Friday, March 23, 2007

Pile of Viewfinder Cameras

While sipping tea I decided to make a new post to keep the blahs away. This is a favorite of mine from grad school. Sorry for the dark detail, but it is necessary to see the way the flags reference the object oriented drawing. I think I lost track of why I included the flags in the first place, as signals or labels or maybe mislabels.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Obligatory studio shot. Compliments for the great shot go to my visitor from Return to the Center at last years WMAA Open Studios.

Several Skulls

"Once Jung had a dream about bones and skulls. A bone or skull is never alone. Bones are a multiplicity. But Freud wants the dream to signify the death of someone. 'Jung was surprised and pointed out that there were several skulls, not just one. Yet Freud still...' " (30, Deleuze and Guattari, a thousand plateaus: capitalism and schizophrenia).

Laying it On Thick

Informed by a study of still life painting and an aversion of hierarchical structure, I embark on a study of the pile, heap, mound, or stack. All of my work is a pile. Piling itself is the habit of a collector, an accumulator, a chronicler. I speak of retention and repetition. My drawn and painted piles are composed of a shifting lexicon of objects to be stacked, stuffed, or otherwise composed into the triangular/conical form that connotes a mound of carelessly dropped foodstuffs and discards. This lexicon of objects points to an interest in classical notions of still life, vanitas, or nature morte as well as a more contemporary notion of repetitive labor borrowed from minimalist and performance art.

I frame the still life in terms of my habitual feelings of guilt. In twinning drawn images of Black Forest cakes and hams, a profusion of grapes and sliced fruit, with drawings of whoopee cushions and rubber chickens, outdated photographic paraphernalia, and skulls and body parts, I am lacing these works with a chronicle of decadent disorder as it functions socially and politically. Through repetition comes veneration and expressionless comedy, the ethics of minimalism filter the excess of dandyish draping treats. I critique this excess through the filter of my own overindulgence. In building piles of delicacies and carcass I lampoon my own disorder and compulsion, a self-eating deadpan gesture of dread and complacency.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Trophy Pile

This drawing makes me happy. A heaping of hams and salmon steaks and vice presidents with taxidermy, all set to music. I kept the palette as limited as I could, and was especially interested in the way the deer interacted with each other formally as they built toward the apex and back (marginally) in space. But that's enough for today. More tomorrow.

The Ministry of Operatic Self Effacement and Other Such Rot

So my old friend Arthur Whitman blogged about me, so I can remain anonymous and naive no more, so I better start putting up the new paintings too. Hey Arthur, this is what I'm really doing in the studio.. just kidding, I really do like the drawings. But these 9 x 12 foot paintings are kind of my bread and butter right now. Two days ago someone asked me after I had read bits and briefs of my nasty/crazy RISD thesis, in a lecture I was lucky enough to score with a wonderful old professor's class, why I was working with classical still life painting painting if I wanted to talk about operatic self-effacement, eating disorder, perversions of the celebration of identity, etc. I couldn't really answer, but I found the question intriquing. This astute artist mentioned Todd Haynes, also a Brown grad, who has made cracker jack eating disorder work with barbies in Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story. I wasn't sure I knew the work, but when I looked him up I found he had done that lovely little movie Safe, one of my faves, if you are paranoid or germ phobic and sometimes housebound like me some of the time. The color in the movie was startling, and as I started to respond to chemical odors in like ways over the years, I have enjoyed the work even more. I like the stuff he's done with film, I don't know why I remain so classical, or why I'm stuck with this devotional and formal homage to excess. I don't think Brown's media theory really rubbed off on me very well. Maybe I'll grow out of it. Maybe I'm just playing dumb. This big painting is called Pile of Cliches and Dead Things. A big hurrah for dumb and literal in the face of disintigrating notions of what I can do with my paintbrush, my politics, my identity, my stomach, etc etc. Maybe when I post the older nastier big 9 x 12 foot painting I will post bits of my statement, I'm just afraid I might be censored on blogger if I get too gross here too quickly. Cut up torsos and heads on sticks are one thing, but I started to honor my thesis and get into Marquis de Sade territory these past few months in my drawings, and I'm afraid of losing my happy little webspace, or scaring my nice studio-mates. They already think I'm the most well-adjusted creepy big-litle girl artist they know.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Cutting a Swath to the White House

This is the most recent thing to emerge from my studio. I have been looking at the work of Thomas Nast at the urging of my husband, as I love cartoons of Tammany Hall fat cats and feel it apropos right now to be looking backward for this kind of imagery. The extremity of post-civil war American political cartoons and speech is quite surprising. I think I had forgotten how honest we were back then even as we were acting horrifylingly brutal and intolerant. I have noticed that American still life has some of the same honest awkwardness of political cartoon. I have also been dipping into the Library of Congress collection of Pictorial Americana, some political cartoons, some promotional imagery. Some of the more idiosyncratic text in this image comes from image of President Garfield cutting a swath to the White House, from humble beginnings through corruption. I think I liked the image of Garfield stepping on a falsehood snake a bit too much. What is it about me and literal humor? Oh and calumny = libel for those of you who have to go to the dictionary like I do... I think that's an archaic term for it. And that's me on that pole. I feel I have to work out my feelings of complicity in a public arena, and do vile things to my self in cartoon format, even if only for laughs/opulent horror.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Good Government

The swan is ripped from a Dutch masterwork at the Rijksmuseum called "The Threatened Swan". The swan's painter Jan Asselijn painted mostly ruins, landscapes, and animals, I think this swan is one of his masterworks as it represents a Holland rebelliously rebuffing imperialist England in its own downward spiral of spotlit glory and fear. The portraits in this work should be legible as contemporary heads of state, again, I'm utilizing Lord of the Flies and notions of French Revolution politics, but also the concept of trophy.


New drawings, combining my feelings on what I feel is the death of political satire and political cartoons with failure and death of painting. I consider this all to be just comedic posturing. Or maybe just some daily drivel. You decide. Oh, and some figure heads for good measure, a little bit French revolution (note the moorish influences in the costume) and also a bit Lord of the Flies.