This was the second day of my “Mentor Week” and also my “class day.”
Tuesday, February 15, 2017
Happily, I was able to balance the two of them and do what I needed to do. I’m continuing to learn how to manage school and not have it manage me. Not an easy balance, but one that I must achieve.
The day started with a relatively early trip to school to visit one of my group member’s studios. He is a painter for whom I have much respect. In all honesty, I appreciate everyone’s work. I don’t see any work in my class that doesn’t have some sense of uniqueness, so that’s a good thing. How this all sorts out in the Art World is another matter. Still working on that, too. My group mate makes grand, colorful, mind-bending and ultimately very personal paintings about his perception. Literally about “floaters” in the eyes and sun spots. He’s trying to get to the almost “objective” truth of how we see, but translate it into his highly personal vision. Very interesting!
Next, we visited the studio of another painter. Her work deals with images from the Hubble telescope, amongst other things, and her work is highly pointillistic and laborious. She created grids upon which she adds paint into the squares and then “swirls” those paint quadrants, making tiny and near-psychedelic images in the process. It’s a fascinating practice and I’m impressed that since I last saw her, her pictures have gotten more ambitious and larger. I only hope that she has time to finish what she requires before the second year thesis show (something about which I need to make sure I think).
I appreciated the time that my colleagues spent in my studio on Monday. I gained a good bit of inspiration from the Mentor’s comments about my video series. Everyone seems to feel that the piece is “done,” and I appreciate that. I certainly think it’s done, as well, and now I’m working on a presentation for the First Year show, coming up at the end of March. The Mentor’s suggestions dealt with the manner in which I portrayed the activities in Casual Cruelties: In a stark white, clinical environment. Why not do the same actions in a different environment? I thought that was a good idea, as I think about the next series of videos in that vein, although it will be a bit before I get back to them. I also, of course, also have my 2D work to do, and I’m trying to prepare for all of that!
I skipped the remainder of the studio visits, after lunch, just so I could concentrate on my Queer Theory class. The reading for the class is very dense and theoretical. To add to that, there’s a lot of it to cover. We’re expected to prepare weekly writings about the materials, about two pages long. I find it challenging to sit down and actually read all of these materials (as I always have, in school), so I figure ways to “fake it” by only focusing on a sentence or paragraph and developing some writing around that. My problem with this set of readings is that it’s so dense, and there’s so much, that I lose sight of anything. My solution was to set up my computer in class, listen to the conversation, and try to pull some writing points out of that. Happily, the strategy worked enough for me to write two of these papers during class and hand them in. I’ll stick to the same process next time if I can.
I will be going to San Francisco, next week, but I need to make sure that I work on my image for the catalog of the first year show. I’ll be getting that together, so I need to be sure to ask any questions I have, far in advance.
Finally, I went to my Critical Issues class. The instructor had some members of a progressive anti-gentrifying organization visit. One of the members is deeply involved in the Gay House Ballroom scene, so it was interesting to hear his thoughts on the history and political implications of the art form. The anti-gentrification message was very strong, and I wondered if all of the students were really concerned about this issue, especially as regards the people of color who are finding themselves priced out of their own areas. There was a typical bitching session about our school and the fact that it’s swallowing up real estate in this Uptown area, but honestly, what school doesn’t do that? In particular, it’s better to be associated with an expanding school than one that is experiencing slow to no growth.