About Then / About Now - Group Art Exhibition - Join me on Wednesday!

Join me for the opening of

About Then / About Now

at the UMF Art Gallery and Emery Community Arts Center

in Farmington, Maine

Opening Night: October 9th at 5:00pm

Running: October 4th through November 18th

Featured Artists: Katherine Steward, Annah Mueller, Rebecca Stevenson, Kristen Bisson, Christy Carle, Stephanie Small, Tim Berry, Giselle Scherle, Emily Baer, Joshua DeMello, Nicole Phillips, Andrew Thompson, Markeith Chavous, Other Various Artists

RSVP on the Facebook Event!

Part of the UMF Charter Day Celebration (150 Years!)

 UMF

UMF

Sketches: War of the Shoes

The sneakers stomped and then heels clicked and clacked. They were separated a short distance, on the hardwood floor, the rug as the barrier. The heels, then the sneakers again, and back to the heels. The slippers scurried behind the heels, pretending not to be seen, while the flip-flops ran through the middle, not concerned in the slightest about the volume of their steps. The sneakers responded roughly, the heels sassy but sweet, and the slippers just hid in the corner. The sneakers stepped closer, their laces tightening, the heels stepped even closer. When they were not an inch apart, suddenly they turned to the door as they heard them coming: the steel-toed boots had arrived. PROMPT: My fiancé gave me a writing prompt, which simply said: “the war of the shoes.”

Sketches: Here & Now

Needing a Push

She pulled over to the side of the road, and there's not another soul in sight. She closes her eyes, imagining herself home with her children, but she's still a ways away. She thinks of their big, bright, beautiful smiles, and she starts up her car for those last long few miles.

Confidence

She looks at her paper, and sees the scribbles she's left behind. Worrying about the next quiz, midterm and final test.

Worrying about then, later and now. Wanting to do well. and not knowing how to be someone of whom one can be proud, to be picked out as unique from the crowd.

But her teacher gives her a pat on the back, and says, "Do you realize that you're doing so well?" She looks down and tucks her books into her pack, and suddenly off goes the 2:30 bell.

Her teacher says, as she turns towards the door, "I'm so proud of you, and I know that you're going to continue to grow."

And she smiled.

Writing Prompt

Reaching Out posted 9.10.13

Writing poetry can be a lonely endeavor. Reading poetry, however, can introduce us to people and worlds we’ve never experienced. Use the power of poetry to help someone who is lonely. The woman resting her head on the steering wheel at a long red light. The old man with a soggy coaster at the end of the bar. The adolescent kid hiding in the school bathroom. Write a poem for them, from you.

http://www.pw.org/writing-prompts-exercises

An Artist's Statement

Daily, women like myself are attacked on (at least) two fronts: by visual representation and by our roles within society. The internet and information technology are powerful tools for feminism and progressive ideas, but with influence from the media, pop culture, advertisements, the entertainment industry, and contemporary politics, the image of a beautiful, sexy woman has been reduced to wide hips, long legs, large breasts, big butts, and tiny waists, and the roles for women are continuously reinforced to be submissive, passive, overemotional, weak, incapable of intellect, etc. Our patriarchal society desires to control “woman.” I am interested in how individuals and society are involved in the construction of contemporary identity through visual representations and roles. I am interested in how society views, interacts with, uses, and transforms women, and also how it doesn’t. I myself, both purposefully and inescapably, participate in the world and certain structures which I also criticize. I live and make in contradictions.

I also live in the internet. I live in the real world, too, but so much of my life has also involved living in the internet. I have a digital self that rarely resembles my physical self and only occasionally represents my mental self (or so it would seem). I am as much my online aliases as I am otherwise. At the same time, I am also reacting to the world around me, as a young woman and as a feminist, in a society that continues to suppress and oppress women. Like most people, my identity is a construction and an interpretation, pluralistic and complicated, transformed by my experiences within both the digital and physical worlds.

Concepts/subjects that inform my work include, but are not limited to: feminism (particularly third wave and cyborg feminism), the contemporary roles and representations of women, the virtual/physical world/border, the male gaze, internet and video gaming culture, politics and current events, chatrooms and forums, animations and cartooning, characters and their development, and so forth. Specifically, these influences include: Donna Haraway, Cindy Sherman, Hayao Miyazaki, Naoko Takeuchi, Hoogerbrugge, et al.

Some of my concerns include: 1) How both technology and the internet play a role in Feminism; how it tends to reinforce sexism while also being an opportunity for liberation and progressive thought. 2) The visual representation of women in entertainment animation, video games, comics, and within society. 3) The interactions with and treatment of women in the entertainment industry, in politics, at the individual level, within society, and in the digital world.

I would like (hope) to communicate (illustrate): the hypocrisies; the representation and roles of women; the mis/treatment and/or mis/representation of women; the changing definition of women; the current struggles, challenges, and injustices facing women/feminism today in both the physical and virtual realms. My motivations include: observations and experiences within and between the physical/digital world(s), sexism/patriarchy/capitalism/militarism/corporatism, the potential of technology, the inequalities and injustices here and abroad, etc.

Art, for me, is the exploration and the journey: ideas in progress. It invites and provokes conversation. When I make art, I sometimes feels like I’m participating in a form of activism, and I’d like to believe that I am making a difference in the world through what I make as an artist. I am interested in how it prompts us to contemplate and question societal structures, producing and influencing an increased sense of awareness and maybe even inspiring action. I want to be a storyteller.

Neil Gaiman Quote: Mistakes

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something.

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make new mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: Art, or love, or work, or family life.

Whatever it is you're scared of doing, do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

Neil Gaiman

 

Gage Academy of Art - Drawing Jam 2012

Yesterday, Olivia and I went to the Gage Academy of Art - Drawing Jam 2012. It was a lot of fun! It felt like an art-making festival. We got those pseudo-paper bracelets for "tickets." They had loads of supplies available for people to use, free of charge. There was music happening in the rooms and around the building. We checked out the different studios, i.e. sculpture with clay, painting, drawing, etc. We joined in on a couple of drawing sessions. I really enjoyed it. The first model was wearing a medieval costume, and the second was in a very colorful outfit with fake dreadlocks. Later at the event, I enjoyed a piece of chocolate cake, and Olivia ate lots of Goldfish Snacks. Here are some photos of my adventure at the Drawing Jam:

My Drawing of the Medieval Model

My Drawing of the Colorful Model (Sketch)

My Drawing of the Colorful Model (With Color)

Olivia's Drawing of the Colorful Model

Fish in the Mouth of the Skeleton

"Cinemed" — Some Reviews, Part 2

I'm not going to review too much in this one, but I generally liked the Panorama no. 2 selection. My favorite piece was "Cœur Léger" (Light Heart) by Marco Gianfreda (Italy, 2011, 15 minutes), which was very emotional and ended poetically. In brief, it involved a young boy spending a lot of time with his friends, probably because of his estranged relationship with his father; and his father, who wanted to kill himself, seemed very sad, quiet, and did not pay much attention to his family it seemed (unless he was directly spoken to)... In the end, the young boy secretly climbs into the back of his father's truck, and his father begins driving. His father attempts to drive himself off into the river but is stopped because his son in the back bangs on the window and gets his attention, "It's me, Luca!" — he said. His father's eyes light up, and he stops the car. Then, after a short conversation, they begin walking and arrive upon a carnival. The young boy asks his father which ride he would like to try. The father, still quiet and strange, says, after looking around, "That one." They climb aboard the ride, and it begins to go. The father tenses up (much like the tension when he's in his car, attempting suicide), but then sees his son in the seat in front of him with his arms spread. "It's like flying!" — his son said (paraphrased). Eventually, the father smiles, and seems to be actually enjoying himself, as if he's just rediscovered life. It was very sweet. The other film I liked was "Laszio" by Nicolas Lemée (France, 2010, 4 minutes). It was an animation, which looked much like paper cut-outs (mostly because they were, and then manipulated). It was the story about not really belonging anywhere, always being considered an illegal immigrant just because of the way you look or where you are, thinking you've finally found home and then being pulled away by police or unknown forces, etc. It was very beautifully animated, and I got a chance to speak a little with that animator afterwords.

In fact, it was a little bizarre. I was hoping to just talk with him briefly, but the announcer (Michelle) ended up inviting me and a few others to dinner at the restaurant just inside the building. It was sort of awkward at first, I think, because I didn't expect to be swept up in the evening out, but I had a lot of fun! I talked mostly with a young French woman who worked there, and was a filmmaker—I forgot her name at the moment, but when I think of it, I'll share her first name— and she actually sat next to me for the previous presentation (and I borrowed her pen). It was a funny coincidence that we ended up at dinner together. Anyways, I also talked with Ela, from Poland, who I believe works there as well, and a young French man of Spanish origin, who's name starts with an M (but I forgot the rest)—he works at the Film Festival and also is a filmmaker. I spent most of the time talking with him, and it was actually great fun. We talked about various things, weather, travel, studies, art/film, etc. He's apparently going to Canada (near Vancouver) in January. I warned him about the cold weather. I think I made him nervous about how cold it gets in the north!

And then before you know it, it's almost 1am and the trams are no longer running! Well, by the time M and I got there, my tramway had stopped running, so we both took the blue ligne to the same stop. I was considering walking the rest of the way, but M gave me a lift, which made the whole process a bit easier. Instead of a 40 minute walk, I had about a 10 minute walk. Yay for kindness!

Long story short, I had a lot of fun going to the Film Festival today, and I hope to go back later in the week, and I had a great time with the impromptu dinner with 5 folks, and making 3 new friends! Like I said, too, before, I feel less sick today. Today has been a good day!

"Cinemed" — Some Reviews, Part 1

I just got back from watching a few "experimental" shorts. I'm putting the word experimental in quotes not because I have a thing against it, because I in fact love and participate in experimental work, but because I think the film festival just puts miscellaneous films under the "experimental" title. The announcer even said that the reason they were considered "experimental" was because they didn't fit the categories of documentary or narrative film. Sorry, Mr. Announcer! I don't think "experimental" means "miscellaneous." Experimental is a whole other can of worms. Nevertheless, let's get on with the reviews of some of the shorts. For Burning Emina by Bennet Pimpinella (Italy, 2010, 16 minutes), we see a man (though not his face) without a shirt, and he places thick, black tape vertically on his torso and places another piece horizontally over his nipples, forming a cross. He then takes a marker, and begins to trace the cross. As he draws, you can see animated white lines appearing on the path traced by the marker. The texture of those white lines is much like ripped paper. The whole scene seems filmed in a way to make it feel old and as if made through a home video camera from the early 80s. So, this man has traced the cross onto himself. Many of the following scenes are him tracing such a cross on the tops of many different women. In the end, we see a woman tracing the cross onto a man. This theme persisted for all 16 minutes. I'm not sure if I liked the fact that you can tell that the subjects were aware of their being filmed, but at the same time, it added to it in the sense that you then knew that they were pretty much innocent bystanders who probably don't know the artist at all. You can even see their reactions when the tape was pulled off their breasts. After the film, and when the lights went up in the room, an audience member said, "Buuf, c'est fini!" really loudly. I guess he didn't care much to see so many topless people(women). I thought this film was interesting in the way that you started to get a little anxious with the repetitious imagery, and then something new would happen or something would change. In terms of content, I feel that the repeated use of the cross on the body, particularly the female body, as drawn by (usually) the same man, might indicate some commentary on gender roles in religion. At the same time, when you could tell that these were just random people on the streets, it then connected me with religion and the masses. It's an interesting take, too, on consent: to be drawn on, filmed, (usually publicly) nude, etc, by people you do not know.

For Transformance by Nina Kurtela (Croatia/Germany, 2010, 10 minutes), there is a woman, sometimes sitting (on a couch), sometimes standing, and she stays still while a time lapse behind her occurs. The same is transforming around her from a warehouse for trams and buses to a dance studio. This time lapse occurs over 100 days. She changes, though, with the time, ever so slightly. Her movements are jagged, but she generally wears the same thing, though a scarf or her hairstyle may change. Some humorous things happen: people react to her every now and then, or she may be sitting on the couch while somebody is welding a beam in front of her. Then, when the area below her must change, and get lower, she then appears standing on top of a ladder (to keep her in the same place). Then, eventually, she's on a stack of pallets. I thought it was very funny, and very neat to watch the space change over time, and to see her so meticulously in the same place each day for each lapse of time, and the various ways they problem-solved to keep her in roughly the same place. I really enjoyed the piece.

For Paysage vectoriel no. 1 by Avi Rosen (Israel, 2010, 5 minutes), I feel like the audience just didn't know what to make of this. I found it very intriguing though! It was a vector landscape. At first you saw short red lines in various patterns seemingly reacting to the sounds. Then, sometimes you would see blurry images of somebody getting ready for the morning (it seemed). Sometimes, you would just see a grid of colored dots in squares, or a just a plain grid, or the grid with those red lines again, and everything seems to be reacting with the sound, and sometimes those patterns were overtop the blurred imagery. You could sometimes catch moments where those lines and dots formed the bowl and spoon, and you had a small "aha!" moment. The sounds helped you figure out what the grids, lines and dots might be forming. And then, I thought, well what if this landscape was in fact done the same way but with nature? —and then I thought that that couldn't work, because the vectorial landscape needed to be in the manmade landscape, at least for this piece, and then informs the conversation about what landscape is and could be.

Still Lives by Vincent Ducarne (France, 2010, 7 minutes) was very cool. Though it uses many film conventions I've seen before, I liked the pseudo-narrative it implied. You saw many different scenes, different emotions, different people, all "frozen" in time. They weren't truly frozen, and the part I liked was the fact that you could see this man holding so incredibly still, but the slight twitches in his hand and the slight breeze under the newspaper, made it very poetic. Also, on top of that, one of my favorite features of this piece was the use of sound, because the sound was at "normal" speed while everyone was frozen. You saw the person frozen, seemingly pouring coffee into a cup, but you heard the coffee being poured, you did not truly see it. You could capture the could-be conversation between the two people who have made eye-contact, even though they are not saying or doing anything. It was very interesting, though most of its features are conventions of film.

Back by Vicent Gisbert (Spain, 2011, 6 minutes) features silhouettes of a hooded figure, legs slightly spread, standing in a rocky field. You see wind turbines (sometimes with 6 or more blades) in the background, foreground, etc, varying transparencies. The hooded figures eventually seem to move or dance, and react slightly to sound. I'm not quite sure how to describe this one. It was very simple, and I think that's making it more difficult to figure out, or maybe it's not in fact that complex. Visually, it was very cool, because it had high contrast and was monochromatic. Not quite sure what to say other than, "it looked cool."

I'm going back tonight to see more films. I'll let you know in Part 2 what I think of some of those!

Senior Thesis Exhibition:"Line"

http://www.sunjournal.com/encore/story/1008133 (Mar 31, 2011 12:00 am) ‘Line’ UMF exhibit features works of three senior art majors

FARMINGTON -- University of Maine at Farmington showcases the work of graduating art majors in the upcoming 2011 Senior Art Exhibit entitled “Line.” This exhibit is free and open to the public and runs from Thursday, April 7 through Sunday, May 15, at the UMF Art Gallery. An opening reception welcomes the public from 5 to 7 p.m., April 7.

This eagerly-anticipated senior capstone exhibit features the work of UMF seniors Kristen Bisson of Farmington, Annah Mueller of Oakland and Giselle Scherle, of Farmington. A dynamic and inventive digital media installation, “Line” alludes to the artists’ use of both drawn and written lines in their work.

Kristen Bisson’s work is concerned with the formation of personal identity through media, and explores the idea of the “virtual self” in a way that is both immediately appealing and thought provoking. Her animations are fresh, fanciful, sharp and insightful.

Annah Mueller’s work—large scale typographic installations and video works—concerns itself with the peculiar contradictions inherent in contemporary design language and the culture of advertising. Dense, elegant and strangely compelling, these pieces have a resonance that transcends their apparent simplicity.

Giselle Scherle has created a world unto itself, and a cast of animated characters to populate it. Her works are sometimes melancholy, often tragic, and always infused with a strangely poetic atmosphere. Scherle’s gestural painterly, highly evocative drawings are united into poignant explorations of universal human emotions.

The UMF Art Gallery is located at 246 Main St. in Farmington, immediately behind the Admissions Office. The gallery is open noon to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, during the UMF academic year and by appointment. For more information, or to make special arrangements, please call 778-7002, or email Elizabeth Olbert, director of the UMF Art Gallery, at elizabeth.olbert@maine.edu.

Creative Commons and Jamendo

I've found through the Creative Commons a fantastic music website called Jamendo.  This website is great, because if you're into free and partial copyright works, this place has loads of it.  I personally love using it to discover artists I may not normally see otherwise.  The mainstream music industry can get caught up in the capitalistic frenzy it's created for itself.  But, there are still artists out there who really focus on their music and their audience.  In fact, musicians don't make much of anything off of the CDs sold in stores.  That's all producer and music industry revenue!  The money the artist makes is through their concert tickets, merchandise sold at those events, or donations. I believe the Creative Commons to be a wonderful entity, because it allows for partial copyrights to your work.  Many go to jail for the use or distribution of something copyrighted without permission.  This world is about sharing ideas, not keeping them to ourselves.  There is no progress in that.  If we share our work and let others freely borrow and transform them, we are expanding and making deeper those ideas, furthering creativity and thought.  The Creative Commons allows for a variety of free licenses for one's work so that you can give the world what is yours on your terms.  You can reserve all rights to the work, or perhaps one option would allow it to be used for commercial use, etc.  The Creative Commons must grow.  Jamendo is also a wonderful resource for music.  I encourage everyone to check out these websites.

Sakky Art

So, my online friend showed me this website: http://www.livestream.com/sakkyart.  Sakky draws and crafts all sorts of different things, apparently.  I watched her today draw the human version of Queen Beryl from the Sailor Moon anime series.  I'm a huge fan of Sailor Moon, and of drawing, so it was really fun to watch her.  It also inspired me a bit to get back into my drawings.  I never seem to find the time; but I love it, and feel the need to improve.  Also, it makes me want to buy the highest-quantity package of Prismacolor markers.  It's on the wish list.  http://sakky-attack.deviantart.com/ is her DeviantArt account which also has her commission policy.  Enjoy!