Friday, March 16, 2018

Beatrix Reinhardt's "On the Rocks: Landscapes of Greenland" and Other Thoughts

I am slowly gathering information on artists creating work about global warming, specifically in the Arctic Circle. My friend, Colin Edgington, suggested I look into Beatrix Reinhardt's photographs of Greenland from 2007, ten years prior to my visit.

Beatrix Reinhardt, Untitled, 2007 

From Beatrix's website: "This Disorder and order are in constant flux, as the landscape expresses grandeur or devastation, oppression or dynamism."

Beatrix Reinhardt, Untitled, 2007


Beatrix Reinhardt, Untitled, 2007

I quickly found that it was difficult not to take a photograph of Greenland like everyone else's. Perhaps it is all so foreign that we are attracted to the same subject matter. 

Jacinda Russell, En route to Sermermiut, 2017

After selecting Reinhardt's photographs for this post, I thumbed through my journal from June 2017. 

"First impression: LUNAR."

The last entry:
"I will never, ever forget the impact of the icebergs, the air quality in the UNESCO World Heritage site, the best water I have EVER tasted (even better than Iceland), BUT there is also the trash, the cigarette butts that have never been disposed of in a place other than the ground, the exhaust from the few cars that are driven [only 90 miles of roads in the whole country, 40 of which are paved], and the poverty."

In my quest for the "metaphorical antipode," this country of extremes offers diametrical opposites within its own borders (as referenced in Reinhardt's quote above). So begins the search for more photographs that indicate that.

A Book I Must Own

A List of Art Which Would Be Destroyed If Ed Ruscha's Painting 'Los Angeles County Museum on Fire' Became Reality Today by Michael Crowe, 2011

There are so many things to love about this booklet: yet another artwork inspired by Ed Ruscha (I am keeping track), a list, definite numbers, a conceptual project that incorporates both art and writing, email correspondence with a librarian, ETC.

Then I discovered that he and Lenka Clayton, my favorite artist who incorporates a typewriter (and lists, and found objects and and and), are "art partners" who have been collaborating on Mysterious Letters since 2011.

From Lenka's website: "Michael Crowe and I are in the middle of writing a unique hand-written (or hand-typed) letter to every household in the world. So far we have written over 2,700 different letters to the residents of Cushendall, a small Northern Irish seaside town, the inhabitants of Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, everyone on a long street through St. Gallen, Switzerland, a suburb of Cologne, Germany, two streets in Paris France, and many, many people in Tilburg, Netherlands. Each letter is different, and where possible personally addressed. We sign them "love Michael & Lenka", and write in a chatty, friendly tone about topics of possible mutual interest; the weather, gentleness, Roseanne, etc."

Welcome to this evening's rabbit hole.

Monday, September 18, 2017

This is Happening Wednesday

Arts Center Lecture Hall, 2400 E. Kenwood Boulevard, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

It's been a minute (rather 3,732,276 minutes or 7 years, 1 month and 7 days ago) since I was last in Milwaukee. Hannah and I were driving through after floating the last of the styrofoam cakes in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I am looking forward to returning!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

NYC Field Trip - March 2017

Mateo López, Undo List at the Drawing Center

Lately, I am enamored by small gestures and found several of them on a school field trip to New York City. López's ruler, in which all the numbers had fallen off only to be drawn on the sheet of paper below, was a highlight. If my main medium was drawing, I would strive to make art like his (also similar to this in concept).

Chance encounter in the Sky Room at the New Museum - a woman crouching to photograph a toy dinosaur - her form resembling the plastic creature itself. The room, bathed in white light, hints at the mountains of snow melting in the city below.

Raymond Pettibon, A Pen of All Work at the New Museum

I could stand all day in the "wave room" engulfed by Pettibon's large-scale drawings, perhaps finally understanding what it would feel like to surf a pipeline (via words not action). It was the sentiment of the phrase that made me feel small in the midst of overwhelming blue.

These are not Duane Hanson sculptures. Despite the controversy (we were there during the first Dana Schutz protest), this was the best Whitney Biennial I had ever seen and am thankful for its diversity and references to current times. The reaction above was the exact opposite of mine yet I appreciate seeing others sleeping in public where people had no reservations documenting it.

Toiletpaper Paradise at the Cadillac House

This was not a small gesture - rather an immersive experience into the Toiletpaper world I continue to respond to each month on Instagram. I am grateful that the rest of the gang enjoyed it as much as I did. Seeing flat photographs come to life in three-dimensional (and often functional form) was an eye-opener in various modes of presentation.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Behind the Scenes of the First Antipode Photograph

In January, Amelia and I ventured into the cold and discovered many globes at Midland Antique Mall in Indianapolis. I have a $10 rule (one of the reasons why I have not acquired many new ones in the last couple years) and most of them were beyond that price range.

One caught my eye and I surrendered to the higher price of $14 but not without a lot of angst as to whether or not I wanted to destroy it. It helped that it was in sorry shape and fell apart at the cash register. That piece of tape held the two pieces together like a pro, however, as it was the stand that collapsed immediately.

I am continuing my love affair with responding to Toiletpaper Magazine's calendar in 2017 on Instagram and knew that in addition to creating a new photograph, it would be a "twice used prop" as March featured one of my favorite Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari's images [above] as first seen on the cover of The New York Times Magazine.

My sphere was black and I had no intention of matching the exterior color. I tried to guess the most appropriate ocean blue while at the hardware store without a globe in front of me (I should know better by now as I was wildly off). I asked the man at the paint counter how much I should buy and he thought a quart would fill it. I was deeply skeptical and opted for a gallon instead.

Two people had recently sent me this link on how globes were made in the 1950s so I was not that surprised to see this was how the interior was constructed.

I plugged the hole in Antarctica with duct tape and after extensive contemplation, hoped this towel and plastic sheet method would hold the globe still, not toppling over onto the floor and backdrop the moment I poured the paint.

I had the wherewithal to photograph the unhappy moment when I realized that a gallon was not enough [insert lots of swearing here]. I scrambled all over the building trying to resolve this issue, all the while knowing that this was a cardboard structure and my time was limited.

This did not work...

... but the very scary filling it with 100 ounces of water and stirring it did. Unfortunately, it was not easy to move and my compositions were limited but it did produce a hue that looked more like "globe water."

I was able to make 16 responses as a "twice used prop" before I threw everything away. One of my colleagues told me I looked like I was hauling body parts out of the building in trash bags. I still have the top half and wonder what role it will play in the future.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Something New is Brewing

An antipode is defined as the part of the earth that is diametrically opposite. The term was first used in 1549 in relationship to Australia and New Zealand’s position on the globe, contrasting with Western Europe. I will approach it as the place or condition furthest from “here.” I am searching for physical and metaphorical antipodes and will represent them through photographs created in the studio, a fabricated landscape, or their exact location on earth. In its most simple terms, my interpretation will show how "here" affects "there" and "there" impacts everywhere.

Monday, February 6, 2017

This is What a Good Mail Week Looks Like in 2017

Times have changed and in November, I made many vows for the next four years as I struggle to place what art I should make in this present reality and my role within it. After the outpouring of interest from friends and strangers who purchased Icelandic Blue Pantone 15-3908 last fall, one small gesture I could easily achieve (and maintain) is to support artist-run publications by purchasing one a month. Some of those appeared in the mail two weeks ago along with a couple other surprises.

First a surprise - a catalog from the archives at the Center for Creative Photography sent to me after my last research trip to Tucson.

Amy Elkins's Black is the Day, Black is the Night arrived in the most fitting black mailer. The combination of handwritten text, scanned letters, digital manipulations and photographic recreations about prisoners on death row will cause anyone to rethink their views on capital punishment (the most appropriate first purchase with this new resolution).

Ball State University also owns a copy (spreading the love x 2).

My friend Kelli introduced me to Mike Slack's Shrubs of Death in the fall. Always a fan of typologies (who wouldn't love awkwardly trimmed bushes found in cemeteries?), I was shocked to discover they were all photographed in Muncie, Indiana. Next on the list: bringing this series to the David Owsley Museum of Art in 2018. It came with a covetable print (thanks Mike!).

A sweet little notebook (surprise #2) also appeared in the post office box from Ernst.

Old photographic manuals and advertisements are interspersed with blank paper. I am not sure I can use it as it is a little too perfect without my messy scrawl inside.

I also bought a Melissa Livermore print in January to help support her year long art adventure in Paris and I look forward to framing it someday in the future. I quickly scooped up Peter Happel Christian's Nearly a Million Sunsets as 100% of the proceeds went to the Sierra Club. In addition, I participated in a couple protests, called and faxed a few senators, and gave money to two organizations that make the world a far better place. I am trying and I have no plans to stop.

Monday, January 16, 2017

INFOCUS Photo Books Exhibition

[Photos by Donna Goedhart]

From now through 9 April 2017, Icelandic Blue: Pantone 15-3908 will be on view at the Phoenix Art Museum for the INFOCUS Juried Exhibition of Self-Published Photo Books.

My humble little booklet/zine/pamphlet is on the right. The museum assembled a list of all the submissions with links. If you need to say farewell to a half hour of your time, it's highly worth investigating the other entries. I am also fairly confident in saying that mine is the cheapest one available for purchase (ahem... all of you with $10 burning a hole in your pocket...).

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Earthworks Observational Kits on the Website

Amarillo Ramp, 2015 - 2016
Wooden box, trowel to bury a significant object at the site, cotton to replace the teddy bear innards strewn on nearby cacti, gloves and pruner to trim overgrown shrubbery, rocks from Spiral Jetty, Sun Tunnels, Double Negative, Roden Crater, The Lightning Field and Amarillo Ramp

In March 2015, I discovered a photograph of James Turrell’s Roden Crater Field Kit (2000). The oak box, reminiscent of a portable desk from the 19th century, contains instruments used by surveyors, a rock from the location, documents, and maps. I was drawn to Turrell’s idea that other materials were necessary to fully understand an earthwork (and the absurdity that this was the way it should be seen).

While visiting Amarillo Ramp, The Lightning Field, Double Negative, Sun Tunnels and Spiral Jetty in the year and half that followed, I took note of what would have enriched my experience. The objects are those that I wished I had brought, those that were used to perform an action at the site, and those that were culled from the caretakers’ stories. Surprisingly, many focus on cleaning and upkeep – the antithesis of the entropy that some of the artists desired. In the end, Roden Crater makes an appearance, though its observation, due to great cost and inaccessibility, is highly unlikely.

Special acknowledgement to Andy Traub for transforming my crude sketches into three-dimensional boxes, Laurie Blakeslee for gifting me the Golden Guide books from her personal collection, Hannah Barnes for her assistance with the watercolors, and Nate Larson for suggesting that bubbles were the ideal way to interact with Sun Tunnels (he was right, you should try it).

Check out the rest of the kits here

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Earthworks Observational Kits in the Faculty Show

Earthworks Observational Kit: Double Negative
Wooden box, Golden Nature Guide to Rocks and Minerals, bandages for impending injuries, matches for the impromptu fire pit & notebook for the Geocaching box on the North Cut
2015 - 2016

Earthworks Observational Kit: Roden Crater (Unobserved)
Wooden box & green ribbon closest to the color of money 
2015 - 2016 

Earthworks Observational Kit: Spiral Jetty
Wooden box, paper to soak in the Great Salt Lake and plastic bags for storage, specimen bottles and tags for saltwater samples, rocks to make a mini-version of the jetty & empty Epic Brewery Spiral Jetty India Pale Ale bottle (to be substituted with a full one)
2015 - 2016

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Hans-Peter Feldmann's "Sea Paintings"

Hans-Peter Feldmann, Sea Paintings, 2016

From 303 Gallery's press release:

"His ‘Sea Paintings’ for example, consist simply of 15 seascape paintings (both old and new, large and small, and from a mix of amateurs and better known painters such as Patrick von Kalckreuth) arranged salon style on a single wall. Repetition becomes a disjunctive impulse, as the paintings in combination with each other begin to reveal a certain latency of shared experience...."

Hans-Peter Feldmann, Sea Paintings and Horizon on the left wall, 2016

That "single wall" is floating, however. The back becomes as important as the front (not unlike this famous series Verso). Walking through and viewing is more of a participatory act than a stagnant one.

Feldmann's new exhibition at 303 Gallery caught my attention at a time when I try to assemble all my family's photographs of the ocean and when I am equally enamored with the idea of overlap as a form of presentation.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Clear Water Samples: This Year's Additions

So far in 2016, I have collected clear water samples from the North and South Island of New Zealand, the Oregon Outback, the Columbia River Gorge, Lake Tahoe, and Brush Creek, Wyoming. I even found a photograph that my grandmother took from a family vacation in 1928 featuring one of the falls where I gathered water. Still not sure what (if anything) to do with it but it's still up for consideration.

The box is almost full (I've come along way from here). I began this activity in Italy in 2011, never knowing when it would end and what it would eventually contain. There are seven more bottles left and I don't care if it takes the rest of my life to fill. I want the locations to be special and once the box is complete, the project is done.

The fear of dropping this and losing them all ran high as I carried it across campus to the studio this week.

These three are some of my favorites: the floating pumice from Lake Taupo (North Island, NZ), the illicit collection from Hearst Castle, and the Arctic Ocean, a place I never imagined I would see until last year. I have a couple ideas for the remainders but no plans for all seven. Here's to spontaneity and the unknown. A project like this never had direct parameters but I am happy to see that it's getting closer to the end.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Icelandic Blue Pantone 15-3908

At Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, I made the mock-up for my first small run publication, Icelandic Blue: Pantone 15-3908. In July, with a lot of help from Fred Bower (my colleague who teaches graphic design), it was ready to print.

I loved how the publishing company thought they accidentally smudged the front cover but then realized the fingerprints and dark marks were on the original files. With the exception of the addition of my copyright information, the cover represents the notebook I carted all over the country, documenting what we wanted to see each day and what we actually accomplished.

The inside, however, reflects upon the act of reading paint samples for a year (before and after the trip to the Arctic Circle). I tried to find direct and indirect references to Iceland and then photographed the colors that most accurately described them while traveling around the country. Some were successful comparisons and others were not.

Many of the artworks in the Autobiography in Water series expand upon the methods of presentation that I constantly rely upon to show my artwork. This particular product is a clear reference to Ed Ruscha's sixteen limited edition publications from 1963-1979.

250 were printed and are available for $10 plus shipping. Email me if you are interested in acquiring one!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

An Anonymous Inventory of Objects Stolen from Art Departments (Skull)

It took awhile to track this down for the Anonymous Inventory of Objects Stolen From Art Departments series. It was the first time one was photographed in an environment. I am not sure if it will be included in the Art Department series, but I am glad that it exists before I return it. 

The clinical white background will be part of the inventory. I am inching toward 50 items. Slowly but surely. Once that happens, I'd like to create a small publication and a site-specific installation at a university gallery where contributions are solicited to add to my collection.