Wednesday, March 2, 2011


 I am still alive in the frozen wasteland that is Wisconsin… but just barely.

and for the record I apologize for the long post. 

Wisconsin.  Yeah.  Hopefully you have been watching the news because the situation is/could potentially effect other states but long story short our governor is an idiot.   Being a teacher has been extra rough this month. It is unbelievably stressful to wake up and try to deal with the uncertainty of the situation we are in everyday.  

The weather is taking its toll on me as well. I don't think my car or myself can handle another round of snow.  Almost 2 hours (normally 45 min) to get to work and almost 2 to get home and shovel my self in/out once or twice a winter is bad enough but it has snowed so much this month its more like once a week if not more. I know you east coasters are feeling my pain. 

Balancing school and work has been a harder task than I thought. This is the first night I have gotten home before 5 in a long time. Most nights this month have been 7 or later.  I always imagined that I would work a good 8-hours+ day on in the studio on the weekends to make up for my workweeks. Although I have been spending time in my studio, research is about the only productive thing that has come out of there.  Stopping and starting and restarting.... 

I have had a huge time starting up the work making process again. I have been so caught up with research the past month I was having a hard time switching gears. Plus I have a bit of performance anxiety. I felt like I got great feedback at the first residency but now I am second-guessing my decisions based on some of that. This is now seeping into my paper writing as well. 
I wrote 5 different versions of the critical response paper before I finally finished one. 
Anyone got a fix for over thinking things? 

I gave myself an assignment to try and jump-start the process of getting back into working. I found a website that generates a medical word a day. I tried to do a drawing from each day on that day.  I completed most of the drawings but I just felt were such obvious solutions to illustrating the word.  I attempted some things with wax that I thought would add a cool bodily substance effect. It actually turned out to be kind of a huge mess that didn't really add anything to the content. Maybe ill go back to that one ugh... later.

I met with Rory Burke my mentor last Tuesday. 
It was the best hour I had in the past 3 weeks mostly because she is awesome and partly because that's how crappy February has been. 

I saw Rory's MFA show when I was in undergrad and I pretty much loved it. She was one of the local artists that were on my short list as ideas for mentors. I mentioned to an old professor that I needed a mentor and asked if I could get her opinion about who I was considering to see if she had any insight. She actually suggested Rory before I could even read her the list. 

I wanted Rory as my mentor because she is in Milwaukee and has many access to many local resources. In relation to her work I feel we have a common thread in trying to portray factions of the human condition. More specifically, she also tries creating a visual of an idea using the figure. I am interested in her use of multiples and how she alters and adds objects the figure/ head to illustrate her message. I am interested to know more about her planning and development process as well. She just finished an artist in residence in Kohler Wisconsin, which would be exciting to learn more about. 

I was really put at ease by how easy Rory was to talk to. I showed her some of my sculptures from undergrad and the work I brought to AIB. Plus the medical word a day and the little sketches I had done in relation to potential finished projects. 

Rory's input
- Really felt there was something with the sculptures. She said they felt genuine and she could tell that is where my heart/interest is. She felt I shouldn’t abandon them, if anything use as drawing reference. Draw a few. It will feel good.  It helped her to draw her stuff when she was stuck. 
-Try other forms of 3-D, paper Mache/plaster
- Do not start with the end in mind/Don’t necessarily start with an idea
- Don’t get caught up with making work to show to others. It’s OK to fuck up. No one has to see it.
- Get out of rut by trying some self-portraits in relation to anatomy. This will play up the personal 
-Obvious isn’t necessarily bad might lead too more esoteric.
- Check my scale
-Think about why I like the body is it because everyone has one, because its a complex machine ect... this might generate some ideas.
-Look up/contact friend (who I actually had some art history/drawing classes with)

I also talked to her about her residency at Kohler. I thought it was interesting that she was making work on the floor with the industrial dudes. She described how the dynamic was a little weird because you have people (people: the workers who are trained to work with the utmost craftsmanship) watching you work. I also didn’t realize people came from all over the country/world to participate in the residencies. 

Her list of artists to reference for me: (she sent this before our meeting, and most are already my favs and frequent reference... made me feel like we were on the same wavelength).

Damien Hurst
Marc Quinn
Ron Mueck
Egon Schiele drawings...
Alberto Giacometti drawings...
Louise Bourgeois---

Mutter museum
Gunther Von Hagens-- issues on whether he is scientist or artist...which historically weren't as different as they are perceived.

I managed to accomplish a few of my other goals as well...

1) Visit the Medical College of Wisconsin library
 I found some pretty amazing medical journals that are 8 times older than I am and some amazing photographic anatomical resources. My favorite was the forensic anatomy guide. Unfortunately to get a copy for myself is going to run over 200$ and I cant check any books out because I am not a student at the school. During spring break (librarians are only there during the day 8-4 mon-fri) I'm going to go see if there is anything I can do about that. :)

2) Reading: finished several books. 

The Amazing decade : women and performance art in America, 1970-1980 / edited by Moira Roth
             The birth of the clinic; an archaeology of medical perception./ Michael Foucault
             The body in pain : the making and unmaking of the world / Elaine Scarry. 

             The object of performance : the American avant-garde since 1970 / Henry M. Sayre.
Illness as metaphor ; and, AIDS and its metaphors / Susan Sontag.  

3) Movies!
Snow days leave lots of time to watch movies...

Sick featuring the work of Richard Flanagan
Favorite thing was he used an anatomical sculpture of a person (the plastic one) and added the bodily fluids. 

What remains?- Life and work of Sally Mann
umm... body farm (the one from stiff!!) is pretty much awesome. I took a lot of notes with this one so I might need to save that for a separate post.

The Collectors- originally movie Michael picked out because he thought I would like it. It is a doc about 2 guys who collect art of serial killers. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Joe Coleman (artist I was told to look up by Peter at the residency) was featured and interviewed for both his art and his interest in the work of serial killers. 

4) Visit the International Surgical Museum in Chicago.

Had a section/exhibit similar to the Body Worlds exhibit.  It was not as good/ flesh like… seemed more like jerky and fake. Also, I forgot how hard it is to draw on the spot. I really wanted to draw but felt rushed.  I really enjoyed the old anatomical specimens and surgical tools and wish there were more.  I loved the old iron lung and old prescription bottles. I paid particular attention to the labels. Interesting what they claimed could be cured.  Also, my favorite was label that showed head on one side anatomy on the other. My favorite specimen display was the one of the gallstones and bone calcifications. I have been collecting images/ideas for a series of anatomical pieces that look like other things, (that we see everyday)  that I started when I went to the Milwaukee Public Museum with Jamie last spring. Going to start materializing this idea in the coming month I think.

Liked the statues of famous medical scholars especially Vesalius. His statue had crazy symbolism He was holding skull but also had bones/ribcage at his feet. On this chest was a really cool organic engraving.
Missed the street anatomy exhibit.  But there is a link to the site 

Guess I'm going to make it a point to road trip to mutter museum in Philly :) 

Both the medical college and surgical museum take submissions for artwork to be displayed. Add that to the list of things to do. :)

Spring break is in 1 week and I am so excited to lock myself in my studio for a week of uninterrupted work. I hope that this extended period of time to work will get things moving so that I can get on a more regular schedule for the rest of the semester. 

Last thing I found these really cool websites in relation to medial museums

1 comment:

  1. mandy.

    i just want you to know that you are an amazing person. and that no matter what happens you will do wonders. and she was right..

    "It’s OK to fuck up. No one has to see it."

    i fuck up with things all of the time..... i just parkour out of them. i love you.