Wednesday, January 23, 2008

And And So On....A Cutorial experiment in groups of 100

I was recently invited to participate in an online curatorial experiment started by Dan Halm. Dan selected two artists who then each selected their own two artists to feature 'And So On'. I was lucky enough to be selected by Amy Stein who also chose Shen Wei. I wanted to select artists other than photographers, revealing just how much other mediums can influence, comment on and re-enforce my own ideas.

The two artists I selected both use human hair as an element in their works. I am personally drawn to Victorian mourning jewelry. I am fascinated with the idea of preserving the memory of someone deceased by containing a 'piece' of them. The containment of our bodies and its parts is something I explore in my own work. When I saw Melanie Bilenker's brooches made with her own hair, I was immediately moved by her process. Langdon Graves's sculptures and installations look and feel like the physical extension of my own photographs.

I am just as curious as Dan is to see where this first round of artists picking artists leads. I hope to discover new works which will inspire my own and I hope to turn others on to my personal favorites.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Having done my undergraduate in a communications department rather than fine art and earning my masters in a photo specific school, I had little exposure to other artistic mediums. Over the last semester of teaching I have been introduced to the world of craft through metalsmithing and jewelry design.

I volunteered to pose for the images to accompany student exhibition submissions–the top spoon designed by Debra Szczepanski, bottom one designed by Brian Kempf. Both spoons were accepted into the Society of North American Goldsmiths, SNAG for short, Student Digital Slide Show happening in Savannah, Georgia this coming March. "The students were asked to design a spoon that went beyond conventional utility, allowing their intended function to subvert, critique, and reveal our interactions with everyday objects," said Professor and artist Gary Schott.

Who knew there were so many possibilities for spoon designs. I almost wish I was a metalsmith.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Spring Semester

Tomorrow begins the first day of the spring term at Stephen F. Austin State University where I am currently an adjunct professor in photography and digital media. Last semester was quite the learning curve having had no real teaching experience other than being a teaching assistant in graduate school and a short stint at an elementry school in Austin. It was all uphill for most of the semester. Now that I've recovered from not only moving myself from New York after seven years but adjusting to a new job, I hope to have more time to work on my own projects and in doing so continue to encourage and inspire my photography students. This semester I am excited to work with a class of senior level photo majors. We will be discussing contemporary artists and photographers while focusing on one long term photography project. I want my students to have a personal project to use as their portfolio, enter in to competitions or exhibition proposals. I'm hoping to have a photography exhibition of their work towards the end of the semester somewhere in town. I'm also thinking of putting together a class website in the event we don't find space we can host an online exhibition of their work. I'd ideally love to have works in progress, notes and feedback posted on the site.

I'm finding its a very delicate balance between teaching and producing your own work. In either case you do not want to let anyone down. You feel you have so much to teach, reveal to the student that you need and want to share and at the same time your own desire and need to keep researching, discovering making your own work never stops however there often isn't time for both in the same day or even week sometimes. My goal is to spend one full day a week on my own art and the other six days for teaching, paying bills, organizing the house and sleeping. I have one deadline approaching in mid April. I'm working towards a two person collaborative show with a fellow professor. The material and concept stem from my previous medical work however will incorporate photography, sculpture, an aspect of performance and jewelry.

(The images above are from a portrait assignment from last semester done by two of my beginning photography students)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Critical Mass Update

I just found out today I was selected as one of the top 150 out of 569 photographers to move in to the second round of Photolucida's Critical Mass Competition. My work will now be judged by 200 reviewers including Brian Clamp of ClampArt Gallery in New York, Joerg Colberg of Conscientious, Natasha Egan from the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago and oddly enough two of my former undergraduate professors.

The top 50 photographers will be featured on Photolucida's site and the three highest scoring photographers will have a monograph published of their work. My friend Amy Stein received this honor in 2006.

I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Contemporary Self-Portraiture

I'm pleased to announce I've been accepted in to Self Evident: Contemporary Self-Portraiture which opens at Claypool-Young Art Gallery at Morehead State University in Kentucky January 30, 2008 and runs through February 20, 2008. Clean 1 was chosen from my Repository series. Images Clean 1 and Clean 2(wet in the sink) are part of a performance which took place in the morgue. The first image was taken after several hours of setting up and trying different locations within the morgue for a self-portrait. It was my second attempt to photograph my self in this space. The composition for Clean 1 and Clean 2 was, naturally, the last placement I tried. As soon as I saw the Polaroid develop I knew this was the image. The lighting worked, not to overpowering in a room that was all stainless steel, the sink seemed to cradle my body while the hose formed a halo around my head. All elements which were hardly visible in the Polaroid. I only shot one frame of me dry showing the cable release and one frame of me wet holding the cable release. In all the other frames I tried to disguise it. In this way I feel I was very lucky in at least getting one usable image which varied. In between the making of the two images I bathed in the sink using antiseptic soap and a scrub brush which were both found in the morgue. I photographed my self dry, 12 frames with the RZ, getting out of the sink each time to wind the camera. Then I set up the video camera on the same tripod used for the photographs and proceed with two versions of a performance. Then wet and cold, got back out of the sink, transferred the RZ back to the tripod and again shot 12 frames of me wet.