Sunday, August 9, 2009
So summer has been pretty crazy so far, still gotta get through August though. I was in New York last week hanging out and talking with some artists about the future. Things have been better, but i think it is making us better artists. It is certainly pushing me in directions to explore some things in a depth that i have never been to before.
This photo was taken by my friend Drew after our conversation about a new photo project i am working on. I've never been interested in photography beyond a tool for documentation. Oddly enough, i see these new photos as documentation even though i am not sure what they are capturing aside from debris.
I am exploring the cinder block as a symbol, a bland, cold hard, gray symbol. I am very interested in the utilitarian design and its functionality on an individual basis. One cinder block is pretty useless unless you are holding a door open. Add a companion and a board and you can make a bench or shelf for a dorm room. Add more blocks and you can construct anything you want. A retaining wall, a structural wall, shelter, on their sides they become a screen. I am obsessed with them and their ability to humanize and dehumanize at the same time.
I am collecting photos such as the one above to talk about just that idea. In art history when artists moved from the church taking frescos and paintings from the wall to wood panels and canvas it gave us the ability to move the earth. From one place to the next, we could suddenly take a picture, a window to the world, and move it. Our favorite landscape, still life or portrait was moved around the room or around the world. A picture window of perfection, and it could be changed, traded, bought and sold. The picture's frame itself created the window's frame and the artist gave us an aesthetically pleasing view of life.
It is interesting to me, as i see more and more actual windows boarded and bricked up. What does that say aside from, "you are not welcome". I have trouble thinking about an architectural space that you can not see out of. No contact with the outside world. We've come so far with our painted representations of life just to brick up the real thing. I think it says something about safety and security, but i think it also says something about the way we want to live. Boards can be removed,bricking up a window seems so permanent, so final, much like the bricking of a crypt.
The new pieces i am creating work in this thought, the picture is gone, the view is bricked up and the future seems cold and gray. I am finding myself at an odd crossroad where the symbol of what i am creating is not only actually taking place, but i am recording it as a gesture or thought that i don't even like. It is an idea that can easily be removed for the wall and replaced by a lush green Struth forest or Gursky's dimestore.
Stay tuned, i'll post one as soon as it is finished.