Never a dull moment

Adaptation, 12 x 24 inches, acrylic & mixed media on panel. ©2010 Deidre Adams

After a week of utter insanity, things are quiet now. I’m getting caught up on all that I’ve let slide, like answering emails and attending to other outstanding issues. A blog post seems in order for closure on the the thesis exhibition.

As mentioned, due to unforeseen difficulties, we had a big scramble finding and preparing a temporary space for the show. The one we ended up with was a beautiful space, but it isn’t intended for display of art and therefore had several issues. Some in the class objected strenuously to the rather lively blue and lime green walls. Personally, I think my work would have looked stunning on a lime green wall, but I’m flexible. Since the will of the majority seemed to be that we needed neutral white walls, a bunch of us spent most of Tuesday painting. On Wednesday, I hung my work. This took me pretty much all day, because I had to do it alone, and I was terrified of making a mistake and messing up my newly painted wall. So I did a lot of figuring and measuring and remeasuring before putting nail to wall.

On Thursday, I needed to prepare for an artist’s talk I was giving that evening. So much for my theory that planning the date a year in advance should make for a very comfortable schedule!

Finally, on Friday, only one problem remained: there was no lighting for the walls other than some very high-up fluorescent fixtures — a completely unacceptable situation. Fortunately, my husband was able to take the day off and help with this situation. After several trips back and forth to the Home Depot, we finally had something rigged up on the overhead beams with clamp fixtures and 120-watt halogen floods that was, if not ideal, at least much, much better.

Me with some of my work

The reception was exciting. We had tons of people and it was a big crush, and it was great to be a part of it. I would like to express my sincere thanks to all of my great friends who came out in spite of the crappy weather to support me. You are all fantastic!

2017-10-15T16:16:19+00:00 April 24th, 2010|Exhibitions, School|1 Comment

Down to the wire

top – detail of Accretion No. 1: Periwinkle, 24 x 24 inches, acrylic on panel
bottom – detail of Fragment No. 4, 12 x 12 inches, acrylic on panel

Did I really have a vacation a couple of weeks ago? It seems that I did, but the last couple of weeks since my return have been so busy that it almost seems like another lifetime ago. I’ll post some photos from Hawaii shortly, but right now the most pressing thing in my life is getting my thesis show ready.

Our graduating class was supposed to have been the first to have our show in a brand-new space, one purchased by the school and completely renovated to beautiful perfection. Of course, there was always the worry that the construction wouldn’t be finished in time, but we all kept sending positive energy out into the world so that everything would proceed as planned. But yesterday, we were informed that of course the worst has happened. It’s not the renovation itself, but a long complicated story about needing more parking spaces because of the zoning, which requires destruction of other structures on the property, which have now turned out to have asbestos. This is a massive problem; it can’t be dealt with in time no matter how much we might will it, so for the moment we are building-less. A massive search effort is underway for an alternative space, and we are all in a kerfuffle wondering how this will come together by April 23, which is supposed to be the opening.

And I, ever the procrastinator, have been unable to get my postcard to the printer until now, even though it’s due to various parties in a mere 6 days. The reason for that is, as usual, complete and utter gridlock in the ability to come up with a title for my show. Originally called Resonant State, my thesis has undergone many revisions and thus my concept has morphed to the point where that was no longer appropriate. Among other possible working titles, I had at various times called it Patina and Force Majeure. Neither of those gave me the happy, contented feeling I expect when something fits well. Titling is a difficult, angst-ridden process for me. I write down many, many words as they occur to me, anything that might have a glimmer of a chance of being useful. This all stews inside my brain, and after an interminable amount of time, a new title emerges. So it is with this show, the title of which shall henceforth be Plane of Persistence. It works on several levels with not only my thesis, but also with my working methods. More about that when I post the thesis statement shortly.

Now the funny part. I’m getting the postcard printing for $25, but the cost for rush order and overnight delivery is going to be about 4 times that much. So there you have it – do as I say and not as I do, and plan ahead.

2017-10-15T16:16:21+00:00 April 10th, 2010|Exhibitions, Painting, School|5 Comments

Influences — Too many to count

Parable (working title), 36 x 36 inches. Thread, handmade paper, and acrylic paint on panel. ©2010 Deidre Adams.

I’ve been working more on my paintings in preparation for the thesis show. Although I originally started this series from an idea about the brain and cells and memory and dreams (see A State of Resonance), that’s all kind of fallen by the wayside as I’ve been working more into these paintings. I realized that I’m falling back to my usual way of working, which applies whether I’m working with textiles or painting on panels, or any other medium, and that is a focus on process. I work intuitively, starting with some basic layers of things and responding to them as I go. All of my work is about texture and layering, influenced by the things I’m drawn to visually: crumbling walls, peeling paint, rusty hinges, and marks. There is an inherent aspect of time, as surfaces are changed over time by the environment and by human intervention.

Rereading my earlier words, this seems to be the single most pertinent thing I said in that post:

I’m still working with texture, because after so many years of working with textiles, I’ve developed an inseparable connection with the tactile nature of materials. Besides the visual texture imparted by the lines, shapes, colors and markings in this work, I’m also using thread, string, fragments of handmade paper, and other embedded objects to impart elements of physical texture to the surface. I’m still very interested in creating a sense of depth and layering here, in an attempt to create an illusion that you are moving into the piece.

In the BFA thesis class, we spend a lot of time working on our statements. The thesis statement is distinguished from the artist’s statement in a couple of ways, the most notable of which seems to me to be that it’s a lot longer and therefore full of more pontificating and “artspeak.” In attending past senior thesis shows and trying to read the statements, I’ve found that in most cases they were way too long and my mind would start wandering before I could get through the whole thing. A lot of them sound like they’re just regurgitating a bunch of theory to score points.

In writing mine, I’m trying to be as honest as possible without sounding overly academic and pompous. On the other hand, I do want to make an effort to go along with the system to a certain extent, basically so I can get a good grade. Here’s the part where I’m having difficulty. We are supposed to name a couple of influences, and each named influence must be visible in the work. I mention wabi-sabi, as the idea of finding beauty in the impermanent and the imperfect is very influential, but they also want some actual art movements and/or specific artists named.

Now I have a lot of artists in mind whose work I admire: Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Robert Ryman, Eva Hesse, Gordon Matta-Clark, Susan Rothenberg, Wayne Thiebaud, Richard Diebenkorn, plus many more contemporary painters, textile artists, and photographers. But there is not a single one that I looked at and said, “I want to make work like that.” So I’m going about this in a rather backwards way, I suppose. I’m paging through all my Art in America and ARTnews magazines and a bunch of books to find something that looks similar or has a similar intent. Can’t really find anything terribly appropriate. For lack of a better idea right now, I guess I’m going to go with Abstract Expressionism, since the look of my work is somewhat similar to some of the gestural painters, although I think my philosophy of working doesn’t really fit. (Emotional intensity and self-denial? I hardly think so.) I’m open to suggestions.

One other note, specifically on the painting above. I first did this one last semester, but I wasn’t really satisfied with it in its original incarnation. Then, after I got a comment that it looked like an image of a nebula taken from the Hubble telescope, I realized that was pretty far off my intention. Here’s what it looked like before the rework:

Well, that color really was too wild, and even though a certain person is disappointed about it, I like the new version quite a bit better. I’m in charge here, after all!

2017-10-15T16:16:25+00:00 February 26th, 2010|Painting, School|6 Comments