Material Witness Art Exhibit

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Material Witness is an art exhibition here at Agnes Scott College’s Dana Art Gallery which involved women artists who were responding to the intellectual and social challenges of our times. The show was in our gallery from  from September 26th through November 16th.

MATERIAL WITNESS

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I really enjoyed seeing the exhibit every other day when I came to class and I liked it even more when I had the opportunity to look at each of the pieces more closely. Throughout the gallery I really found myself liking the style of some of the works more than others.

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Jennifer Moore’s Transcendental Parts of the Whole

“You’re dying. You’re sinking slowly into an abyss. The abyss consumes you – eats you alive. You feel it creeping up your spine, but before you notice that it has become one with you – like a parasite – it feeds from your dying body. It suffocates you. You can’t breath. The next thing you know, you’re gone, poof – vanished clean off the face of the earth.”

(http://jmooreart.com/section/241659_Transcendental_Parts_of_the_Whole.html)

These two pieces are by far my favorite of entire exhibit. The darkness and mystery involved within these pieces really draws me in. I really like how her pieces leave room for the viewer to make their own story behind the pieces. I found myself just looking quietly at each picture trying to imagine what the artist herself could have been thinking.

I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to go to a school where there is a free gallery on campus at my disposal. From now on I will make a value effort to see every exhibit that comes through Agnes Scott’s gallery.

Final Project

 Pre-Critique Photo

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When I first saw the end product of our final project I was feeling pretty discouraged. It was very intimidating to see what I would have to be done with in a matter of a few weeks. We would be grinding charcoal into a dust and then making our “special paper” black by delicately rubbing the dust onto it.

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We then set up our mirrors and lights and began erasing away our faces. We began with the lightest part of our nose and went on from there to create our finished product. I really struggled a lot with not drawing lips for instance or a nose; instead I had to just draw what I show highlighting lightness and darkening the darks to create forms that we would normally recognize as a nose or lips.

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Once I stopped trying to make things as I thought they were and instead just really made what I saw, I was really able to recreate my own face. Staying positive even when it seems like I had to erase things really helped me in the long run. My favorite part of this final project was how much I can recognize my face in my final piece.

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Lastly, I really liked how beautiful certain parts of my face turned out to be. Below are some of my favorite parts of my portrait.

IMG_20131209_084329Finding where shadows disappeared and lightness came through was essential in creating every part of my face especially my lips and my eyes.

IMG_20131209_084319I really like how delicate the inside of my eye looked and this is an example of how drawing what I saw instead of what I knew really paid off.

I was extremely nervous about taking this course but I have learned more than I can express this semester. I am nowhere near a confident artist but I can say that this class had really taught me a lot about having drive. I have learned that if I work hard and have an open mind to learning new things, there is no reason that I cannot be successful. Although I have not mastered drawing what I see and not what I “know” I have learned how much doing exactly that can better your art. If you can quiet the part of your brain that is constantly telling you what you see there is nothing that you cannot draw. Drawing what you see really effects how you think about creating different objects whether it is a chair, or the respective parts of your face. I now know how different values help to create shape. At first I was not sure about how each of our projects were connected to one another but looking back on the course everything is now very clear to me. I would definitely take this course again if given the chance; I know that I can put my new knowledge to good use.

WASTELAND: VIC MUNIZ

Art house Films 019 Vic Muniz: Wasteland

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The main artist in the movie, Vik Muniz, was born into a working-class family in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1961. Although he began his career as a sculptor he later became interested in photographic reproductions of his work. Throughout the movie it showed how he incorporated a multiplicity of unlikely materials into his photographic process. He used dirt, diamonds, sugar, string, chocolate syrup and garbage to create bold images drawn from the pages of photojournalism and art history.His work has been met with both commercial success and critical acclaim, and has been exhibited worldwide.

 

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The movie “Wasteland” follows him as he journeys from his home in Brooklyn to the world’s largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. There he photographs an eclectic band of “catadores”—self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. His collaboration with inspiring people as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both the dignity and despair of the catadores as they begin to re-imagine their lives. Not only was Vic working to tell the stories of some of the pickers but also the money and attention that he received for his photos helped out the people of the Jardim Gramacho. He brought so much hope back to the people while also giving them some financial support.

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Although his project seemed to be very positive it still had some negative aspects. There were obviously some health issues along with safety issues. What was the most interesting to discuss was how delicate the workers really were because they were beginning not to want to go back to their jobs at the Jardim Gramacho because the project had shown them a different lifestyle that realistically was not going to last forever.

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I really enjoyed watching this movie and learning more about Vic Muniz and his different projects. It became hard to me not to connect to the different “catadores” that the film was focused on. Each picker had their own story that was so unique and each of them really touched my heart in a different way. Just knowing the positive impact that the “Wasteland” project had on these people’s lives made me want to do something like this in the future. I don’t know if the means to making my positive impact would be through my art, but either way seeing the smiles perpetuating on faces around me would be all the payment that I would need.

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Bibliography

http://www.wastelandmovie.com/index.html

 

Google Images: Wasteland Vic Muniz


 

“Bold vs. Shy” Critique

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    In each work there were different distinctive unifying formal qualities. When discussing my abstract image for bold the shape was the distinctive quality, and for shy it was the light value of the picture I created. For shy I created my still life with different colored bandanas. Usually in our society bandanas represent outcasts, or people in gangs, but the way I placed them (shying out of the frame, with a white one in the bottom right corner) created a nice contrast in what we associate bandanas with, and what they represented in my still life. For bold the main characteristic that unified my still life and my abstract image was the darkness and motion that the scarf made. Using the same background for both images really helped in contrasting my two words. It was really all about the placement of the objects in each respective still life that gave them a unique function.

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            I learned a lot about the process of creating thumbnails, and how useful they are when trying to brainstorm any idea that I may come up with. I learned a lot about how different aspects of line, shape, texture, value, color and space really affected meaning. It was really tough to break off from the everyday meaning of things when I was trying to think abstractly. When making art I have learned thus far that sometimes it is okay to take a break because a lot of times its during your break that you come up with some of the best ideas. I believe that the point of this project was to teach us a lot about how abstract things really are connected to concrete things in our everyday life, and that if we open our mind and think deeply there are even more connections to be made with contrasting words and materials. This project really helped me train my mind more in thinking abstractly.

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            I really liked the entire concept of the animal project. If I am not mistaken, the animals were made out of objects that could harm them or have negative effects on them in the long run, and that has so much meaning. The creativity and deep thought involved here is the same type of thinking that was involved in the graphics project. Thinking abstractly then creating something tangible completely relates to the graphics project, there are just slight differences in how our ending project was presented.

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            These were my favorite two graphics final pieces. I love the contrast in black and white in color in the presentation in the picture on the top; it really draws my eyes to the piece. I also really enjoy looking at how closely the still life matches the two words that this artist was presenting. I love that the picture on the bottom is a representation of vulgar. I enjoy looking at both the still life and the abstract together because they relate so closely and the overall flow of each image matches perfectly.

            If I had another week I would definitely spend a lot of time creating more thumbnails and then thinking deeply about how I could create a still life that speaks loudly about which words I am contrasting. I would also take more time when putting together my final piece along with my artist statement.

 

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            A visual analysis involves a lot of things. It requires you to disconnect from any preconceived thoughts and associations that you may have. It is important to first talk about what you see, not literally, but figuratively (line, shape, etc.). After deciding what line, shape, and value is involved in the work it is then okay to bring in your interpretation of the work, and to state what you think the lines, shapes, values, etc. work together to create. Lastly it is vital to make a final decision about what the piece is, and what meaning there 

BOLD vs. Shy

The words I am contrasting are bold and shy. Before I began I looked up synonyms for each word; I came up with a huge list but I had to go back and only choose words that I could create something visual out of. For bold I picked the words: clear, definite, colorful, vivid, eye-catching, flashy, dark, and in your face. For shy I picked the words: backward, hidden, shrinking, scarce, and light. After I had these words picked out I created fifty small thumbnails for each word using different types of media and different compositions for each thumbnail.

Thumbnail “Brainstorming” Critique

Today I received input from three of my classmates about the thumbnails I created based off of these questions.

Does the person (you) have 100 sketches?
What marks define each term & why?
What media & how it is used
Which composition defines each term best?
What if? * from another point of view

*Below are my classmates notes on my thumbnails

Destiny
Yes
Pencil defines shy because it is light and can be used to show something weak. Sharpie works for bold.
Shy: lightly shaded in works best because it is subtle. Bold: Dark, full squares with no white works best

Anastasia
Yes
Pencil works for shy because it is light. Sharpie works for bold because it is dark; pen also works because you can see every mark that was made.
For bold the dark full colored in boxes work well but the one that goes outside of the lines with pastel is the best.
For bold try making one thick extremely clean and straight line with pastel or sharpie with a clean white background

Gwen
Yes
Pencil, thin lines works the best for shy because it is light and weak. The darkness and strength of the sharpie works the best for bold.
The “bolded” squares were my favorite because of how definite they were. For shy the faded greyscale thumbnail works the best because it looks as if it is shying away.
For shy try making more greyscale pictures with a more subtle transition from dark to light.

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I asked my professor for her opinion about my “shy” thumbnails. I got some really good insight about using graphite and how carefully placing things in the corners of the boxes would make them look as if they were hiding away.

I got a lot of really good insight and I am going to create more thumbnails based off of the feedback that I received today.

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Some of my “BOLD” thumbnails

Box Critique 10/21

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      Today during our class critique of our boxes I thought it was so unique how each box was unique. Each pattern worked in a different way as a means to create the box as a whole. I really liked the more dark solid patterns more because they really looked three-dimensional. I think it would be interesting to see how much better they may have looked against a lighter background. 

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I really struggled at the beginning of this project with correctly drawing the box that I saw placed in front of me. I struggled a lot with getting the angles and lines right and I was honestly very disappointed in my “finished” drawing of the box. When I learned what we were doing with our drawings I became worried that my entire project would be ruined because my drawing of the box was not accurate. I learned a lesson from this…I cannot get discouraged before I have even finished what lies ahead. 

       I went on to finish my project but yet another obstacle was standing in my way. I got to the last step of finishing off my piece when I realized that the pattern that I picked was not successfully reading the values that I saw and therefore my project would be no good. The picture below shows the first box that I created. 

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I did not like the way the values were reading in this box so I began experimenting with my other values and how I could possibly manipulate them in order to create a better piece. Below is my finished product. 

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Although making an entirely new box was a frustrating idea for me I am very proud of my finished product. I believe that my hard work and courage to start over again was very rewarding in the end. In the future, I will use my knowledge from this project to help me understand how values really do influence form. 

 

Carrie Mae Weems & Material Witness Art

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Some of Carrie Mae Weems work is focused on how the black body was used in photographs historically. Her aim was to tell larger stories through her pictures. She is bringing back up pictures from an era that America has tried so hard to make our society forget about. Her digital art causes people to “engage in their our dark truths.  Through her recreation of events she was able to teach people about historical events, the assassinations of important figures, that they did not know much about before. Each of her pictures evokes a different emotion no matter what the subject matter is. Whenever I think of visual thinking I think about thinking through visual processing, or more simply put thinking through a camera lens in Carrie Mae Weems’ case.

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In Jessica Burke’s work presented in the Material Witness art show she is representing the childhood heroes of the women featured in her pieces; I think she is sending a strong message about how although heroes within the media may be aimed at a specific audience that it not necessarily who identifies with these characters. This is seen clearly in both of her drawings where, “Stephanie as Betty Rizzo of Rydell High” looks nothing like the character that played in Grease. This is the same for Paula as “Spock of the USS Enterprise”; I am going to focus more on this work because personally I do not think that the stale faced commanding officer was meant to be a young girl’s hero. I say this primarily because not only are women supposed to be pleasant looking, but it is also rare for a women to be seen in the media as “head honcho.”

Blind Contour

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            Today in class I did a blind contour drawing. I learned that in order to do a blind contour drawing I was not supposed to pick my drawing utensil up from my paper, and I was also prohibited from looking at my work as I completed it. I timed my drawing time with the different music that was playing. I started out drawing my left hand with my right hand. My first drawing was way too rushed and I did not take the time to really look at each curve of my hand. When I did the same drawing but took my time it came out a lot nicer. Next, I drew my right hand with my left hand (non dominant).I was already discouraged at the idea of drawing with my non-dominant hand. I was worried more about controlling my pen then I was about focusing on my task at hand.

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            Next, I moved on to drawing the still life that was in front of me with a pencil. I definitely like drawing with the sharpie better because I feel as if I could really feel my movements better. I switched media when each song ended. The more abstract the music was the less I could focus on the blind contour. I think this is because of a right brain overload. I was already trying to think abstract and the uniqueness of the song made this even harder.

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            I learned how hard it really is to draw without looking. I also learned more about how my right-brain works versus my left-brain. This was very important for me to learn in order to further my visual thinking journey. If I learn to over power my left-brain by using my right-brain I will become less judgmental of my work and I will be able to draw what I see and not what I know. This is a very important step in becoming a great artist.

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This is a picture of the notes that I took during our drawing session today. I really learned a lot about my own awareness to response. Overall i enjoyed this process and I am going to make a valid effort to keep everything I learned today in my mind when I am creating my next work of art.

Process Log: Chair 9/9/2013-9/18/2013

Process Log: Chair

September 9, 2013 Class Time: 8:30 a.m. -10:20 a.m.

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Before I came into class today I did a drawing of a chair outside of class using regular printer paper, a pencil, and an eraser. I used my pencil as a way to measure angles and I guesstimated the length and width of the chair. Above is the picture of the chair that I drew.

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When I walked into class today there was a brown chair positioned on top of a clear cube in the middle of the room. Each individual student had a different perspective on the chair due to where their easel was positioned in the room. I began first by looking at my blank piece of paper and at the chair that I would try to draw on my paper. I marked my halfway points on my paper and also where my halfway points were on the chair. Oddly enough I spent a lot of time trying to make sure these points and lines were correct because I knew they would be the foundation for my drawing. I also began using my string to try and knock out the key angles of the chair. Above is the chair from the perspective that I was drawing it.

September 11, 2013 Class Time 8:30 a.m. -10:20 a.m.

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I have been having trouble with getting the base lines of my drawing.  I have gotten some of the key angles but putting these lines and angles together to make a chair has been extremely challenging for me. I can see how using the string correctly could really improve my image but translating the angle I make with the string to an angle on my paper is really frustrating. Above is a picture of how far I had gotten on my chair by the end of this class.

September 15, 2013 Out of Class Time12: 36 p.m. -2:36 p.m.

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I came into the studio worried about how I would be able to produce without my teacher’s guidance. With that said, I took caution and spent time going back to the basics of my chair. I fixed a lot of the angles and realigned my seat. Although I did make some changes I got stuck on some angles. Towards the end I began to realize how much of a challenge it was going to be to get the ratios and proportions of my chair exactly right. Overall I was proud of the progress that I made but I felt like the two hours flew by.

September 16, 2013 Class Time 8:30 a.m. -10:20 a.m.

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I was confident about the changes that I made over the weekend but unfortunately they were not accurate changes. At first I felt upset that I would have to do a lot of realigning but once I started re-measuring the angles based on my teacher’s guidance my chair really started coming together. By the end of class I had reworked my entire chair and it has really started to mirror the object in front of me. The panorama picture above shows clearly how off my proportions were from what I had done over the weekend.

September 17, 2013 Out of Class Time 8:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m.

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I came into the studio tonight to make some finishing touches. I am still struggling with the front right chair leg but I did the best that I could and overall I am proud of the piece that I have made. I learned a lot about angles, lines, and how helpful a string really can be when it comes to measuring the two. In the beginning I was worried about how black my paper was because of all of my “learning marks”. Now that I am done with my chair I think the black marks on my page show where I really struggled and I have come to love the mess that I made. The changes, along with my mess thus far can be seen in the image above.

September 18, 2013 Class Time 8:30 a.m. -10:20 a.m.

Critique

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When we all put our chairs next to each other I saw so many different perspectives along with different struggles. Some people had less of a mess than others but today I learned that having a mess is a good thing. I also realized that each mess on each piece told a different story and I could really appreciate that today during the critique. I really valued everything my classmates said today during our critique because hearing what other people had to say really brought some things to my attention that I would have never thought of before. I know now that next time I should approach my work with confidence and know that struggling will be worth it in the end.

Off Campus Art Event: “The Book as Art”

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The exhibit poster that was in the front window.

On Thursday August 29th, 2013 I attended a reception for “The Book as Art” exhibit. Before attending this off campus art event I read a review of the show on the Arts ATL Website. Although I enjoyed reading about the exhibit and seeing selected pieces of art I could not wait to get to the exhibit and see the pieces first hand.

The pieces were amazing. I appreciated how much detail each artist put into their work and I was really drawn to pay close attention to each different piece because I knew they were all made out of BOOKS! I also found it very interesting how each piece differed from the others. Every artist said something different through his/her work. Seeing the exhibit made me very excited for my Art 160 class because I was so much more motivated to see my own finished art pieces. Now I am ready to find my own voice through art and I am so interested as to what it may say.

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Me and my classmate Anastasia Carter in front of the Art Institute Atlanta-Decatur.

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This was one of my favorite pieces because it incorporated science into the process of creating art. Not only was the artist very creative in doing this but it resulted in such a nice work. It made me start to think about what I could do in the future to put a special touch on my own pieces!

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I made sure to sign the guest book before I left!