next was an individual artist fellowship from the South Carolina Arts Commission, an organization that has been highly supportive of artists living and working in SC. I'll post more about the fellowships in the future, but here I want to show a few examples of how my work gelled in graduate school into a minimalist style concerned with materiality and a heightened concern with surface, as I began to embark on my career-adventure as an artist. Keep in mind the poor quality of images have come from scanned film slides over thirty years old.

The 'integument series' of canary paper and masking tape. Applied directly to the wall with the same tape. These were designed to roll into a shipping tube, install and present in exhibition, then tear down and dispose. You can imagine just how much gallery dealers and museum curators liked me.

The 'integument series' varied in size and occasionally included multiple panels. The folds were a numbered sequence I developed for each work, and the units repeated to construct a subtle pattern.

Here an 'integument series' detail shows the translucence and opacity of the paper and tape as it layers in the folds. Attached to a white surface with standard masking tape only at the top, the pieces would hover diaphanously, just inches from the wall emitting light and creating delicate shadows.

In conjunction with the works in paper, I was producing a similar body of work that explored the subtleties of material and surface using canvas, latex paint and graphite. You might image the fun of documenting on film white paint on whiter paint with graphite on raw canvas.

This detail shows just how subtle the variations are in the latex color on raw canvas with no graphite. A large part of these works rested on the surface change in the painted raw canvas to the unpainted areas. A detail that cannot truly be recorded in photography. Something I continue to struggle with in my current work.

The works on canvas were based on the rectangle and were typically sized 36" wide and 48" or 72" long. Like the paper installations these also used horizontal bands that repeated in a subtle numerical sequence.

This image is a bit more effective showing some of the banding variations from the paint, graphite and raw canvas.

This detail on canvas gives more clues to just how delicate and subtle the surface I was developing.