Wednesday, August 25, 2010

amazing inspiration!

This artist is, to say the least, several steps ahead of me. Check out this wonderful piece:

Polly Morgan, fine art taxidermy

Friday, August 20, 2010

brain gobbedlygook: reworking the artist statement

Artist's Statement
In the museum, we re-interpret the natural world through the lens of human culture. Desiccated and dusty, its skins, bones, husks, and eggs are collected, sorted, and boxed in the pursuit of understanding the world outside of humanity. Inspired by the museum environment, I use the techniques of the curator and the printmaker to examine my own reactions to nature and how we define it.

redux ad addendum...

The museum is a "lens" of human culture through which we interpret the abstract concept of nature.

The act of observing, sampling, and classifying "nature" changes it. Furthermore, humans have a limited ability to conceive of a world outside of their own understanding. Ostensibly, understanding the idea of "nature" in a context other than how it is defined by humanity may be difficult or impossible.

I think we search for order and meaning in the universe to help us understand the chaos, pain, and mystery that is part of the human experience. We search for signs, messages, and explanations, and the truth. The search is manifested in religion, and in art, and philosophy, but also in science, and in boxes and boxes of birds and eggs and stuffed specimens stacked in museums.

What is scientific truth? Nature according to the proven empirical and theoretical laws of physics and chemistry? Is it limited in helping us understand the metaphysical, the mysterious? The painful and unjust?


I have always struggled with having an "elevator statement" for an artist statement. Brevity is not my strong suit, and at times I feel only a longer statement will do. I understand that, to some degree, at least, my work should speak for itself, but sometimes the easiest way to get ideas out is to write it. I wonder a lot if my entire approach to concept within my work alienates people who don't have a love for the academic and words.

Monday, August 2, 2010

some thoughts on work

I've been gone a long time. In summation, most of what's happened since May:

I started a new job at the Mattress Factory, a museum of contemporary installation art where I'd worked in the past as an intern and installer. Now I'm the Visitor Services Assistant/Volunteer Coordinator.

I participated in the Three Rivers Arts Festival in downtown Pittsburgh as a first-time vendor; happily, I was also honored with the Best in Show award for the first week of the festival. Happily-er, the second week's Best in Show honoree is a fellow artist and friend of mine named Deanna Mance, and we're collaborating on an upcoming show! Check out her beautiful art here.

In late June I had my trial-by-fire at my new job when I organized 50-some volunteers for our annual Garden Party, a huge party and fundraiser, celebrated in a way that only the Mattress Factory can.

I also joined the executive committee of Group A, a local guild and one of the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts guilds.

My husband and I finally bought the house we've been living in since 2006. Yay homebuyer tax credit!

My new job, and all the administrative work in the arts I've been focusing on since June, is great. But as August unfolds before me, I've noticed that I haven't really focused much on my own art this summer. Even the work for TRAF was prepping what I already had finished; I haven't had the chance to create new work since my "kapliczek" pieces for the Responding show this past spring. Also, one of the most important (and sad) decisions I had to make this year was to not return to Chautauqua, because I've committed to a job here. Without the facilities and time made available to me by being there, I've spent pitifully little time working on my own art since the spring.

Part of my dip in creativity is surely due to working - for the first time since college, I have what is essentially a full-time job that is not working on my art. Although my schedule is far more regular than it was at my previous job, I'm still learning how to manage my time. Buying the house, learning the ropes at a new job, and feeling somewhat creatively lost without the presence of Chautauqua's print studio all contributed to a pretty low artistic output for the summer. Additionally, sometimes when you get home and your list of things to do is so large and complicated, the easiest thing is to do nothing at all.

There are good things about being home for my first Pittsburgh summer since 2007, despite the dreadful heat; the biggest of which is finally being around my husband during his somewhat relaxed summer schedule. There's also barbecues, neighbors, the garden, the joys/pains of home improvement, and BikeFest, which is still to come.

The summer's not over yet! And even beyond that, art is over the horizon.