This timeline of thought is a compilation of daily reminders, questions, inspiration and current events all which affect my creative energy. It is a strict organization of my brain to help strengthen my creative process and reassure my artistic self of a consistency in thought and familiar topics.
I love books. words. thoughts. Books are documentation of ideas, conversations, and theory. Books legitimize one's decisions in the public eye, raise one's status, and give life to ideas that would otherwise lie dormant simply because it takes the form of a book.
Book as object has been the subject of many creative practices. It is non-sacred paper block turned topographical object; vehicle of thought manifested in space; narrative inspiring illustration; catalogue of theory accompanying conceptual project; script informing performance; documentation of the ephemeral or permanent; and diary of the living and dead.
Anyway... I found www.artbook.com today and became lost in its many titles. This is a reminder to myself to re-visit this website.
In graduate school, I learned the various means in which art historians and critics analyze/compare contemporary artists and their artwork with those of their contemporaries, even predecessors. While reading Martin Filler's "Makers of Modern Architecture: From Frank Lloyd Wright to Frank Gehry", I couldn't help to think how interwoven a creative's work is to their life story; an observation that should be obvious, but this time it truly 'dawned' on me. Filler has chosen to introduce each architect's contribution to the architectural archive and building industry, to further pair this rollercoaster of success and failure with aspects of the architect's biography, particularly life relationships. Through this approach, the reader recognizes the creative mind's primal need to share ideas with another, seek comfort in careful love, and find security in 'saving grace'. The true creative lives and breathes their work, learning from those they encounter and succeeding with the support of a constant, a rock; something 'familiar'. Consciously, but more often subconsciously, human nature uses these influences and comforts to determine artistic decisions.
'The familiar' was always a foundational argument in graduate school. 'We' as art historians are drawn to particular genres because it is 'familiar'. As humans we draw inspiration from similar areas of thought, concepts, and visual stimulation because it is all 'familiar'; "we like what we know." So it goes without saying that a creative's biography be directly connected to their line of work...
My struggle as a creative mind is to develop this constant; or at least recognize such. I am often so aware of my decisions that this continuous planning and obsession with strategy inhibits what should be an organic process. So long as I remain true to my 'familiar' thought, I will begin to see a thread in my creative thinking. And only then will I feel comfortable creating any (art)work.
I still want to learn another language and become bilingual. Came so close in college and when living in Rome to speaking, reading and writing Italian. The Polish Cultural Institute posted the below link, which I find interesting. Polish is one of the more difficult languages to pick up. My competitive nature is challenging me to try this one, especially since English, German and the romance languages sit towards the bottom. Because of this pyramid, I have so many questions. Is the Polish community more elite because of their language club? Are they dying out and becoming less significant? Why is Polish so difficult and what threatens its existence? Are humans becoming lazier? Is technology going to outsource all language, and universalize communication? Technology will be the death of cultural celebration?
Sol LeWitt Five Towers, 1986 Wood and white paint structure The Whitney Museum of American Art
ART IN PERSON
I became frustrated trying to photograph my first synaesthetic artwork. The materials I decided to use reflect too much light, the number of layers dim the vibrance of each color depending where it sits in the installation, etc. The more I dwelled on these problems and solutions for these problems, and as everyone I sent images to responded with '...I'd love to see it in person", I began to think that I actually didn't do something wrong. But something very right.
I'm an advocate and hypocrite to 'view art in person'. I rarely go to see artwork in person, but when I do, [man] my reaction and feeling when walking away is so much more intense than if I were to view it online. I believe in the experience of being with an object, spending time to look at the object and let it speak to me. When things speak to me, I remember them.
Innately, my synaesthetic piece could be frustrating for the viewer. Its not perfect, or mindfully crafted in a way that says "perfection". This is how my synaesthesia is. Its consistent, but feels different depending on my mood. My reactions to these letters and words change depending on all of these things, which also is why it took me so long to produce it. But mainly my frustration lies in not being able to translate, EXACTLY what happens in my brain, my vision, to physical form. I think this piece evokes that frustration also, and for this, I am content.
The Little Prince Chasing the Perfect Hector and the Search for Happiness
LE CORBUSIER: AN ATLAS OF MODERN LANDSCAPES
Le Corbusier, primarily known for his contribution to modern design and urban planning of the late 19th and early 20th century, is currently MoMA’s feature architect in the recent special exhibition Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscape on view June 15 through September 23, 2013. While the exhibition focuses on Corb’s reputation as architectural mastermind through a conglomeration of trace paper sketches, detailed eighth-inch orthogonal drawings, site plans, and white-stained process models all hung salon style, MoMA opted to juxtapose a lesser known Le Corbusier as artist, interior designer, and photographer.
His photographs and interior arrangements evoke the calm-minded notion that screams ‘modernism’, but his use of bright colors and rough handed gestures in painting arose a feeling in me that I doubted most museum-goers experienced as well. With my mind racing and my eyes frantically surveying the retrospective that MoMA laid out before me and many international tourists, families and students of art and design, I felt a pit of disgust in my stomach and tightness in my throat. Being a student of architecture myself and recalling many lectures on Corb’s urban theses of visionary speak, I was reminded of my dislike for Le Corbusier the architect, the male domination of architecture presented before me, European imposition of cultural morals, and modern art explorers’ objectification of natives all through domestic design, concrete columns, and unbroken planes. Gross, MoMA, I thought… brilliantly gross.
I had this same feeling in a Modern Art survey class in college when discussing Paul Gauguin’s exploration of untouched worlds to learn the notion of ‘savage’ that when applied would enhance the visual appeal and content of his art; a rawness. In Gauguin’s travels to more tropical climates he observed a much stronger sunlight, therefore brighter colors as a result. Being in paradise he took advantage of exotic women, luxuries of relaxation, and foreign foods. All which appeared in his paintings, but mainly women’s objectified, and yet brilliantly painted, bodies.
Corb took a similar approach to urban planning, and his early influences in painting were obvious results of encounters with Pablo Picasso’s and Georges Braque’s cubism, early purism, and Gauguin’s savage documentation. Corb’s architecture is heavily swayed by the land, the people, the objects in which he imposes his plans. He obsessively toys with the modern unbroken plane, machine-constructed materials, and manipulation of social behaviors through integration of landscape and design.
Ironically, his formula for urbanism differed from continent to continent. In third world countries, like Africa and India, a strict order, the grid, is imposed directly onto the landscape. Natives are forced to frolic amongst the manicured landscapes stretching under these raised glass and slab towers. While in Corb territory, like France and Germany, this obsession for order is sculpted by the beautiful rolling hills of its landscape. Natives experience an architectural interplay of natural light, curved surfaces, and complimentary materials.
At one point I caught subtitles from the screening of an interview with Corbusier stating “…once society decides to build homes a new consciousness is born.” He refers to this “new consciousness” as the birth into a civilized nation… or civilization. And continues to speak about the evolution of man to keep up with the machine. Therefore, he creates simplified designs of concrete slab raised above the landscape to separate pedestrian and machine (auto), imposing order, determining social behavior, and critiquing foreign civilization.
In further watching interviews and interactions with Corb, it became very clear (of the time) of the female role in urban development and society as presented in the media—the mockery, the weakness of mind, the uneducated woman learning from a man calling war on other men without respect for tradition, local evolution, worth, change, or landscape. Corb’s plans were meant to ‘change social mores and customs’ while taming the uncivilized and presenting such worlds in a brighter, appealing light. I equalize Corbusier to Gauguin: an arrogant explorer, classless countryman and brilliant mind for organization with intention to impose order amongst men and women who have no use for order.
EVERYTHING I KNOW...
Everything I Know: 42 Hours of Buckminster Fuller's Visionary Lectures Free Online (1975)
Today my partner and I had a fantastic, memorable conversation about synaesthesia in attempts to unravel what drives my associations with color and words. Is it the form of each letter and its association with color? Or is it the feeling?
For so long I assumed I felt each color automatically attached to the vowels, never once questioning its relationship with form until my partner asked me about shapes. Do shapes have color? [Well] I guess so. And I realized--which now bothers me because I should've recognized this before--that shapes have their own colors and feelings but they are different from similar letters. For instance, a triangle vs. upper-case letter A; a triangle feels red and the upper-case letter A is yellow. So I feel shape colors and I know letter colors.
Letters emit color--aural, always the same. Shapes function similarly, but on a different level...
Shape: Feeling: Aura: Color:
Stipple: (verb), stippling (noun, verb, used with object); to paint, engrave or draw by means of dots or small touches [Origin: 1660-70, Dutch 'stippelen' a frequentative of 'stippen' meaning ' to dot', derivative of ' stip' meaning 'dot']
Silhouette: (noun or verb when used with object); 1) (n.) a two-dimensional representation of the outline of an object, as a cut-out or configurational drawing, uniformly filled in with black, especially a black-paper, miniature cut-out of the outlines of a famous person's face; 2) (n.) the outline or general shape of something; 3) (n.) a dark image outlined against a lighter background; 4) (v.) to show in or as if in silhouette [Origin: 1790-1800, French à la silhouette after Etienne de Silhouette (1709-67), French finance minister]
My drawing for the Silhouette show has been printed and is ready for phase 2 of color/stippling. Looking forward to the final product!
Silhouette opening March 1, 2013 at 6pm at Blackburn 20|20. 02/05/2013
EMERSON TRANSLATION IN PROGRESS
Excerpt from Ralph Waldo Emerson's Nature, [Chapter V, "Discipline"]
1. Nature is a discipline of the understanding in intellectual truths. Our dealing with sensible objects is a constant exercise in the necessary lessons of difference, of likeness, of order, of being and seeming, of progressive arrangement; of ascent from particular to general; of combination to one end of manifold forces. Proportioned to the importance of the organ to be formed, is the extreme care with which its tuition is provided, — a care pretermitted in no single case. What tedious training, day after day, year after year, never ending, to form the common sense; what continual reproduction of annoyances, inconveniences, dilemmas; what rejoicing over us of little men; what disputing of prices, what reckonings of interest, — and all to form the Hand of the mind; — to instruct us that "good thoughts are no better than good dreams, unless they be executed!"
Ralph Waldo Emerson's writings, more particularly his quotes, have followed me for years. I remember I was first exposed to Emerson in high school while standing at my locker on the 2nd floor in the school's south wing, 3 doors down the hall from Mr. Fischer's art classroom, and around the corner from the school library where I had first exhibited my artwork [hands, intertwined hands]. Upon opening my locker, a note fell out; and as I bent down to pick it up, I noticed on the bottom of the inside of my locker door "insist on yourself, never imitate" in fine black sharpie and cursive writing [I attended a Catholic high school]. Being unsure of myself in my skin as a high school sophomore, and interested in quotes as I always am, I typed it into a library computer search field later that day to find its owner... Ralph W. Emerson from Self-Reliance. The same quote found me again in college, and again a couple years ago in graduate school here in New York; each time it was written in cursive. So I decided to make plans to have it tattooed on my rib cage in the style of Emerson's hand-writing, visible to only me and those closest to me. But before I could do this, I needed to know more about Emerson's theory.
Emerging myself into Emerson's texts and world of transcendental thought, I finally read Nature. While sitting in a center seat on the D train heading to my job as an arts administrator, it hit me... "good thoughts are no better than good dreams, unless they be executed!" I was finally ready for an exciting journey of exploration into my synaesthesia; a mind block that had bothered me since I became fully aware of the uniqueness of my condition as a freshman in college. In honor of my enlightenment, I'd begin by translating Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay Nature into color. Still in progress, I'm very proud and exhilarated by this investigation into my own perceptions of color, language, and the written word. The image above is a sneak peek of one layer of the final piece [orange = 'n'].
Synesthesia* (also 'synaesthesia'): (noun); a sensation produced in one modality when stimulus is applied to another modality, as when the hearing of a certain sound induces the visualization of a certain color. [Origin: 1890-95, Neo-Latin, see syn-, esthesia]
Syn-: a prefix occurring in loanwords in Greek, having the same function as co- (synthesis; synoptic); used with the meaning "with," "together," in the formation of compound words (synsepalous) or "synthetic" in such compounds (syngas). [Origin: Greek combining form representing sýn with, together with]
Esthesia (also 'aesthesia'): (noun) capacity for sensation or feeling; sensitivity [Origin: 1875-80, Greek aísthēs (is), (see esthesis) + -ia]
*Synesthesia is the common US spelling of the condition.
'SILHOUETTE', OPENING MARCH 1, 2013
Looking forward to the upcoming group exhibition "Silhouette" at Blackburn 20|20 curated by Bill Carroll which opens March 1, 2013. A digital print of my stippling "If I Were Fearless, I'd Speak My Truth (Melissa)" will be on view along with 70+ emerging and professional artists. Details below:
March 2 - March 30, 2013
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 1, 2013, 6-8pm
At Blackburn 20|20 323 W 39th St, 5th Floor New York, NY 10018 (between 8th & 9th Ave) Hours: Thurs - Sat: 10 am - 6 pm Curated by: Bill Carroll, EFA Studio Program Director
Featuring: Mike Asente, Donald Baechler, Glen Baldridge, David Baskin, Jackie Battenfield, Kim Beck, Michael Bevilacqua, Lauren Bierly, Jimbo Blachly, Miriam Bloom, Chakia Booker, Michael Paul Britto, Maurice Brochet, Deborah Brown, E.L. Brown, William Carroll, Deric Carner, Amanda Church, Willa Cox, Eyal Danieli, Cristina de Miguel, Mark Dion, Chris Dunnett, Joel Fisher, Anne Gilman, Raúl Hott, Nicholas Howey, David Jacobs, Kurt Kauper, William Kentridge, Janet Kusmierski, Carter Kustera, Jain Kwak, Liv Mette Larsen, Michelle Levy, Greg Lindquist, Sharon Louden, Charles Luce, Rene Lynch, Annabeth Marks, John Monti, Ron Morosan, Stephen Mueller, Natalia Nakazawa, Michael Neff, Helen Oji, Nathan Oliveira, Jim Osman, Jan Pfeiffer, Ray Rapp, Chris Rayburn, Thomas Reidy, Beth Reisman, Scott Richter, Philip Taaffe, Jeffrey Saldinger, Andra Samelson, Phil Sanders, Sarah Schmerler, Karen Shaw, Greg Sholette, Bill Smart, Steel Stillman, Karla Stingerstein, Jason Stopa, Emma Tuccillo, Tyler Turkle, Kara Walker, Lindsay Walt, Thomas Weaver, Kit White, Dan Wong, William Wood, Tricia Wright, and Lu Zhang.
Image Credit: Donald Baechler, PLANT STUDY #2, 2009, gouache and gesso on paper, 24 x 19 inches. Courtesy of Cheim and Read, NY. 02/02/2013
THE BOOK LOVERS - ALEXANDRE SINGH
A project for others... How do you choose those closest to you?
Stippling: Reflection: Meditation:
MODES OF CRITIQUE AND THE ROLE OF ARTIST
Biography vs. Influence vs. Collaboration
Artist--evolution of artist?
KANDINSKY AND CONCERNING THE SPIRITUAL IN ART
Currently studying Vasily Kandinsky's Concerning the Spiritual in Art  for the second time in my academic career. And this is the first time I've struggled with my love for an artist's aesthetic compositions and disappointment in what they are trying to achieve. Kandinsky's Concerning the Spiritual in Art, a beautiful investigation of thought [really], determines a criteria for creating artwork that will channel the spiritual into one's artwork. An artist achieves the spiritual through a balance of key choices in primary and secondary colors; color relationships as applied on a surface; use of shapes, lines and points, and frequency of these vehicles; and understanding of a proper hierarchy amongst these elements within space. My organizational self loves making lists and using the architectural process to develop my own projects, so I understand where he is coming from; but this extent of involving the spiritual seems counter-intuitive for an artist.
I'm disappointed in Kandinsky's need to determine and implement a universal formula to channel the spiritual, something that I believe should come naturally to the artist's work through a reflection of subject and ideas being worked through during the artistic process; all cultural influence aside. But even more upsetting is Kandinsky's attempt to simulate the sensation of synaesthesia.
Kandinsky is often misrepresented as an artist with a synaesthetic condition (sound-color, color-sound). In reality, Kandinsky is trying to understand the phenomenon of synaesthesia through a series of experiments, formulas and theories that simulate sensory overload; for example, his theatrical compositions [like 'Yellow Sound'] combining musical arrangements with colored stage lighting produced in the early 1900s [1909-1914?]. These experiments and investigative results later inform paintings like 'Composition VIII'  and 'Several Circles' . Surprisingly, his investigations work aesthetically for his own artwork, but not as a universal language; which [ultimately] is his goal for the art industry.
As a synaesthete, I have a hard time digesting a non-synaesthete's attempt to simulate the synaesthetic experience. This may be because the synaesthetic experience is automatic, never formulated, therefore always unique. [So] I am torn because I can't decide if his attempts are so well-executed that they are blindly accepted by the masses as true experiences of synaesthesia; furthermore creating a false sense of the condition. Or if his experiments and artwork de-sensitize the study of this phenomenon's uniqueness deeming each case a less special condition.
To pacify my disappointment, I should develop a project involving my condition of synaesthesia paired with this theory of art. I'm doubtful the end result will channel the spiritual as Kandinsky intended, but hopeful I learn something about myself in the process.