Monday, March 31, 2008

Is Bigger Really Better?

As I drove in to the parking lot at the university I teach at two days a week in East, Texas I was greeted with the most bizarre site. Three Barbie-like seven foot legs were strapped down to a trailer–two legs straddled the side of the trailer while one was supported with a 2x4 pointing straight up. The piece titled "Fecundity" is part of a larger series titled Spiders by artist Joni Younkins-Herzog. The image of the legs strapped to the trailer reminded me in many ways of my own work as far as content and form are concerned however this was not the original intention of the artists–to have their female spider-like figure displayed in such a vulnerable and violent manner, yet this is how I now saw the piece.

Joni and her husband Rick took part in a two-week exhibition at the Art Center which included a visiting artist lecture which took place this afternoon in the art department at Stephen F. Austin. Having attended both the closing reception for the artists and seeing their work today, I must admit Joni's work, particularly her earlier pieces intrigued me more than the exhibition as a whole. I was much more interested in her tongue, teeth and oddities series. I realize I might be biased but art is subjective after all. I invite you to explore her work for yourself.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Critical Mass Top 50

I'm very happy to report I made the Critical Mass 2007 Top 50. Their site hasn't been updated yet with all the winning projects. A big thanks to all who voted for me. Unfortunately though my work was not selected for the book prize however my friend Bill Sullivan was selected as one of the monograph finalists.

I still feel there is a great need to publish both my current bodies of work but especially the Repository work. As I've mentioned before and repeated while attending the portfolio reviews during Fotofest, I have not found a book out there which tackles reproductive cancers through photography and/or art. There are plenty of breast cancer memoirs and documentary photo projects however nothing for those of use dealing with or recovering from uterine, ovarian or cervical cancers. I do think my project needs fine tuning and additional images to complete the project but in the meantime, I will be seeking a publisher interested in the subject and who is equally moved to publish a book on the topic. If you are out there please contact me.

Critical Mass 2007 Top 50 List

Alejandro Cartagena
Andrew Sovjani
Beth Dow
Bill Sullivan
Claire Beckett
Colin Blakely
Daniel Traub
David Prifti
Elzbieta Piekacz
Eric Curry
Fernando Klint
Frank Relle
Fritz Liedtke
Hakan Strand
Hee Seung Chung
Ian van Coller
James Soe Nyun
James Rajotte
Jane Alt
Jason Horowitz
Jenny Ellerbe
JeongMee Yoon
Jing Quek
Jon Edwards
Joni Sternbach
Karen Glaser
Kevin Cooley
Krista Steinke
Larry Louie
Lucas Foglia
Lydia Panas
Martin Miller
Michael Levin
Mitch Dobrowner
Patrick Shanahan
Peter van Agtmael
Preston Wadley
Przemyslaw Pokrycki
Rafal Milach
Rania Matar
Rosanna Salonia
Ryan Zoghlin
Sarah Small
Sarah Sudhoff
Steve Hanson
Susana Raab
Teri Havens
Tessa FrootkoGordon
Toni Pepe
Vanina Feldsztein

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Artist Talk Thursday April 3

On April 3, myself along with artists Alyson Fox, Andrew Long, Baseera Khan, Jill Pangallo, and Rebecca Ward will be giving artist talks at the Austin Museum of Art in conjunction with the New Art in Austin: 20 to Watch exhibition. The event begins at 7pm.

Also opening that night is Yoon Cho's solo exhibition, Nothing Lasts Forever, opening at Women and Their Work in Austin. I meet Yoon at our recent opening at AMOA. The opening is from 6-8pm.

"Cho uses video and digital photography to examine the ways we constantly create and re-create our identities. Utilizing blurring, pattern overlay, image insertion and other digital techniques to manipulate photography and video installations, Cho trains a sly and poignant lens on the ephemeral and ever-shifting nature of human persona. If life is a stage, Cho’s body of work investigates how we get into character".

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Fotofest Meeting Place: Day 2-4

The intense days of mini meetings with well known curators from New York, Texas, California, etc as well as several international galleries has finished up. Well for me anyway. There is one more week of portfolio reviews taking place in conjunction with Fotofest. I honestly had my reservations regarding attending such a costly event however when I ran in to Mary Virginia Swanson at an opening last summer at Jen Beckman's gallery she convinced me it was worth while. Although I did not have the opportunity to meet with MVS (hint hint) although I selected her everyday, I have to agree the days of prep work and sometimes exhausting and nerve racking meetings seem, at this point, to have been a good investment. I had the opportunity meet with a handful of people who seemed to be really interested in my work–either my Repository series or my Sorority Rush series. Overall, I received constructive feedback on how to improve both bodies of work and ways to continue them. I find its always difficult to put yourself out there not knowing what you will get in return, if anything. So for four days myself along with about 100 other people got the nerve to lay our cards down, meet with directors and/or curators we have only dreamed of meeting, all in the hopes that one might be interested enough to represent us, put us in a group show, publish a book of our work or show us around to other possibly interested curators, reps, magazines or book publishers.

I found everyone was looking for something different and I think in the end no matter what level you were at, how finished your body of work was most people found someone their work connected with. I myself was looking for possible gallery representation, inclusion in a group or solo show and interest in publishing one or both projects. In addition, I felt that both projects could be continued and should be. I discussed the strengths and weakness of each body of work and where to go from here. Often, as those of you who have attended reviews know, often the advice can and does contradict what the previous reviewer suggested. I think, based upon all the advice, you have to find the path or next step which seems best suited for you at this moment in time.

In between the meetings and over the course of four days, I was able to receive and give peer reviews and see some amazing photography. What is most striking to me is I signed up for the third section of portfolio reviews. There had been two before mine and one after. The level of work I was seeing and most of which I recognized from recent publications, contests and exhibitions was phenomenal. It appeared that some of the most talented emerging photographers were all gathered in Houston. I ran across photographer Kaylynn Deveney whose images I had seen through the 2005 critical mass top 50 contest. It was a real pleasure to see her prints and also purchase her book titled The Day to Day Life of Albert Hastings. Kent Rogowski, another photographer I had the pleasure of meeting, also recently published a book titled Bears. Both books can be purchased online. I am planning to order Kent's book, maybe he'll sign it for me??? Other photographers I met were Rona Chang, Geoffrey Hutchinson who I knew from New York and his business Print Space as well as Jessica Kaufman and Anne Arden McDonald. On Wednesday night there was an open portfolio viewing where the general public could come view our work and speak with us. After 6 hours of reviews earlier in the day it was the last thing most of us wanted to participate in however the experience was so worthwhile. How often do you have the opportunity to meet the artist or photographer in such a casual setting and how often do we as artists and photographers get to interact with a group of people who might not be the typical crowd at our openings.

Some of these same photographers, including myself, have been selected to attend this years Santa Fe Review happening in June. Unlike the meeting place, the Santa Fe Review is upon portfolio selection only. A panel selects a small group of photographers to attend a two day review. I hope to reedit and include some of the suggestions from the meeting place before heading out to Santa Fe to do it all over again.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Fotofest Meeting Place: Day 1

I made it through my first day of Fotofest here in Houston. Unfortunately I was so exhausted after I wasn't able to check out any shows around town. I had the pleasure of meeting with several reviewers who offered insightful feedback. It was both encouraging and discouraging on some levels. Based on the first day events I'm considering reediting the current selection of images in my Repository series. I've brought along two series. Most reviewers are drawn to the medical work although a few have been more taken with my Sorority Rush series.

Reviewers questioned the themes running through my Repository series and ways to strengthen those ideas. One reviewer from Canada mentioned the possibility of separating the project in to two parts of one body while another reviewer suggested separating out the images of the photographs of me in the morgue sink from the rest of the hospital/gynecologist pieces. Nothing was a complete surprise however it gets me thinking–maybe the series isn't as strong as I originally thought. Maybe it is. Maybe it just needs refining. I have been wanting to continue with the self-portraits as well as continue shooting for the series but not sure which ideas to focus on and which themes need to be fleshed out more.

In between the intense timed reviews I was able to see the work of fellow Fotofest participants. I ran across two photographers whose images I was already familiar with. I spotted Carlo Van de Roer's Untitled (Astoria Park, Queens, New York). I recognized his image which had been shown at Jen Beckman's gallery and through her photo venture 20x200 offering very reasonably priced prints to the general public. Unfortunately this photo is already sold out in all sizes. It was wonderful being able to see the entire series and meet Carlo. Jen Beckman is attending the conference as a reviewer. I'm hoping to meet her and show her both my series and see where that leads. I'd love to be part of her gallery or at the very least sell an image through her 20x200. I also recognized the work of Rachel Papo and her series of Israeli female soldiers. Her and I were both published in the same issue of PDN edu a few years ago. Having only seen the images in a magazine or online it was fantastic to see them beautifully printed 20x24 as well as see Rachel's new series on ballet dancers in Russia.

I overheard one photographer say that while nothing transpired from his meetings with reviewers two years ago during his first Fotofest conference he walked away inspired. During the last two years he has produced two bodies of work and a book. I hope if nothing else I can walk away with a list of new contacts and the same positive outlook on my own work and future projects.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Collabrative Projects

A friend recently sent me a link to this image of a Uterus Vase made by The Plug and St├ęphanie Rollin. The vase is a limited edition of twenty pieces, all lacquer and varnish upon a resin core. Seeing the piece reinforced my desire to collaborate with a sculptor, ceramicist or metalsmith. I am always eager to collaborate with another artist, specifically artists working with similar themes present in my own work. If you know anyone looking to collaborate with a photographer and performance artist please send them my way.

I am currently focusing/interested in: repair and preservation of the body and its parts, fragmentation of the physical body, recycling body parts and organs, hair, and anything uterus, ovary or cervix related.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

1000 Words: Interview with the Intrepid Art Collector

Lisa Hunter writer and art critic asked me to reveal the story behind my Repository series. Written in 1000 words, I hope I am able to share a piece of my journey and how I've come full circle as a woman and as an artist with our audiences.

Please check out the new feature "1000 Words: Stories Behind the Pictures" now on Mrs. Hunters blog, the Intrepid Art Collector.

I'm headed to Fotofest in Houston next week. I've signed up to meet with national and international curators, gallery directors and publishers. If I'm lucky I might get a solo show or book deal out of it.

Friday, March 7, 2008

AMOA: 20 to Watch Video Interview

In January, I was interviewed by Andrea Mellard, Curatorial Associate/ Manager of Public Programs at the Austin Museum of Art. It was rather nerve racking. Its been awhile since I had been interviewed let alone filmed during the process. I come off sounding as if I actually know something about my work and my self. So please checkout my video as well as the 19 other participants in the Austin Museum of Art: 20 to Watch exhibition. Don't forget I'll be giving a short artist talk on April 3, 2008. Hope to see you there.

Video Interview

Monday, March 3, 2008

Domestic Work in Progress

Its been awhile since I've had the time to shoot. I can't say my ideas are well formed yet. I feel my Polaroids are sketches. Just simple line drawings that can twist and reshape themselves or even be completely erased as I go.

I've been thinking for awhile about doing a project on my relationship to my mother and the way she spent her 30's. My mother was married with three children and here I am at 30–single, an artist and a professor. Is the road she chose any less successful, adventurous or heroic? I have a few outfits which belonged to my mother from when I was younger. I plan to photograph myself in these garments but also depict memories I have of my mother and dress in my clothes–ironically a style of dress which stems from her era as well as my Cuban heritage.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Support for Artists

It was a pleasure having photographer Timothy Briner lecture at SFA last week and stay a few nights with me. My intention was to inspire and motivate my students to follow through with their ideas. I did not anticipate how much Tim's story and initial struggle to get his "Boonville" project off the ground would touch me and everyone who attended his lecture.

Whether you are drawn to images of small town America or relish in a photographer who still shoots old school with a 4x5 camera and black and white film there is something so real and honest about the way Tim works–his thought process and the way he shares his own fears and mistakes from on the road. It makes his success that much more sweet and we too can share in his achievements because he is so candid and willing to tell all.

Tim has a few more months left to complete this long-term project he calls "Boonville". And I know although he has received funds, donations and kindness where he can, he has run out of money. If you are able to donate please do. You can find more information at the project's website

How often do you come across a young photographer willing to lay everything on the line so to speak, in search of a photographic series that rings true to him and everyone that encounters the work.