May 5, 2015
Die Linie ist also der größte Gegensatz zum malerischen Urelement zum Punkt” (Kandinsky 57).
As long as I recall I have wondered where the paths and streets I travel daily lead. A dozen years ago I began to trace the origins of US44. A federal road that once stretched from the shore of Massachusetts Bay, past my street, winding west out of New England into the heartland; since replaced by the monotonous Interstates along which one, as a point of “self contained peacefulness” (Kandinsky 57), can thoughtlessly speed without the distractions of the rich and varied life contained within that artificial line drawn on a map- the urban, suburban and rural route. It has been my goal to travel this route from one point to the other, traveling along the meandering line in a state of dynamic awareness. Recently, as both my forty-fourth year of life and my first year project draw to a close I made this journey by car with my two sons from its western end to the static point from which our daily life plays out, my older son gauging our progress: a dynamic, moving point along a smartphone m-app.
The discussions we had during this exploratory journey shed light on the variety of value, meaning and spirit contained within a line be it drawn on a map, a blueprint, or a painting. As Wassily Kandinsky wrote in his book Punkt und Linie zu Fläche: Beitrag zur Analyse der malerischen Elemente, the line, the greatest opposition of the painterly base element the point is formed out of the destruction of the point’s most basic nature, self contained peacefulness.1 We feel this destruction as a rupture, setting the course for the formation of the structure which will support the creation of the plane, completing the basic elements of which the painting originates.
Leaving Berlin last August I began a journey of exploration along a path titled Self Portrait of a Female with Epilepsy. It has been a winding road, much like US44, crossing rivers, leading through forests and farms, vineyards and orchards, spanning the breadth of spectacular mountaintop views, from weekend homes for wealthy New Yorkers and small working farms of a dying generation of Swamp Yankees, to pothole filled streets and crumbling facades of Hartford and Providence. Parts of the path were well known to me, being ones I have traveled daily for many years, others were lesser known, reconsidered with fresh eyes while traveling them again after an abscence of many years, and still others were brand new, never before traveled leaving me with a desire to revisit and explore as part of future journeys. The path, known and unknown, has led to unexpected stops and starts as well as the discovery of a byway along which I would like to travel during my second year.
1 Kandinsky, Wassily. "Linie." Punkt Und Linie Zu Fläche. 7th ed. Bern Bümpilz: Benteli Verlag, 1973. 57. Print.
“Die geometrische Linie ist ein unsichtbares Wesen. Sie ist die Spur des sich bewegenden Punktes, also sein Erzeugnis. Sie ist aus der Bewegung entstanden und zwar durch Vernichtung der höchsten in sich geschlossenen Ruhe des Punktes. Hier wird der Sprung aus dem Statischen in das Dynamische gemacht.
Die Linie ist also der größte Gegensatz zum malerischen Urelement zum Punkt” “The geometric line is an invisible entity. It is the trace of the moving point, therefore its product. It is brought forth by the movement, and most certainly through the destruction of the self contained peacefulness of the point. Here is where the leap from the static to the dynamic is made. The line is therefore the greatest opposition to the painterly base element to the point” (Kandinsky 57). translation R. Thomas
“I would like you to write a simple story just once more,” he says,...”Just recognizable people and then write down what happened to them next.”
I say, “Yes,why not? That’s possible.”...I would like to try to tell such a story, if he means the kind that begins: “There was a woman...” followed by plot, the absolute line between two points which I’ve always despised. Not for literary reasons, but because it takes all hope away. Everyone, real or invented, deserves the open destiny of life” (Paley 161-162).2
The absolute line between two points, like the Interstate, hopeless and monotonous, a predictable portrait of life, simple and recognizable to all who travel along it, if it truly exists. Complexity, chaos and chance are embedded in the lifepath organically evolving from the trodden trails of migrating animals followed closely by hunters, upon which the roads to move emigrants in their automobiles westward in search of a simpler life filled with hope were paved. When the reality of this nonexistent simplicity did not pan out, the slowness of winding rural routes was blamed. They were replaced by the absolute line of I-70, I-80, and I-90, mythologizing a nation rapidly speeding down that straight line, away from the point of a bygone era of the collective, gritty mills and factories of the Northeast to the point of the contemporary controlled cleanliness of the Silicon Valley selfie.
The culture of the Selfie in which we currently find ourselves is one where the individual’s complexity, chaos, ruptures and imperfections are kept hidden; an expense paid in order to reveal a controlled 'perfect me', a partially true version of the self we imagine of ourselves, or the image we are willing to share with the world. It would be nice like wiley coyotes to trick ourselves as we trick others with our perfect picture posts into believing this phenomen is a new, technology driven ideal of a narsacisstic culture; but we would be fools to do so.3 We have always hidden and revealed parts of who we are from the rest of the world, it is only the means by which the hiding and revealing are expressed which changed. For persons living with Epilepsy this hidden existence has ranged from banishment or concealment deep within one’s community to a chemical or surgical hiding through medical treatments of the disorder. At times it has led to a revelation or manipulation of the individual’s identity through a struggle for self definition and determination via the epileptic seizure.
For artists the tradition of the Selfie was not invented by Apple, Samsung, Facebook or Instagram, but it is a tradition stretching back to the first human that dipped his or her hand into a pigment and pressed it onto a surface, recording his or her prescence, existence, identity. The self portrait serves a dual purpose. On one hand it is the artist’s exploration of the various answers to the ultimate question we ask ourselves “Who am I?” On the other hand it is a projection of who the artist wants others to believe him or her to be. The act of self portrayal is a search for the truth of personal identity laying deep within, and it is an act of burying all or parts of this truth even deeper under the lies the artist wants the world to understand as the truth contained within his or her art.4 The self portrait straddles the border between private and public; created in the idealized, private, interior world of the artist it only fulfills its role as a work of art once it is pushed by the artist into the public realm, the real world inhabited by the viewer, and through the interaction and interpretation of the viewer the self portrait finds its completion.
2 Paley, Grace. "A Conversation with My Father." Enormous Changes at the Last Minute: Stories. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1974. 161-167. Print.
3 The painter Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863) is known to have not let any representation of himself other than his own self portrait, which he gave to the Louvre, to be shown in public. In other words, the only face he wanted shown to the public was the face he himself remained in control of. “The face he turns to the world is composed, selfcontained. What he sees in the mirror is not what he is, but all he is prepared to show. ‘The mask is everything’ is a phrase and a philosophy that recurs all the way through Delacroix’s Journals, and it is in these gravely eloquent writings that one discovers the artist’s deep introversion, not in his works” (Cummings 189-190). Cumming, Laura. A Face to the World: On Self Portraits. London: HarperPress, 2010. Print.
“Art sometimes begins and ends with questions. A big question for me...was What is Art?...half accepted a sophistry floating around the studios, that art was anything! But “anything” was too easy. If anything was art, nothing was art” (Kaprow xxvii).5
I’ve been traveling along the path of the self portrait, framed by Epilepsy. My initial question was how could the impact of Epilepsy on females be shared while exploring alternative approaches to the definition and traditions of painting? With no intention of personal exploration beyond my diagnosis serving as the impetus, and despite a long standing belief that as artists our biography informs all aspects of the art we create, I have not engaged previously with the tradition or concept of the self portrait. Yet during a walk one evening in Berlin it became apparent to me that the only way I could explore this topic through my studio practice was by exploring the impact it has had on me, hence the logical approach to the topic must be the self portrait.
During this project’s gestation I have produced a number of works for the proposed series of self portraits. A journey divided into smaller segments is easier to digest and can provide insight on the route that lay ahead; therefore I will discuss the four rest areas I’ve stopped at along the way. The first stop is writing. The second consists of studio explorations which have not yet found their identities as separate works. The third stop is seven ‘finished’ pieces: Pages, Wanderland, Look In Glass,Just Between Me and You, Index, Self Reflective and Twinning. The fourth, final rest area is my explorations beyond the studio walls.
Reflecting on this past year’s work, what I believe has been most beneficial to my studio practice has been the formalization of my writing. This encompases not just required writing of blog posts, group critiques, or papers, but informal, private writings; some written only for myself, other writings in the form of email and text messages with others.6 Having had previous periods of emphasis on writing as a part of my process and practice, until this year I had not been able to connect it to the whole of the process as clearly. Aside from gaining the ability of a hopefully somewhat more concise and creative use of language, I have found the ways in which I have explored the physical act of writing, its connection to mark making and drawing, and the role it can play physically as a supporting structure within the artwork to be a tremendous addition to my vocabulary as an artist.
Initially meant as process documentation I realized I could approach the website and blog as a self portrait. There I seek to address control as related to understanding, deciphering and disseminating information about my self; a digital archive of who I am, what I am thinking, and how I am applying what I have explored in the work I create. It is a highly detailed digital documentation, continually tweaked to achieve a feeling of information overload, controlled chaos, and a paradox-like ‘full disclosure with limited access’ to the truth.
The second stop on this journey was the exploration of material processes within my studio. The predefined practical element, a loose leaf journal, was conceived with the intention to explore materials and techniques beyond my usual repetroire. Here I took a ‘stream of conscious’ approach to ideas and materials; playing with alternatives to mark making like the machine stitched line, layering, translucency and oppacity, reversal and shuffling of images and text, and elimination of front or back of the page. This was a venue in which to explore the feelings of confusion and the inability to vocalize the experience of the seizure. I began to work with imagery inspired by the stories Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.7
For Index I produced small ‘gift’ cards, a partially abridged version of the journal. The additional element of a small mirror, affixed to one side of the card, with the dual purpose of referencing the mirror in Look In Glass, offering the recipient the possibility of becoming a part of the work by viewing his or herself in the mirror was employed. The mirror’s diminuitive scale in relation to the card established a frustrating tension when viewing. Neither the card nor the reflection could be viewed as a whole, only part of the picture was ever visible, the rest was hidden in plain sight.
Also at this second stop one finds sketchbooks, in addition to the materials produced in the silkscreen workshop, and some yet to be completed pieces. A mashup of work on paper, un-stretched and pre-stretched canvases that have been cut through, painted, collaged, photos printed on canvas, and fabrics stitched and sewn as freeform drawings.8
‘Finished’ works can be found at the third rest area. Two most recent works, Self Reflective and Twinning, both series of digital photographs, are incomplete in their completion with the intent to use them as source material for further work. Like the journal pages, nothing is created one off or in isolation, there is always a connection along the path even if it eventually leads back to the main drag. The first ‘finished’ piece was Wanderland,9 an installation in a narrow, dark hallway through which a solitary viewer traveled. Space receded into an indecipherable emptiness packed from ceiling to floor with the 100 journal pages, suspended from a black tulle and red thread structure and attached with silver binder clips; an overwhelmingly tactile, sensory experience. Once through the hallway they encountered the second piece, Look In Glass.10
Wanderland was the physical, Look In Glass explored the psychological experience of the seizure. An object, Look In Glass is a mirror box, its interior and exterior sides one way mirror, the face a two way mirror. Inside the box a standard iPad slideshow film of the journal pages, titled Pages, plays on loop. Peering into the box the viewer’s reflection appeared to float amongst Pages; a psychological rather than physical distortion of space. For some a more comfortable, less threatening engagement, for others too distant, almost boring in its lack of tactility.
Wanderland was too site specific to present elsewhere. Just Between Me and You panded the possibilities of meaning generated by the elements basic to both pieces, becoming physical presentation of the pages for the individual in perpetuity.11
Index could be Just Between Me and You a smaller scale, but it is not. The greatest difference between the works is conceptual, addressing both the relationships between artist-work-viewer, and the work to its parts. Index is for the group; composed of a single part, broken into individual works through an act of sharing in compensation for the inaccessibility of Just Between Me and You. Look in Glass too was broken apart; but its shards were gathered together, wrapped in a blanket, remaining part of the object, the memory-scars of an event.12
Last stop: presentation, installation and performance. Consideration of these enriched my conceptual and material approach to painting, self portraiture, and the artist-viewer-work relationship. December 6 I hosted an ‘invitation only’ presentation of Wanderland and Look In Glass, allowing me to chat with viewers about their engagement with the work and providing me insight of what these elements can bring to my work.
For Winter Residency I considered presentation approaches beyond “death by PowerPoint”.13 The nature of Epilepsy, most of the time hidden or unseen, informed my presentation as a performance hidden within a presentation; raising the question “What is happening here?” I wanted to show the work without fully revealing it; and include an expression of the quickness and force by which one’s life can change.
Although this project has continued post Winter Residency, I consider the performance-presentation to be the cumulation of the project; bringing together all elements explored in the studio and research work, the performance proved to be the most challenging piece for me to create. It pushed my artistic and personal boundaries, making me consider aspects of my practice from a different conceptual perspective while engaging at a deeper emotional level than I have done in previous work.14 The impact of the shattering of Look In Glass was an important step forward, releasing me from the framework imposed on the project by the term ‘Epilepsy’; speaking to a more universal experience of ruptures faced in life, not limited to health crises, but the impact we feel from a sudden loss of a job, a relationship, death. The performance of the work at Winter Residency was movement away from the blocks I traverse daily along Smith Street, to a journey along the whole highway, with its multitude of names, speed limits and topographies, generally known as US44.
4 The oft cited quote from Gustave Flaubert ( 1821-1880) “Of all lies, art is the least untrue.” leads me to consider how the artist’s search for the truths of personal identity through self portraiture, while most likely results in the manipulation of some if not all these truths as a means of protection and projection in relation to the art he or she makes, also serves as a means of underscoring the statement the artist is making through this art. Ultimately the truths contained within the lies the artist tells of his or herself are revealed. The act of self portraiture is not limited to the physical depiction of the self in a work of art, but includes all manners by which the artist controls the depiction or performance of self. This can be such in the case of Marcel Duchamp and the story he told the world for the better part of his life that he left the art world and had given up making art. In the case of Agnes Martin this is visible in her destruction of a large body of work predating her move back to New York City in late 1956 as well as her control of and brisk manner by which she told her story through her writings and the interviews she gave from the mid-1950s to the end of her life. As the culture of mass media has permeated every aspect and moment of our lives, not just in the Western world, this historical phenomen of the artist’s portrayal of self in relation to the work he or she creates becomes more blatantly obvious. From Warhol to Wiley, among artists of all calibers and levels of recognition, performance of the artist-self becomes all the more apparent. The notion that the art is separate from the artist becomes even less valid, less clear; instead there is an increase in the validity of the questions which arise from the triune relationship formed between the work, the viewer and the artist. These ideas were addressed in the research paper I wrote for M503.
5 Kaprow, Allan, and Jeff Kelley. "On the Way to UnArt." Preface. Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life.Berkeley, CA: U of California, 2003. N. pag. Print.
6 To all the unnamed others who have so kindly taken the time to read and respond to emails, texts and messages with me this year on all matters great and small an enormous “Thank You”; the written exchange has been incredibly valuable to the development of both my studio work and research.
7 Carroll experienced seizures due to Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, and the stories serve in part as a record of his own experience as well as a addressing ideas concerning periods of transformation and discovery of the self depicted through the character of Alice.
8 The answer to a favorite question asked by curator Hans Ulrich Obrist “Do you have any unfinished or unrealized projects?” would reveal not just within the space of my studio walls, but the far corners of my mind, projects exceeding in combined number the curator’s frequent flyer miles and publications. However because “Obrist is not interested in all art equally. He can be skeptical about painting, because at this point,..., it’s difficult to do meaningful work in that medium” (64) I will never need to answer this question for him, but it remains a good one to continually ask myself. Max, D. T. "The Art of Conversation." New Yorker 8 Dec. 2014: 64-73. Print.
9 As its title suggests, the imagery was culled from Lewis Carroll's depiction of Alice's fall through the rabbit hole.
11 The viewer’s interaction with the pages in the box was to be just as participatory and performative as the interaction with Wanderland. However the emotional response generated by the encounter was to be much less overwhelming; allowing for a time of quiet introspection in a situation where the viewer is in full control. The additional element of the viewer engaging with the piece in the presence of a group of people who themselves had no access to the box imbued a layer of exclusion and isolation of the experience for both the viewer and the group observing the encounter.
12 In this way it is similar to Paul Sharit’s film Epileptic Seizure Comparison (1976). Dir. Paul Sharits. U W E B Film & Video: Paul Sharits Epileptic Seizure Comparison (1976). Np., n.d. Web. by which the artist attempts to induce the experience of the tonic-clonic seizure in nonepileptics under controlled conditions. I find the film to be a romanticized notion considering there is no record of Sharits being epileptic or personally experiencing such seizure. And even if he did the odds of him remembering the experience in the way he has depicted it are unlikely as it is extremely rare for a person to recall the actual experience of a tonic-clonic seizure. A good example of what I am not trying to express. However the postictal state and emotional impact of the diagnosis are experiences and feelings which can be recalled and shared. Just Between Me and You and Index despite their similarities are conceptually two different works and thus are unable to replicate the experience of the other. The completion via shattering of Look In Glass during the Winter Residency presentation more accurately shared the experience and impact of Epilepsy than Sharit’s film does.
13 Thank You Dr. Laura Gonzalez for this fitting description of what could happen when a large number of people are scheduled to give presentations in a short period of time. Fortunately this was not the case at Winter Residency 2015; all presenters having approached their presentations in unique and stimulating manners.
14 I was not sure until the moment the hammer hit the mirror box that I could do it, but I did.
“To me, the grounds for hope are simply that we don’t know what will happen next, and that the unlikely and the unimaginable transpire quite regularly” (Solnit 94).15
I have traveled a major portion of US44, but I have not yet traveled it in its entirety. From my home to its eastern endpoint there is still a great deal left to explore. This past year has been a significant journey, but the road ahead still contains many unknowns. While it is impossible to know with exactitude what will pop up next along that road, it could be a deer staring at me in the headlights, or laying mangled and bloated by the side of the road, it is still wise to begin studying the map of the line I plan to follow. There might be detours or side roads that catch my eye as I drive along, in fact the likelihood is great that there will be many of these, and where they will lead, who knows.
What I do know today is the road I have just traveled and the point to which it has led me. The explorations I made this year with Self Portrait of a Female with Epilepsy have allowed me to break out of the framework of Epilepsy and address the impact of life changing instances in more general language. Ridding myself of this frame enables me to journey deeper into questions of personal identity and self portrayal via the self portrait.
Using photos produced in the work Twinning as my starting point, it is my intention to further explore the concepts and questions of personal identity and self portrayal via four abstract, painted self portraits. Building upon what I have learned about the complexities of the artist-viewer-work relationship I hope to gain further insight into this relationship when the element of what appears to be non-representational abstraction is added to it. At what point does it become impossible for the conceptual and emotional layers of the work to be readable by the viewer? When does the identity of the artist become lost to the element of abstraction? How does the viewer identify with or emotionally engage with a self portrait that does not appear to contain a recognizable self? These are a few of the questions I might find alongside the road I plan to travel this next year, however there are sure be others which remain unimaginable, I think.
15 Solnit, Rebecca. "Woolf's Darkness." Men Explain Things to Me.Chicago: Haymarket, 2014. 85-106. Print.
Second Year MFA Proposal Outline
01 – Title of project
02 – Name of student and any collaborators and their roles
03 – Suggested advisors for studio and for research element (first, second, third choices, if any). Explain your choices.
Dr. Laura Gonzalez- Dr. Gonzalez was my first year studio advisor. She is acutely aware of the development of my first year project and how it connects to the second year project. Her prior knowledge of my seemingly backward approach to doing and the direction I am heading will be helpful in my taking this project where it wants to go. As I move from my explorations with other media back to the medium of paint I believe Dr. Gonzalez’s understanding of the paths I have already taken will assist on the return journey. I would also like to expand on conversations begun with Dr. Gonzalez during the first year project in regards to the role of writing in my studio praxis as this will become along with the painting a key practical element.
Dr. Andrew Cooks- Through numerous conversations with Dr. Cooks I believe he is well aware of how my first year project developed and has fed into the second year project’s development, and has some insight to the oppositional approaches I tend to take and the roles thinking/doing play in my process. As the practical element of my second year project moves back to the medium of paint and goes deeper into my writing as a key element in my studio praxis I believe Dr. Cooks could provide many insightful sparks to help light fires along this path.
It is my hope to continue after completing the MFA into a MPhil/PhD program therefore I wish to work with a research advisor with awareness of these programs and who can help me to further hone the skills needed for this progression beyond my project thesis. I would like a research advisor open to helping me develop my academic writing skills, understanding of the potential the non-academic writing of my studio praxis might play in the academic writing, and be willing to receive communication throughout the entire academic year on the development of the studio portion of my project not for the purpose of feedback [I understand this is only to occur in the Spring Semester], as a means of better understanding the development of the project as a whole so that the relationship of research element and studio element becomes more clearly stated. Suggestions for research advisors are Dr. Michael Bowdidge who served as my first year research advisor, Dr.Gonzalez, or Dr. Cooks.
03. A- Please check off all areas that relate to your work:
Memory, Forgetting, Trauma and the Archive; Creative Fiction and Experimental Non-fiction; Language/Image; Art and Social Technologies; Gender; International Diaspora and Post-Colonialism Role of Art in Peace, Mediation, Performance Activism; Foreignness, Otherness and the Uncanny
04 – Description of proposed project or body of work – practical element
A small group of larger scale paintings, originating from abstract photos of my body, in which I explore a truthfully dishonest expression of the theoretical space containing a multitude of identities at the intersection of non-objective painting and representational self portraiture. In addition to the paintings the practical element will include a series of written self portraits by which I will explore personal identity through lingual abstractions.
05 – Description of project report or thesis – written element
A thesis in which I will discuss the philosophical origins of the question of individual identity: Who am I? I will begin with the writings of Soren Kierkegaard, progressing through twentieth century existential and post-structuralist thought, to the numerous ways in which western society is addressing this question today; a question which has grown more complex through the intermingling of biological, psychological, philosophical, and sociological definitions of who a person might be. Along with addressing the answers, or ‘non-answers’ to this question, I will discuss the origins and significance of the self portrait in both answering and evading the answer to this question, and how this relates to issues of truth and dishonesty in self portrayal. Finally I will conclude the thesis by the contextualization of the results of my practical element to these aspects of defining the self as addressed through my research.
06 – Project results, e.g. documentation, performance, script, intervention, website, exhibition, book, journal
Detailed documentation of the process on my website and a self-published book of images, studio writings and the thesis paper along with the large paintings, small studies and writings will be the results of this project. I am scheduled to participate in a larger group exhibition in late 2015 and a smaller, 3-artist exhibition in [tentatively first half of] 2016; both will include paintings and studies done for this project.
07 – Brief description of research method
My research method begins with looking and listening. Whenever possible I prefer discussing artworks I have experienced in their actuality rather than virtually or via second hand reports. The looking and listening are the points from which I build a rather extensive initial and annotated bibliography with primary sources informing secondary sources and vice versa. These bibliographies will narrow as the research deepens, and the project transitions to the written element [thesis] and the practical element [larger scale paintings].
08 – Initial bibliography for written element
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. We Should All Be Feminists. New York: Anchor, 2014.
Berger, Renate. Malerinnen Auf Dem Weg Ins 20. Jahrhundert: Kunstgeschichte Als Sozialgeschichte. Köln: DuMont, 1982.
Bretall, Robert W. A Kierkegaard Anthology. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1972.
Burkett, Elinor. "What Makes a Woman?" Http://www.nytimes.com. N.p., 6 June 2015.
Coplans, John. Provocations. Ed. Stuart Morgan. London: London Projects, 1996.
Cumming, Laura. A Face to the World: On Self-Portraits. London: Harper, 2009.
Dillard, Annie. The Writing Life. New York: Harper & Row, 1989.
Eno, Brian. A Year with Swollen Appendices. London: Faber and Faber, 1996.
Five Hundred Self-portraits. London: Phaidon, 2004. Introduction by Julian Bell
Flynn, Thomas. Existentialism. New York: Sterling, 2006.
Gilligan, Carol. In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1982.
Hesse, Hermann. Siddhartha. New York: New Directions, 1951.
Hickey, Dave. Air Guitar: Essays on Art & Democracy. Los Angeles: Art Issues., 1997.
Hooks, Bell. "Being the Subject of Art." Art on My Mind: Visual Politics. New York: New, 1995. 133-37.
Hooks, Bell. "Women Artists: The Creative Process." Art on My Mind: Visual Politics. New York: New, 1995. 125-32.
Ingold, Tim. Lines: A Brief History. London: Routledge, 2007.
Kandinsky, Wassily, and Max Bill. Punkt Und Linie Zu Fläche: Beitr. Zur Analyse D. Malerischen Elemente. Mit E. Einf. v. Max Bill. Bern-Bümpliz: Benteli-Verl., 1959.
Kaprow, Allan, and Jeff Kelley. Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life. Berkeley: U of California, 2003.
Kertesz, Imre. Ich- Ein Anderer. Trans. Ilma Rakusa. Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1999.
Kierkegaard, Soren. The Essential Kierkegaard. Ed. Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2000.
Lacan, Jacques. Ecrits. Trans. Bruce Fink. Comp. Heloise Fink and Russell Grigg. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2006.
May, Rollo. The Meaning of Anxiety. New York: W.W. Norton &, 1977.
Mirzoeff, Nicholas. "Chapter 5: Seeing Sex." An Introduction to Visual Culture. London: Routledge, 1999. 162-92.
Nagel, Thomas. The View From Nowhere. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1986.
Nozkowski, Thomas, and Sherman Sam. Thomas Nozkowski: March 31-April 25, 2015. New York: Pace, 2015.
Paley, Grace. Enormous Changes at the Last Minute: Stories. New York: Farrar, Straus,Giroux, 1974.
Paley, Grace. The Little Disturbances of Man. New York: Penguin, 1985.
Rosinsky, Thérèse Diamand. "Portraits." Suzanne Valadon. New York: Universe, 1994. 45-76.
Sartre, Jean-Paul, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Jean-Paul Sartre. "No Exit." No Exit, and Three Other Plays. New York: Vintage International, 1989. 1-47.
Schapiro, Meyer. Words, Script and Pictures: Semiotics of Visual Language. New York: George Braziller, 1996.
Schjeldahl, Peter. "Native Soil." New Yorker 25 May 2015: 78-79.
Sherman, Cindy. A Play of Selves. Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz, 2007.
Solnit, Rebecca, and Ana Teresa Fernandez. Men Explain Things to Me. 2014.
Solnit, Rebecca. "Shooting Down Man the Hunter." Harper's Magazine June 2015: 5-7.
Tomkins, Calvin. "Cindy Sherman." Lives of the Artists. New York: Henry Holt, 2008. 21-45.
Warr, Tracey, ed. The Artist's Body. London: Phaidon, 2000. Survey by Amelia Jones
Wright, Christopher. Rembrandt, Self-portraits. New York: Viking, 1982.
09 – Research question or hypothesis for thesis. For project report only if applicable.
Who am I? Where does the truth of individual identity reside if the individual is a multitude? Is there no ‘true self’ in self, only a fluctuating identity comprised of honest lies, subsequently making self portrayal an act of self betrayal?
10 – Intended audience
Persons interested in non-representational painting, self portraiture, truth and issues of personal identity.
11 – Short statement on your current practice
I am a painter who enjoys exploring the conceptual layers of painting in thoughts, words, objects, and action; but ultimately returns to playing with paint on a surface.
12 – Formulate entire project in 2-3 meaningful sentences.
From birth to approximately 18 months humans have no concept of self recognition; after recognizing the face in the mirror as our own we spend the rest of our lives asking the question: Who am I? This question of individual identity, how we perceive and project our image of self is inherent to our existence; has been explored by artists through the act of self portraiture; and has become more complex as we decipher and debate the ‘scientific truths’ of identity defined by philosophical, physiological, and psychological factors. In the studio I will continue in the tradition of the artist’s self portrait via writings and a series of paintings; explore via my research the tradition of existential thought to the contemporary debates surrounding individual identity; and attempt to connect both as a means of proving the act of self portrayal is an act of self betrayal due to the fluidity of individual identity.
13 – Technical description and production process including medium, quantity, size or duration
A series of smaller studies and larger paintings, primarily created in acrylic,and possibly including other water and oil based paints. The smaller studies will be of unlimited number, on various papers 18 inches x 24 inches/ 45 cm x 60 cm or smaller. The larger paintings may be on either unstretched canvas or paper, and expand to a size up to 5 feet x 7 feet/ 150 cm x 210 cm. The basis of the paintings will most likely be a series of photographs of my body taken with an iPhone 5 and digitally manipulated using standard photo-editing and page layout software. The photos will then be printed at varying sizes on matte photo paper. These photos may or may not become works or parts of other works, incorporated into sketchbooks, or simply remain as a source within the studio. The studio writing will be done primarily on a MacBook Air, but may also include long hand writing which could eventually find a place within the paintings. The writing will be published digitally on my website. Upon completion of the project images and studio writing will become part of a self-published book.
14 – Connect past and future project
Year One project Self Portrait of a Female with Epilepsy: Despite the openness to exploration I found within the project, the initial response to the proposal tended to be one directed to the framework, causing others to view the project as a more closed structure, which was not my intent nor my experience. Therefore one of the elements I would like to carry forward in my studio practice and my research is how structure can be used as a vehicle for enabling chance occurrence without necessitating a disintegration to chaos. In my year two project I have eliminated the framework comprised by the words “Female” and “Epilepsy”, pairing the exploration down to the ‘Self Portrait’ through which I will explore more universal issues of individual identity, a theme that continually surfaced throughout the first year project research and studio work. It is my intention in year two to take a more traditional approach to the medium of painting while bringing with me what I have discovered in the previous year’s exploration into objects, installation, performance and virtual media to enrich the viewer's’ engagement with the work.
15 – Connect studio and research project (if separate), explain how they inform each other.
My studio and research are never separate, each informs but neither illustrates the other. The‘how’ this informing can be seen at the beginning of the project can only be by trusting they will inform each other as a fact that can either be taken as the truth or as an honest lie.
16 – Brief description of conceptual motivation
Who am I?
17 – Short description and abstract (50-100 word) of written element
Perception and projection of individual identity is inherent to our existence; explored through self portraiture; and grows in complexity as we decipher and debate its ‘truths’ per physiological, psychological and philosophical factors, attempting to answer the question: Who am I? Differing factors expose the multiplicity of identities within the individual, raising the question: Where does the truth of individual identity reside if the individual is a multitude? Is there no ‘true self’ in self, only a fluctuating identity comprised of honest lies, subsequently making self portrayal an act of self betrayal?
18 – Proportion of written/practical element
19 – Possible location for the project
The images and studio texts as well as thesis will be located in the virtual realm of my website. They will also be self published in a limited edition book, available for purchase online. Larger paintings and smaller studies will be exhibited in Rhode Island/USA and Berlin/Germany with the possibility of other locations TBD.
20 – Timeline for realisation of project
Reading, drawing, sketching, studying and thinking
Reading, drawing, sketching, painting, writing and thinking
Studies/related project paintings included in larger group exhibit Candita Clayton Gallery, Pawtucket, RI/USA
33-50% [2-4 paintings total] of larger paintings completed; present portion of work Winter Residency 2016
Reading, drawing, sketching, painting, writing and thinking; possible 3-person exhibit
October 2015- April 2016
One 3,000 word or less essay written and published monthly [6-8 total] to website
April 15, 2016
100% [6-8 total] of larger paintings completed
May 1, 2016
Self-published book completed and available for purchase online
May 2016 TI deadline
Thesis written and website as documentation/virtual home to images and text completed
21 – Budget
Most materials I currently have as studio stock; Therefore I will limit my overall expenses to US$2000, to be broken down as follows:
US$400 replacement and re-stock of studio materials and supplies
US$300 photo printing, book publication and miscellaneous office supplies
US$300 website hosting annual fee
US$400 framing and presentation expenses
22 – Additional supporting information