Class 27: December 4th (Presentations)

Today’s class was the day for presentations. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend due to illness. I was disappointed to miss the chance to see the presentations by my peers, as it has been very interesting to see all of their projects develop. However, I look forward to making up my presentation. My plan for my presentation begins with me sharing the theme of my exhibition and explaining the categories under which the included works fall. A key phrase from this section of the presentation is: “In modern and contemporary art, cathedrals provide both subjects and spaces for works of art as artists explore themes like space, height, time, aspiration, and community.”

Next, I discuss each of the works in my exhibition, sharing the same ideas that I discuss in the written portion of the project. This includes my own visual analysis of each image, plus context from my research. It also includes images that help to contextualize the works within the artists’ careers. I also highlight similarities between the six works in my exhibition. This section of the presentation reminds me of the gallery talks we did earlier in the semester. It feels rewarding to apply those skills here, with the addition of comparing the works in the exhibition to each other.

After this, I share details about the exhibition. I begin this section of the presentation by showing my poster. I then discuss the location for the exhibition: the chapter house at Wells Cathedral. I share my maquette and, using it as an aide, explain the layout for my exhibition, which is both chronological and categorical. Then, I explain about the programming, which can be read about in more detail here: https://hplankart260.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/class-26-december-2nd-workday/. Finally I conclude my presentation by stating that: “The cathedral is an architectural form that inspires artists to depict it as a subject, as well as a form that invites artists to create within it. It is a generative structure, something that encourages thought, reflection, and reuse.”

This presentation offers practice with a variety of skills that could be applied elsewhere. Being able to discuss works of art and their relationship to one another would be helpful in situations like writing scholarship or giving museum tours. Pitching ideas about programming and locations is also a helpful skill because it is often necessary to share ideas in a compelling and convincing way. This is helpful not only in planning art exhibitions, but in other situations, such as a faculty member proposing a new course or a businessperson sharing an idea for a new product. Thus, this exercise practices wide-ranging skills.

Update:

On Wednesday, I gave my make up presentation, which followed the above description. It was nice to be able to present my project and receive feedback on it. Speaking all of my ideas out loud made me realize how much work I have accomplished on this project. It seemed daunting at times, but uniting all my work into one presentation was very rewarding. In giving this presentation, I also received helpful feedback from Katherine, Donna, and Nell. One comment was that discussing the images in my exhibition in terms of others in the artists’ careers was effective. Another comment was that a connection I made to the Whitespace field trip seemed meaningful. I plan to highlight this connection in my process paper. Another idea to think about was that of the series, which many of the artists in my exhibition used. One particularly helpful observation was about Viola and Perov’s work. It is at the end of a transept, so it is framed within a frame. These comments are helpful because they suggest areas of strength that I can highlight in my final paper, as well as additional ideas I can explore.

Class 26: December 2nd (Workday)

During the workday, I continued planning programs for my exhibition. My ideas about one program, involving an installation by Anne Patterson, can be read here: https://hplankart260.wordpress.com/2014/11/30/class-22-november-13th-check-ins-and-maquettes-with-nell/. I also knew that I definitely wanted to invite Ronald Bernier as a speaker because he was a useful source for both Monet and Viola. More of my thoughts on Bernier can be read here: https://hplankart260.wordpress.com/2014/12/02/class-25-november-25th-workday/. I also thought that it would be nice to invite Elizabeth Emery, the author of Romancing the Cathedral: Gothic Architecture in Fin-de-Siècle French Culture.[1] This helpful source, which was recommended and loaned to me by Donna, discusses works by both Monet and Rodin that involve cathedrals. Emery also provides helpful historical context that explains cultural trends, like a rebirth of Catholicism, in France around the time these works were made.

I had more difficulty coming up with a third speaker. At first, I had envisioned the programming as a series of individual lectures. However, I realized that I had another helpful source about Monet’s Rouen Cathedral: The Portal (Sunlight). Paul Hayes Tucker wrote a book entitled Monet in the ’90s: The Series Paintings.[2] This book includes Rouen Cathedral: The Portal (Sunlight). One particularly interesting part of Tucker’s discussion is that Monet often painted the cathedral from the southwest, which made it easy to see the changing interactions between light and stone throughout the day. [3]This relates well to Bernier and Emery’s ideas about time. My current vision for a program involves inviting these three scholars who have written on Monet to speak on one panel. This panel would be concentrated on Monet’s work, but might also include comparisons with works by Rodin and Viola and Perov, since Emery has written on Viola and Bernier has written on Rodin. The Monet work is a fitting subject for a panel since it is often discussed. In addition, it is the earliest work in the exhibition and seems to introduce a pattern.

[1] Elizabeth Emery, Romancing the Cathedral: Gothic Architecture in Fin-de-Siècle French Culture (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2001).

[2] Paul Hayes Tucker, Claude Monet, and Boston. Museum of Fine Arts, Monet in the ’90s: The Series Paintings (Boston; New Haven: Museum of Fine Arts ; Yale University Press, 1990).

[3] Ibid., 156-157.

Class 25: November 25th (Workday)

During the workday, I worked on writing the sections of the paper about each of the works of art in my collection. For each work, I used a similar approach to the one I used for my visual analysis paper on Kollwitz. I did a visual analysis of each work, spending time looking at them and taking notes. I then added social and cultural analysis from my research. I feel comfortable with this format because I have lots of experience with it, including from past art history classes. I think it is an effective format because it involves the inclusion and analysis of several types of information. This format seems like it would be effective even beyond the realm of art history. For example, when writing about a text for an English class, one could offer first her own analysis and then put in dialogue with analyses published by other scholars.

As I was incorporating information from my research, I made an interesting discovery. One of the most helpful sources for Monet [1] was written by the same scholar as one of the most helpful sources for Viola.[2] Ronald Bernier (http://www.wit.edu/humanities/faculty/bios/bernier-ronald.html) is the author of these sources. I think it is interesting that the same scholar wrote on these works of art that seem quite different at first glance. Perhaps this reveals underlying similarities about the works. It seems that many of his writings involve religion and art, so perhaps that explains the connection between the writings on Monet and Viola. Since Bernier has knowledge that spans the artistic periods in my exhibition, I think he would be a valuable and effective speaker at a program at my exhibition. In the invitation letter, I plan to highlight his writings on this subject and to emphasize the variety of perspectives he is able to provide.

[1] Ronald R Bernier, Monument, Moment, and Memory: Monet’s Cathedral in Fin de Siècle France (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2007).

[2] Ronald R. Bernier, The Unspeakable Art of Bill Viola: A Visual Theology (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2014).

Class 24: November 20th (Monoprints)

To begin this class, Anne shared information about printmaking in general. She discussed several types of prints, like woodcuts, etchings, lithographs, collagraphs, seragraphs, and monoprints. Our class’s goal for this segment of the collection project was to make a monoprint to use as a poster for our exhibitions. To prepare us for this, Anne gave us a demonstration about making monoprints. She showed us various acrylic inks that we could use for our prints. The inks were black, white, red, yellow, and blue. These colors could be mixed to make other colors, if needed. To make the black I used for my monoprint, I mixed a variety of colors (red, yellow, blue, and black) per Anne’s suggestion in order to produce a richer and more interesting color. The ink was applied to glass plates using brushes. One can place an image under the glass plate to use as a guide, if desired. In order to make text that comes out reading the right direction in the final print, one can write the text on tracing paper, turn the paper to the reverse side, and place it under the plate to copy the letters. This produces letters that are backwards when painted on the plate, but are in the proper direction when printed. Anne showed us that once the plate is ready, one can place it on the printing press with newsprint underneath. Then, one carefully lays down a sheet of paper on top of the plate, beginning with one edge and being careful not to smudge the ink. Then, blankets are placed on top and the crank of the press is turned. Once the plate is through the press, the paper can be carefully removed. When one is ready to clean up, water and paper towels can be used to remove the ink from the plate.

During this session with Anne, I printed a cathedral arch. I chose to print my arch on the sturdiest paper that Anne had available because it reminded me of the strength of the stone out of which cathedrals are built. When it came time to print, we were worried that the ink on my plate may have dried out too much, so we misted it gently with water. As a result, when I printed, the image had a flowing, loose quality. I like this flowing quality because it symbolizes that the functions of cathedrals and the way they are perceived change and evolve. At this point, we were out of time for the class. I returned during the weekend to work more on my poster. I liked the monoprint that I made during class, but I felt that it needed something more to be a complete poster. I took a larger piece of paper and, using the technique for text described above, I printed the exhibition title—Cathedral: Subject and Space in Modern and Contemporary Art. This took several tries, as sometimes areas of the text were smudged or hard to read. I think that this issue stemmed from my lack of experience in laying the paper on to the plate, which is a nuanced process. Once the print of the text was dry, I mounted my print of a cathedral arch onto it using rubber cement (a technique I learned in Art 160 last year). Anne had mentioned collage as a technique we could combine with monoprint for the poster. So, I added images of Rodin’s The Cathedral and Patterson’s Graced with Light to make it clear that my exhibition was about modern and contemporary art and to show the types of works it involves.

My plate resting on the printing press, right before paper was placed on top of it.

My plate resting on the printing press, right before paper was placed on top of it.

The result of my in-class printmaking.

The result of my in-class printmaking.

The completed poster.

The completed poster.

This experience of making a monoprint was enjoyable because I was able to explore a new medium in the studio, while also considering imagery that related to my exhibition. My only previous experience with printmaking occurred in my high school AP Art History class. After the AP exam, when there were still several weeks of school left, each member of our class was assigned an artist to make a studio project relating to. I was assigned Andy Warhol, so I made linoleum prints of Lady Gaga, using bright colors like Warhol’s prints of Marilyn Monroe. I chose Lady Gaga for the subject of the prints because she was an edgy celebrity, like Monroe. My experience in high school reminds me of my experience in printmaking with this course because they both combined the study of art history with experimentation with an unfamiliar medium in the studio. The experience of making the monoprint makes me want to take more studio classes because I now feel more confident with exploring new media.

Class 23: November 18th (Anne’s Professional Practice Presentation)

In this class, Anne talked about her career path and artwork. She talked about working with images as a research technician. She said that this provided a natural segue into printmaking. The use of art in a science setting reminded me of the interdisciplinary nature of the liberal arts and my experience at Agnes Scott. For example, this semester I wrote a paper about visual imagery related to the Beatles for a music course. For my presentation of that project, I made an album cover for a Beatles song using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, which I learned to use in Digital Processes (https://hannahplankart244fa2014.wordpress.com/), a studio art class. In a Latin American history class that I took last year, I wrote a paper about casta paintings. I enjoy exploring other disciplines through images, so it was interesting to hear Anne’s experience of this.

Hannah Plank, album cover for "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," November 2014.

Hannah Plank, album cover for “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” November 2014.

Anne showed us her work using her website (http://annebeidler.com/index.html). Many of her works were prints or artist books. One theme in Anne’s work is China. This theme connects to Anne’s life and family because her two daughters were adopted from China. She also connected adoption to the ideas of unknown souls and mothers who have lost children in her work. Anne explained that, in China, a red thread is traditionally thought to have connected people who are meant to be together throughout time and history. Anne added that the adoption community also uses the red thread as a way to understand that adopted children were meant for and connected to their adopted families. One of Anne’s works from the gardens and gateways series includes pictures of her daughter, as well as pictures of ancient figures that are meant to represent ancestors. A red thread runs in large zigzags across the work, connecting and uniting the imagery.

Anne Beidler, from gardens and gateways series, 2005. Mixed-media print, 30x44 inches. image source: http://annebeidler.com/gandgprints.html

Anne Beidler, from gardens and gateways series, 2005. Mixed-media print, 30×44 inches.
image source: http://annebeidler.com/gandgprints.html

Anne also talked about a sketchbook project (https://www.sketchbookproject.com/) in which she has participated (http://annebeidler.com/arthouse-coop-sketchbook-2010.html). Artists fill a sketchbook with imagery related to a theme. They then send in the books, which are taken on a tour throughout the country and then stored in a library. Anne explained that a variety of individuals participate in the project, ranging from students to well-established artists. Thus, this project unites a variety of community members as they undertake similar projects that are contributed to and archived in the same collection. This reminds me of the ideas about community that have been a theme in this class. When a variety of individuals interact and share ideas, results are greater than what one would achieve in isolation. This idea interests me and makes me want to participate in the sketchbook project in the future because it seems like a way to engage with a many people in a new way.

Anne Beidler, from the Arthouse Coop Sketchbook Project, 2011.  image source: http://annebeidler.com/arthouse-coop-sketchbook-2010.html

Anne Beidler, from the Arthouse Coop Sketchbook Project, 2011.
image source: http://annebeidler.com/arthouse-coop-sketchbook-2010.html

Class 22: November 13th (Check-Ins and Maquettes with Nell)

In this class, we each shared an update about our projects and Nell gave a demonstration about making maquettes. When discussing one of the works for my project, Anne Patterson’s installation Graced with Light, Nell had a helpful idea for the programming for my exhibition. Anne Patterson involved the community when making the installation at Grace Cathedral. Nell suggested that I could have Patterson come to talk about her work and then make a ribbon installation, involving community members, in the chapter house of Wells Cathedral, where my exhibition is held. I like this suggestion because the programming is memorable and interactive. The ribbons will also help to fill empty space in the large chapter house. It was interesting to hear updates from the other students in the class. Sam (https://smpickard.wordpress.com/) said that she wanted to hold her exhibition in moving or rotating space, since her theme relates to motion. This reminded me of the cycloramas that we read about in Griffiths’s article[1] for Donna’s professional practice presentation (https://hplankart260.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/class-19-november-4th-donnas-professional-practice-presentation/).

Anne Patterson, Graced with Light, 2013. image source: http://www.annepatterson.com/content/sofg3.htm

Anne Patterson, Graced with Light, 2013.
image source: http://www.annepatterson.com/content/sofg3.htm

Chapter House, Wells Cathedral, 1286-1306. image source: http://galleryhip.com/wells-cathedral-chapter-house.html

Chapter House, Wells Cathedral, 1286-1306.
image source: http://galleryhip.com/wells-cathedral-chapter-house.html

The next portion of class was a discussion and demonstration about maquettes. Nell explained that the goal of the maquette is to give the viewer an understanding of the space and what the experience of viewing the exhibition is. The idea of giving the viewer an understanding of the space reminds me of the architectural maquettes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgifsJIyHLg) from an exhibition at the Bechtler Museum (http://www.bechtler.org/), which I blogged about in my idea bank post (https://hplankart260.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/the-idea-bank/) earlier in the semester. Seeing these maquettes in person allowed me to really understand the buildings, especially in terms of light and space, in ways that I had not been able to do previously from only viewing photographs and floor plans. Nell explained that the goal could be accomplished in a variety of ways and that the maquette does not necessarily have to be a three-dimensional model. She also gave a demonstration and tutorial about building the models. She showed us different materials, like foam board, mat board, and bristol board, that we might consider for use in our models. She also gave a demonstration about using x-acto knives. When using x-acto knives, it is important to use a metal ruler as a guide, keep your weight over the item you are cutting, and change the blade frequently. We had a similar demonstration when we used x-acto knives to cut paper for two-dimensional works in my Art 160 class last year. It is interesting to use x-acto knives as a tool in building three-dimensional objects, which is not a use I thought of when I first learned about x-acto knives.

[1] Alison Griffiths, “The Revered Gaze: The Medieval Imaginary of Mel Gibson’s ‘The Passion of Christ’,” Cinema Journal 46/2 (2007): 3-39.

Class 21: November 11th (Nell’s Professional Practice Presentation)

In this class, Nell talked about her career and her art. She studied architecture during the first part of her college career. However, she chose not to continue with architecture because its straight lines did not resonate with her the way other types of lines did. She also studied graphic design and worked in that industry, including as an in-house designer at a museum. I found this discussion of graphic design especially meaningful, since I am currently taking Digital Processes (https://hannahplankart244fa2014.wordpress.com/), a studio class that involves graphic design. It was interesting to hear Nell talk about the importance of being able to interact with clients and educate them about design issues. This discussion helped me better imagine and understand the real world context and applications for the kind of work I’ve made in Digital Processes. Later, she got an MFA in printmaking. While doing this, she made very large print. She explains that this large scale creates an environment. This reminded me of the discussion we had with about performative works being viewed and understood as an experience (https://hplankart260.wordpress.com/2014/11/29/class-20-novemner-6th-donnas-method-presentation-and-discussion/).

Nell also talked about the components of her current job as an art professor at Agnes Scott. She divided her responsibilities into three categories: creative activities, teaching, and service to the various communities with which she interacts. She showed us her website (http://nellruby.com/) and used it as a vehicle to show us some of her art. She explained that the themes in her work include the private vs the public, inside vs outside, and spaces where the viewer sees their rules and biases. She also discussed her collaboration with Andre Keichian (http://www.andrekeichian.com/). One piece produced via this collaboration is a film called The Great Train Trickery (http://vimeo.com/92092448). This black and white film uses imagery in the style of the Old West. Nell and Andre each portray more than one character, and their gender presentations change throughout the film. This is an example of creating a context that makes the viewer perceive their rules and biases.

Nell Ruby and Andre Keichian, The Great Train Trickery, 2011. Performance video stills, 11 minutes. image source: http://nellruby.com/scholarship/scholarship.html

Nell Ruby and Andre Keichian, The Great Train Trickery, 2011. Performance video stills, 11 minutes.
image source: http://nellruby.com/scholarship/scholarship.html

This film reminded me of my collection project because my collection contains a video installation, Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water), by Bill Viola and Kira Perov. Both works involve moving images that engage viewers in ways that may evoke empathy, like when characters are tied to the train tracks in The Great Train Trickery and when figures are tortured in Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water).