Exploring the Outside

October 18, 2014

My time so far with Artist Lab at Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center has been thought-provoking and very new. The panel of advisors that we are working with are able to see concepts in my work and then make connections with other artists, practices, and movements, which feels like grad school maximized. This is an amazing opportunity to have experts looking at my work, giving me honest and guiding advice.

Texas wilderness area

I've since started to engage with a more experience-based type of artwork. Instead of looking inward for emotional solutions, I am trying something new and stepping outside of my normal practice.


I'm not necessarily thinking about the end result of the work, but about the process. Perhaps I've been too aware of the nature of print, and its inherent rules for production, and this has not allowed me to fully explore the wonder of the outside world.


Field Notes

September 16, 2014

A collection of my prints is currently on from September through October in the Waage Gallery at Minnesota State - Fergus Falls. The show is called "Field Notes" and is a series of twelve of my intaglio works that incorporate multiple plates and chine collé processes in order to establish a different story or history for each piece. Though the processes in printmaking are repeatable, I use them in such a way that the outcomes are unique. The reception is on Monday, September 22 and takes place from 2-4pm, during which time I'll be giving an artist talk and discussing my work further. I'll also give a chine collé demo to the printmaking students, which I am really looking forward to doing.

"Florida History" installed in Waage Gallery. Photo by John Cox.

If you are in the Fergus Falls area and have time to come to my artist talk, please do! If not, the show will be running through the end of October and the Waage Gallery is located on the M State Fergus Falls campus in the Fine Arts Center.

"Field Notes" installation view. Photo by John Cox.

Thinking About Sand

July 29, 2014

Taking steps into the world of what's beneath the surface of things is a little bit scary. I remember the first time in Sedimentology lab that we were assigned to identify rocks, and with no minerology or chemistry background, I sat bewildered by what I might see through the lens. I tried to make excuses as to why I could just hold a lithic arenite in my hands and know that's what it was. I'd been using my eyes for thirty years and I got pretty used to trusting them. Besides, how could I tell a feldspar from a quartz grain?

Untitled (Emptiness Is Meaningful)

My professor noticed my trepidation, perhaps because I was the only art major in the room, or perhaps because he's good at getting people to look at things. He slid a tray of soft sand under my scope and said, "Take a look at that." Over the inital embarassment of lifting my glasses away, I adjusted my eyes to the incredible magnification. Was I seeing this right? This was just some tan beach sand a second ago, but through the lens I saw brilliant pink hues, marvelous white calcite shell fragments, and what looked like pieces of glittery gems. I stared away and then back again. I'd later come to learn that sands from different places are made up of differing bits, and just by identifying the components of these sands, a well-trained geologist could trace the sand to its source. It's as unique as any person in that it is a product of it's origin. Sand can't tell you a lie. (Why that was so attractive to me is another story.)

I immediately started looking at all the things under the microscope, even the really obvious samples that were being easily identified by my lab mates. If I'd tested its hardness or streak, and confirmed that I knew what it was, I still placed it under the scope. Looking at rocks so close became an instant joy.

Florida sand beneath my feet

When I think of my contact with rocks, most of it has been in the form of it's detritus - sand. My youth in Florida had me form attachments to a sandy place, with tall pines that seemed to go hand in hand with the lithology. When I did collect rocks, they were hard-earned: digging them loose from the alleyway behind my house where I'd sometimes spy a gopher tortoise, or coming across a limestone, white and porous, like a strange visitor from another place. That "other place" was just tens of feet below me, in the form of the Ocala Formation limestone which made up part of the aquifer from which I drank. As a child, it seemed to be more fun to collect shells, and I anxiously awaited the weekend trips to the shore when we could spend hours picking up Conch fragments - a contest between my brother and I to see who could find the most complete one.

I didn't realize then that all those little shell fragments were just pieces on their way to becoming sand. Even the limestone I'd found at my grandparents house and scrawled my name with on the driveway (because it made a pretty decent white streak) was in a stage of erosion into sand. My artistic endeavors had helped it along, by smashing the soft matrix of the calcite stone against the harder concrete, turning rock into dust.

The Beginning of Looking Close

June 15, 2014

a new lexicon to use

Recent explorations in the studio and in the long-buried recesses of memory have opened a vein into where my new work is headed. These intricate and overlapping pieces of time that I collect and keep buried are akin to building my own world - a place of wonder, cold truths, and some pockets of pain and anguish. In an effort to catalog and understand my own inner-workings, thereby creating a system of knowing, I am slowly going through piece by piece of data. Instead of the large, pulled away and necessarily distant view most of my work has taken, inspired by maps that seem to dominate a terrain by labelling them, I am now ready to come closer. I'm willing to accept that previous systems of analyzation may not have been the only way through this territory.

new little icons for meaning-making

Everything has always been so precious. I think my early attraction to printmaking is rooted in the nature of its traditions and craftsmanship. With a foot in that world, I'm inching my way more and more into a mode of working in which the purely ephemeral is allowed in, and I can actually let go of some of my most deeply held truths in order to obtain a larger goal. But what is that goal?

I am now on that journey. This is the beginning of looking close.

new post up at NASSR

June 3, 2014

blubonnets growing in a dry riverbed.

My most recent writing, The Desert: Spirit of Place and Encountering the Dream, has been posted on the NASSR Graduate Student Caucus homepage. This narrative piece follows my first visit to the west Texas desert and revelations about its nature versus the imagined place I dreamt it to be in my expectations. In the place of adventure and openness to experience, I find that there is room for new ideas and thought to take root; the old assumptions of a world's descriptions for a place no longer fit my frame of reference. I find that the desert is not a place that feels foreign to me, but a calm and reclusive silence that, not unlike deep piney woods of my youth, could be as dangerous as a swamp if I don't know where I'm headed.
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