Sunday, March 16, 2014

John Coplans/Body

In considering the female form and the idea of the body, I am ultimately led to consider the male form and body as well.

Below are some photographs by John Coplans.

 I have seen many photographs of hands, but the photograph of hands above I found especially interesting because I responded to it on a couple of different levels. Viscerally, they made me think of birth because of the vaginal nature of the composition and at the same time of a sculpture by Louse Bourgeois called "Cumul" shown below.

In terms of my own work and how it relates to why I may have been drawn to the Coplans photograph above, I have been working with Caspar's hands in the frame of the videos I have been making from his perspective, and the way they are constantly grasping the camera itself and are a constant determinant in how he relates to the world..

As I think about both the male and female body as a theme, I have been considering how the three photographs below relate. The first is a self-portrait by John Coplans, the second is a self-portrait by Elinor Carucci, and the third is a photograph by Sally Mann of her son called "Popsicle Drips".

Kiki Smith

Looking at Kiki Smith these days, a couple of her prints are below, "All Souls" and "Untitled (Baby Heads).

I found a great interview between Kiki Smith and Chuck Close which is located here ... I loved the conversation between these two, and responded deeply to a couple of things said by Kiki Smith. She mentioned that on a plane ride, an environmental scientist she sat next to told her that after one year, you've breathed all the air that everyone's breathed in and out that year and in her words, she thinks that the "whole history of the world is in your body"

In discussing the repetitious nature of her work, she talked about screen-printing, and despite the fact that she is making exact copies, every time she duplicates an image it changes.

 In working with a baby, there is a rhythm that is both linear and circular, and though every day is different, they are stamped from the same mold. This is an idea I'm working with as I consider how to structure the video footage I've collected from Caspar's perspective.

I loved Kiki Smith's "Mary Magdalene" (pictured above) because of the unforgiving tactile nature of the body. Lately I have been considering the body in a tactile sort of way, probably because motherhood is an unrelentingly touching role (in the most literal sense). In creating and nurturing a human being, I continually relinquish the idea that my body is autonomous.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Books - Naomi Wolf

A couple of books by Naomi Wolf were suggested and today I ordered them -
Vagina: A New Biography

and The Beauty Myth

Looking forward to reading these when they arrive!

Janine Antoni

It was recommended that I investigate the work of Janine Antoni, an artist who works photographically as well as with performative sculpture. One of her pieces in particular, "Lick and Lather," was discussed as an example of how to use process and gesture as a method to create a self-portrait.
"Lick and Lather" is a set of two busts of the artist herself, one cast into chocolate, and one cast into soap. She licked her chocolate replica until it was resculpted, and took the soap bust into the bathtub with her and washed herself with it until the facial details wore away. I found a great Art21 interview with Antoni about "Lick and Lather" here.

She speaks about process extensively, but I was especially interested in her idea of "unmaking in order to make," and the kind of relationship she develops with her "self" in chocolate and in soap form - the idea that with the chocolate, she is feeding herself with herself, and with the soap she is washing her self with herself in a kind of circular narrative. She spoke about how she felt closer to the soap, because she had spent a lot of time in the tub with it, rubbing it down until the washing away of the features made the bust become almost fetal in nature. She related this idea of cleansing to purity -and how in her purity the soap bust disappears. Her relationship to the chocolate bust was entirely different - she mentioned how peculiar it feels to lick oneself - the desire and sexuality implicit in her consumption of herself. I like how she defined a conceptual structure in order to inform how she interpreted the idea of a self portrait. I want to borrow her method of beginning with a representation of herself and using removal in order to create something new.

I also gathered a couple of her photographs
This photograph struck me because of its uncanny intimacy, and the way the gesture of licking is used in a different medium than the chocolate bust. There is a sexuality to the photograph and yet it is not really comprised of sexual elements.

 In thinking about intimacy as a theme in my work, I am curious to see what happens when intimacy is boiled down to its basic elements - does it become sexual, sensual, uncomfortable, loving?

This is such a strange gesture between mother and child, and in thinking about what she said about her chocolate bust - that she was feeding herself with herself - it is interesting that this specific gesture can carry over thematically from sculpture to photography. 

The dark humor of both of these photographs is also striking. It raises the question of how we use humor to deal with interactions that make us uncomfortable.


Friday, January 17, 2014


I'm not what some call a "blogger," in fact this my first ever blog post. It is a dark, wet, soggy sort of night which seems an appropriate setting for anything bloggy. Anyway, now that this irrelevant first blog is out of my system future posts on here will be project related only.