B.F.A Thesis Show

January 18, 2012

“The work I have produced over the course of this year has been based on the social make up of the rural communities I call home, and my own drive to collect. My current body of work begins here, toying with both my desire to document and present my own community and my impulse to hoard and accumulate objects that I identify with. I have chosen four specific professions, to make four very precise and individual portraits, including, a hairdresser, a garbage man, a floor sander, and a secretary. Focusing in on manual labor and the trades, I have utilized materials specific to each subject, to create a particular environment directly concerning the line of work of each individual. Each of the subjects that I have chosen is crafted exclusively from the material associated with his or her trade. The monotony of the ‘daily grind’ is captured by the large accretion of the material defining each figure.  In incorporating sonic elements, I have condensed and concentrated audio for each figures own voice and the tools they use, I strategically place the viewer directly in the atmosphere and perspective of the subjects. Deliberately, I selected four individuals, who not only live in my community, but are people who I associate with weekly, if not daily. This familiarity translates into an intimacy and complexity with each of the occupations. ”

Tracey Baran

September 30, 2009

Before I explain my thought process behind my next project, I feel the need to introduce an artist that got me to my idea.

 Plus, I think she was an extraordinary photographer, and I find it timely to talk about her and her work as there is a exhibition in her honor through October.

Tracey Baran was born and raised, in my neck of the woods: Bath New York, A small town that highlights include a large Salvation Army, and home of the oldest County Fair in the country : The Steuben County fair ( which really brings people out of the woodwork.) She attended School of Visual Arts (SVA) in NYC. Many of her photos revolve around small town life mixed with big ideas. A lot of the photos are actually taken in Bath, and of either of her or her family. Sadly Tracey passed way last November at the very young age of 33.

I did not know about Tracey until after her unfortunate and surprising passing. But once I found out that there was actually a well establish artist from Bath, I did my research, and needless to say, I fell In love with all of Tracey’s pieces. Leslie Tonkonow Artworks+Projects in NYC is arranging an auction to help benefit  a scholarship in her name. If I could fork over a 2500 dollar price tag I would buy one of her prints in a HEARTBEAT. But I live on a college art students budget, so that is highly unrealistic.

Someday when I am ridiculously wealthy and famous I’ll buy one, which will happen right after the second week in never .

But that’s why the internet is a beautiful and glorious thing, I can look at Tracey’s images for hours for free! Because due to my work load this semester , 2 jobs, and my observing in classrooms for my teacher certification, I doubt I will get to NYC before the exhibition closes October 17th or even be able to afford a trip down there.

Here are some of my favorites of hers

Tracey Baran. 'See Through Me' 2005 ©

Tracey Baran. 'See Through Me' 2005 ©

 

Tracey Baran. 'I miss you already' 2004 ©

Tracey Baran. 'I miss you already' 2004 ©

Tracey Baran . 'Oasis' 2004 ©

Tracey Baran . 'Oasis' 2004 ©

Tracey Baran. 'Son and Father'. 2005 ©

Tracey Baran. 'Son and Father'. 2005 ©

Tracey Baran. 'Wishing, Hoping'. 2007 ©

Tracey Baran. 'Wishing, Hoping'. 2007 ©

Tracey Baran. 'Untitled. Cherry in Hand'. 1998 ©

Tracey Baran. 'Untitled. Cherry in Hand'. 1998 ©

Tracey Baran. 'Club Valentine' 2003 ©

Tracey Baran. 'Club Valentine' 2003 ©

 

And here is an image I took that was inspired by her 2003 print “Club Valentine”

Courtney Wilcox. 'Club Valentine' 2009

Courtney Wilcox. 'Club Valentine' 2009

 

After I found out about Tracey’s passing, I took my camera out for a spin with some expired slide film (that I eventually had the incompetent workers at Walgreens cross processes because I didn’t have the means to do it myself). Club Valentine is no more than 5 miles from my house, so that was my first stop of the day. When I got there the paint was peeling and the exposed areas of steel were rusted and severely weathered. I found it fitting and significant that the sign was falling apart and somewhat decaying.  Now that I remember it had to be in the middle of winter, but I remember it being an abnornmally warm day ( looking back, I recall being quite peeved that there was going to be a hint of snow in shot, which now I don’t mind so much ).The owners have since re-painted the sign, and when they saw my reductive woodcut of it ( I used my original photograph for reference ) at a local art show , I think they were somewhat taken aback by it, and they made sure I knew that the sign was repainted. They also didn’t seem to understand the reference of the photograph or how I was inspired by Baran’s work.

What are you going to do? You cant please everybody, certainly not in a small town. I need to get out of here.

So now you all know about Tracey Baran, because undoubtedly she will come up in my conversations quite frequently.

Peter Kennedy

September 6, 2009

In between my assignments, for this class and others, I have attempted to enlighten myself on the process that is cyanotypes.

Although I dont mean it as a dorky, brown nose statement, I find the alt process book by Christopher James ,to be an amazing source of information. It is also clerverly writen and find myself ‘lol-ing’ after I read some of his small anecdotes. This book will definitely not be re-sold on amazon in hopes of making a small marginal profit, but will forever reside on my bookshelf , most likely next to my ever growing collection of polaroid cameras. Although I havent finished the chapter on cyanotypes quite yet, it wont be a ‘forced read’, and will go back to my little corner to finish it up most likely after I write this post.

Anyhoo I have found a vast amount of Artists working in this media on Alternativephotography.com, which has been the best source of hunting down artists for my alt. process class thus far.

I was able to find an artist by the name of Peter Kennedy and after seeing some 10 plus images he has created, I found him worthy of blogging about.

Typewriter ©

Typewriter ©

Blue Jeans ©

Blue Jeans ©

His composistion remind me of something I might see on Polanoid, a site thats enables users to post polaroids of all sorts ( from Mamiya with polaroid backs to altered peel aparts from Land cameras) Also a site that I have found myself over the summer, to frequently visit. Getting back to the point , his pictures make me think of users on polanoid, who with their expensive and now obsolete film , take great care in deciding what memories they wish to be transfered to film. His pictures have this soul that I cherish and admire (He also scored mega brownie points with me , who is obsesed with typewriters, found his print of a Brother typewriter.

It also made my heart flutter a bit when I read his bio and discovered he uses a Holga camera ( a plastic ‘toy camera’ that was first produced in Hong Kong in 1982 , but has been reintroduced by lomography at a steap increase in price, for hipsters who frequent urban outfitters and die hard photographers alike. ) It produces vignetting , light leaks, and basically any other so called ‘mistakes’ that most professionals would frown over.

Holga Bikini ©

Holga Bikini ©

 

If you havent guessed by my ‘subtle’ include of polaroids, I have quite the obsession. I would like to post about my new found ‘obsession’ but I am afraid once I start to talk about , I wont be able to stop. However once I find the time, I will most likely ( eventually) post some of my recent polaroids and new found knowledge of instant film . But first I must return to my alternative process book.

Binh Danh

August 30, 2009

While perusing through The Book of alternative photographic processes, I found myself highly interested in the chapter dealing with Anthotypes and Chlorophyll processes. The Chapter ended with striking images printed on leaves by a Vietnamese-born artist named Binh Danh.

 Binh Danh

 At first, I have to admit, I had one of those “ Why didn’t I think of that” moments. Simply sandwich a negative and a leaf in between two sheets of glass , expose to the sun and let nature ( and in this case photosynthesis) do the rest. But Danh’s work is much more than just images juxtaposed on to leaves.  Many of his leaf pieces deal with the Vietnam War , a war that  forced Danh to move to the United States with his family at a young age. Faces and portraits frequent the leaves, creating haunting images as the sun bleaches the leaf.  The leaf also serves as a part of the composition, the shapes of the faces tend to echo the shapes of the leaf.

Binh Danh . Drifting souls. 2000

Binh Danh . Drifting souls. 2000

In the case of Drifting souls. The slender leaf frames the soldiers perfectly. The green and yellow tones that the leaf produces, is noticeably similar to the colors in camouflage uniforms.  Danh talks about his work as ‘decomposing’ to creating something else, almost a sense of rebirth.  

Danh first finds leafs suitable for the negative that he creates on a computer, he then puts the leaf on a felt backing placing the negative on top, and a sheet of glass on top of that. These sun ‘exposures’ can take a few days , up to a few months. If and when satisfied , Danh then casts the pieces in resin in order to preserve them so the images are not lost.

What I appreciate about Binh Danh’s work, is not only is his method very inventive but his themes are personal and relate well with the media in which he works.