Influences

I am always looking at and learning from the work of others. I have an unruly collection of bookmarked web pages, no-flash iPhone photos, museum store postcards, sketchbook notes and a mountain of books both digital and paper. I'm working on a concise statement about how specific artists have impacted my work; however, it's less about individual influence and more about the connections I make between a multiplicity of disparate sources. Here are a few:

Painters: Brian Routenburg, Wayne Thiebaud, JMW Turner, Daniel Kohn, Hiroshi Sato, Hung Liu, Jenny Saville, Kehinde Wiley, Cy Twombly, Emily Carr, Georgia O'Keefe, Michael Hall, Zaria Forman, Travis Somerville

Ceramic Work: Arnold Annen, Zemer Peled, Katie Spagg, Courtney Mattison, Ashley Lyon, Ian McMahon

Installations: Celeste Bourgnois, Camille Utterback, Ansel Adams (+Boulders and Bones), Sheela Gowda, Christina Iglacias, Ragnar Kjartansson, Christina Kubisch, William Kentridge, Yayoi Kusama, Zheng Chongbin

Writers: Francis Stark, Roxane Gay, Sarah Kay, Melissa Lozada-Olivia, Mary Oliver, Annie Dillard, Sarah Thornton, John Krakauer, Brené Brown, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Carrie Brownstein, John Gottman, Ed Viesturs, Michelle Alexander, Laura Goldstein, Sue Johnson

Behind the work I'm making

18,000ft - tiny, human, joyous and proud. Thin air freezing in my nostrils, warm heart pounding, boots sunk into this crunchy glittering island - the anxiety I was struggling with was nowhere to be seen, obliterated by a sea of cloud stretching pink and otherworldly past the curved horizon.

I need that transcendent glory in my life - the space that nature gives you to be human.        

Cartoon anxiety is a pacing, hand-wringing, hyperventilating creature; mine is suffocation by static - an internal hailstorm of critique.

It’s hard work to let go of warp-speed digital-age angst. The writing I do in my paintings is an untangling of that inner cacophony. Contemporary concerns about art, femininity and self-worth - oscillating between personally specific and universal. I write to myself and also directly to the future viewer.

I explore the layered relationships between art, cultural ideas of worth, femininity, mental health, and interior landscape.

Work of a simply emotional nature is often associated with being simplistic or one-dimensional. However, work that is simply detached and concept driven is often celebrated without discussion of it's emotional impact. The automatic assumption is that cerebral work must have value  - while emotion is not currently considered a basis on which to assess worth.

I dig into this phenomenon - asking myself and the viewer - why is this the case? Is this congruent with the role we want art to play in our culture?  Sometimes it looks an awful lot like a symptom of the cultural devaluing of attributes considered feminine. Do we want the art world to perpetuate these imbalanced, patriarchal definitions of value and worth?

This is an extended part of a conversation about the line between "FineArt" and "craft". Craft, being associated with homemaking and non-white cultures - is often regarded as less valuable than work associated with the privileged, intellectual institution of Fine Art.

These are complicated, layered topics of privilege and the role of art in culture and I'm not concise or short in my exploration of them. I employ questions, rhetorical and open ended, personally specific and globally theoretical - the writing I do is expansive and verbose.

I believe that the best art engages both emotionally and conceptually. I layer inquiry and criticality with expression - intimate and universal.

Large scale work can swallow the viewer, as vast landscape does. It reminds you of your body, your scale, your breath. I’m inviting viewers to experience the space I need and sharing how I got there.

I paint what quiet sound remains after I scrape out all the dissonance. Reaching past untangling for that moment of being present, reaching for the sublime.

Why an MFA? Why Fall 2018?

Even if I wasn't interested in teaching art (I am) - I would still be pursuing an MFA right now. When non-art friends ask what an MFA is, I compare it to a start-up incubator program or a project based MBA. I tell them it's not necessary, but an incredible opportunity to make connections with other motivated artists and push your limits. It's not something you sign up for unless your fledgling business can hit the ground running and truly benefit from the opportunities and challenges offered within a relatively short period of time.

"Apply when the work you're making is a freight train" someone wise advised me last year. Craving the rigor and richness of a classroom environment and energized by a new level of complexity in the work I was making, I was personally ready to commit to an MFA. The work itself was gaining momentum by the day, but I also recognized that it hadn't yet outgrown my studio. A full year later and my studio is bursting at the seams. 

I can't wait to be back in the classroom and the work I'm making is unstoppable - it knows what it's about and will continue to grow with every new challenge I throw it's way. In the next few years I'll certainly be exploring the following:

- Making my installations more interactive, increasing the use of technology without losing the physicality of material space. 

- Incorporating my abstract ceramic forms in installation, re-making interior landscape (physically and psychologically)

- Experimenting with the readability of writing in my work, increasing the specificity of content in each work

- Increase my outreach, applying for more opportunities and engaging with social-media

In 2020: I expect my art will have grown in ways I never expected, I'll have new ideas to explore and new mentors to look up to. I'll have made lasting friendships with a group of awesome artists - challenging and inspiring each other to make better work and get that work out in the world. I'll push my limits and hit the ground running - ready to continue that momentum after graduation.

 

Teaching. Yes, I'd love to.

I do want to teach. Lively class discussion is something I've always adored, but I know It takes practice to facilitate good discussion rather than simply participating in it. I've been watching great teachers teach my whole life (looking at you!), and I've been taking notes! Not just on the material they present, but how they engage different kinds of students, how they structure the class and how they build an atmosphere in the room. This is something I want to learn how to do.

I think I would be a good art teacher for young college students or older students in high school. These are moments when young artists are really looking around and comparing themselves to everyone and everything. I would try to push them toward their own best work and give them the tools to process critique in a way that is helpful to their work, not harmful to themselves. It's an important reminder (especially when you are young) that confidence is not innate or directly proportional to “success” - it takes practice to both trust yourself and ALSO learn from others. 

Lectures, or class components that have really stuck with me from those early years:

Drawing - Learning to see vs look, softening your eyes and loosening your gesture.

Ceramics - Having to throw work off a ladder was a great reminder not to become too attached, and to find joy in the making. (Although I may have negotiated my way out of actually doing this. Hmm)

Currency, Art and Value - investigating the evolution of currency and concepts of value, and how that has related to art (and other intangibles). I think this class should be mandatory for ALL students, art-majors or otherwise.

Painting - beginning with only cadmium red, cadmium yellow and ultramarine blue was incredibly frustrating, but definitely set me up to see the true value of other minerals/colors, rather than using them as a crutch.

I'm a person who just loves to learn and I know I would learn a lot from my students. I enjoy the structure of a school-semester and love being part of a school community.