Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Jenelle on Sequel at REM

Hey all, I haven’t had too much of a chance to go see some photography, but I did go see one show at REM gallery (now located on Park Ave. off McCullough) called Sequel. The image on the flyer was intriguing and I really wanted to see it. It seemed simple enough, for example, it’s a woman seen from the back holding a shiny bag in front of a steel wall. The way that the light reflects off of the steel wall creates this even line across the center of the image that silhouettes the figure. Visually the contrast is what caught my attention. Horizontal lines seem to create a sense of harmony in an image, especially when the line is in the center of the picture. However, I must admit my disappointment when I saw only one in the gallery like it. The lone print was a small one and sold, but I wanted to see a whole series of them, not just one.
I didn’t get any images of the other work up in the same show, but they were unrelated to the one above. I really didn’t know what the concept of the show was as a whole. Other images made a comment towards 9/11. For example, there were two images, 8x10, with a section of a building filling up the frame with vertical lines and windows. Within this were tiny specs which, when seen up close, were actual people who jumped out of the towers. I realize now that explaining this in words sounds a little more powerful than the images in front of me. They seemed so deadpan; no emotion was conjured up even though the subject was intense. The people falling were so small that one couldn’t see any expression, just a faint shape of human figures falling. There was no smoke or fire anywhere in the frame. I don’t know what the artist was trying to say because I didn’t see any artist statement (maybe I walked past it?). It is possible that the artist purposely didn’t want any horrendous scene of fire and terror. Maybe they just wanted a simple and small glimpse at a huge, historic occurrence. But I’m just making that up to try to make sense of it all. If anybody else goes to see the show, you should let me know what you think.

Risa Morales - Abelardo Morell

The Universe Next Door

At the Southwest School of Arts and Crafts, there is an exhibit currently running by Abelardo Morell. The work on display is primarily composed of images that were created using a camera obscura, but there are othr formats included, as well. The body of work is a mixture of incredibly large silver gelatin prints and pigment printed images.
I was quite impressed by his print quality on his silver gelatin images, I know that getting images to come out in such a large scale can be a challenge. His print quality is such that you don't notice the grain (which generally indicates to me with images of this scale that he shoots with large format film), and that you don't get stuck on issues with exposure... instead you are drawn into the subject matter at hand.
And the subject! Unlike many other gallery showings I've seen, this one enchanted me. Mr. Morell addresses his subject with wonder and, at times, a large degree of playfulness. He seems to be fascinated by light and perception, as all of his images address these topics in some way. His camera obscura work presents an alternate reality overlaying the "true" one. The photos are taken of the inside of a room, with only a small pinhole or lens allowing light to project across the walls, the images that of the world outside... but upside down. The idea is very similar to that of a pinhole camera, just generally on a much larger scale. The two images overlay each other, each speaking volumes about the location, and giving a singular perspective on that moment in time. The size of the works makes one feel as if one was almost there, in this moment and space, the magic of the moment deftly captured by his lens.
He also has a series within the show of images that are all taken within a gilt photo frame. The things shown inside this frame are picturesque landscapes, with suble things here and there that slowly cause the viewer to realize that the photo frame was actually placed in these environments (such as grasses that overlay the frame, or are bunching up around it). Upon careful inspection, one also notices that the only thing in these iamges that is truly tack sharp, is the picture frame itself. Comparing these images with his other works, one realizes that Mr. Morell has no problems getting the desired object in focus, and one can only assume that the distinction is intentional, and causes one to shift one's perspective about what the photo is really about... the landscape or the image?
His repeated unique perspectives in his photography show a playful wonder about the world, whether by framing a shot of an antique portrait to show that the subject is examining the corner of his own frame, or by positioning books so that the printed portraits within interactw ith each other in a meaningful way. Is is this perspective that captured me, and causes me to wish to see more of his works. I believe that he is actually coming to the SWSAC to discuss his images, but unfortunately I think the session is already full, otherwise I'd be there to hear his own perspective on things.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Brittany Gates - Josefa Mulaire

Sorry, this is a day late. No excuses, I just flat out forgot...

I took Libby's advice from her comment on my entry on Judith Golden, and looked at Josefa Mulaire's work.

Josefa also works with collage, among other things.

Her collages are portraits of her family members. But, not all of the images in the collages are body parts of the person they represent. In the picture I've posted, she has done a portrait of her son. I lot of the images make up his face and body, but a lot of them are crayon scribbles. I assume these are drawings done by her son, and I think it's a fun idea to include them in his portrait. I also really like that she included his shadow to the right.

She has two more collages up on her site of other family members. These ones are of adults, and so some of the images show things that are a little more explicit. One portrait of a woman has an image of a black eye, as well as rashes and injuries.

Even if these are a little uncomfortable to look at, they are really interesting. They are not your typical portraits and they allow you a little more insight into the subject's life.

I encourage you to look at her work, you can find it at her site here.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

9-26-09 Ashley Olmos

just recently i have been looking at many artist and the ones that interest me the most are the ones that have a process to their work. i enjoying knowing what they did to get their result even though its like pulling back the curtain and revealing the wizard. one artist that i have seen in the past but always come back to is ann hamilton. i have discovered some images of hers that are pin hole photos but the camera is made to fit into her mouth. the idea of having a camera like this is crazy to think about...i would have never been able to even fathom anything like this. the images she has with this camera are portraits but they are great to look at. the images are not all clear but the process intrigues me to look at them longer.

09/26/09 Jacquelyn Nelson "Julian Cardona"

This week at the Blue Star Arts complex I was drawn into the main galley by the appealing black and white photographs of Julian Cardona. Under initial inspection and personal critique I noticed that the photographs were reminiscent of pictures that are commonly scene in today’s media. After walking through the gallery and taking in the entire portfolio I started to understand the subjects and what Julian was trying to achieve. Julian photographs a lot of subjects. My initial thoughts were that they were somewhat random, but it all fell into place when the entire collection was taken into consideration. Julian seems to try and capture life in action and subjects near the boarder performing everyday functions. Julian’s angle of capture is somewhat skewed from the “standard” which makes the work interesting. The interesting angles provide a different look into the subject and what they are performing, whether it is people hurting emotionally or a devastating landfill. The shots of human subjects are moving considering the emotions that are keyed by the pose of the subject and the environment they are in. There are some photos of mass devastation in a house, that are similar to what was produced by the media during Hurricane Katrina and the Los Angles Fires of this summer, these bring out a sympathetic appeal for the audience that has seen a devastating disaster first hand. In conclusion I believe that his work was very successful and would definitely recommend viewing his work. If his work doesn’t appeal the first time thorough, give it a second chance and try and understand the deeper meaning the artist is trying to convey through the photographs.

9/26 Albert Sanchez

While looking at Ray Metzger’s photos online, I stumbled across Jeff Zaruba. Zaruba shoots a variety of styles including architecture, land/cityscapes, and abstract photography. All the photos on his website are in black and white, with a majority of them having soft focus. Usually when I see soft focus in photos I cringe and immediately think of poorly taken glamour shots usually found in a mall-like atmosphere. Not the case in this situation. Zaruba’s use of soft focus adds a dreamy yet mysterious quality to his photos that makes me stop and think. I’m not exactly sure what it made me think about. I just sat, stared, and let my mind wander. The soft focus distracts from the typical landscape and architecture shots that every photographer has taken at some point in their career and gives it a fresh new (well at least to me) feel. His abstract photos are, from what I can tell, still architecture and vegetation. Soft focus is still used and the objects, mainly the vegetation, in the photos are still representational. The fact that you can still decipher what the object is doesn’t bother me. I’ve been called out on it before, so I know some people don’t like that style. I’m not opposed to it. The photos are still well composed and that’s what keeps them interesting for me. All in all, I found Zaruba’s work to be enjoyable and enlightening. His use of soft focus has intrigued me and I just may utilize it in the near future.

9/26 Courtney Smyth

Football still keeps me constantly busy, but this week I found a relatively new gallery close to home. I was able to pop in before grocery shopping. The name of the gallery is Bismarck Studios. They are located sort of by the Costco near 1604 and 281. Here's a link to the website . This month, in honor of Photoseptembre, they are showing several photographers. The photographers they are showing are commercial photographers, but the work shown is what they say is their creative side. The photographers featured were Clem Spalding, Erika Barrientes, and Jason Y'Tuarte. All of Spaldings shots were of individual swimmers at swimming competitions. There were a couple of soft focus shots that intrigued me. Jason Y'Tuarte showed a couple shots of D.C., one of Blue Star, one of Venice Beach, and one of a baby that was reminiscent of Anne Geddes. The one I found most interesting was the Blue Star piece. It has an eerie quality to it. Erika Barrientes had several themes: San Antonio street scene, close up flower, and several that focused on a man with prosthetic legs. These I liked best. I particularly liked the composition of the one entitled Freedom Isn't Free. It shows a close up of the man's prosthetic "knee" which has some sort of tight fitting cover on it. The cover is full of American images including and eagle and flags. I usually don't really appreciate work that is so in your face patriotic, but the composition makes it work. And the message seems pretty clear...this man lost his legs for our freedom.

Apryl Corbin 9/25 Paul Preece

To kick off my weekend I decided to go to Barnes and Noble's to look at the new books and magazines to see what some of the photographers are shooting and doing these days. I came across many amazing photographs, but the one that caught my eye was a series of photos by Paul Preece. He had taken some photos of the city when it was raining.
Instead of seeing your normal everyday rain spots with figures behind them, you could see blurry images that just kept you looking at the photographs. The images were blurry because of the rain but there was still enough information to know what was going on in the picture. It was a sort of distortion that didn't bother me. Preece took a picture that would have been boring and lifeless and added some oomph. Preece also made a point to blur the images with a purpose. You could tell that it wasn't because he came across it on accident. It was a meaningful distortion in which his work really benefited from.

**I can not find any information on this guy on the i net so I will have to go back and get the title of the magazine I was looking at...and possibly some pictures too!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

9/24/09 Monica Garcia: Photographer's Forum

I’m getting a heads up on my blog this week because I’m going out of town and rather do it now then over the weekend. This week as I was in the darkroom working on my cyanotype prints there were some copies of the Photographer’s Forum and decided to read while I waited on the timer. In the magazine there is an article titled Vernacular Photography: Images of the Everyday by Claire Sykes. Basically its informing us about how pictures from the mid 20th century are making a come back but they are not professionally taken picture. We are talking about vernacular pictures, daily snap shots of everyday life that people use to take weather it was family portraits, vacation, or anything really. Several artist and historians are fascinated with these even though some maybe out of focus or totally random. There have been a few exhibits that feature these vernacular photos. Other argue that it is not really art and that it gives no credit to the really photographer. The argument that is made though is that even though we may not know who they belong to once they are left out and turned over for the public then it’s really a free for all, finders keepers. Last year during an artist speaker that we had in our class the artist actually gave us a gift and it was vernacular pictures. He said that he collects them any where he goes. They are pretty easy to get such as antique shops, E-bay, and virtually anywhere. Some are starting to find out that they are actually worth money. I found this interesting and the pictures in the magazine are fun to look at. I would recommend for you all to check it out when yall get a chance to. Until next time!

9/24/09 Stephanie Abraham: "Alapi'i, Series 2" by Viriyapunts

Today I met a friend for lunch at Silo, the Alamo Heights location, not only to try the food, but also to check out the photographs by John Keoni Viriyapunts. The Hawaiian photographer has work there as part of Fotoseptiembre. The title of his series is called “Alapi’i, Series 2.” The title, appropriately Hawaiian, directly translates to “Steps and Stairs” in English. I really enjoyed his work. It was totally different than anything else I had gone to look at this semester. While his area of focus is not what I personally am interested in pursuing, I really appreciated the design aspect of his work. Each photograph incorporated stairs that from an architectural standpoint were contemporary in that they were made with several different building materials and rich in color. That is probably the first thing I noticed. The vivid colors grabbed my attention and I moved in for a closer look. It was then that I noticed the careful placement of lines within the composition. Viriyapunts photographs are more about lines, their variations, and their weights than about immediately being able to identify the structure being photographed. The lines and shapes created by the architecture and the shadows cast upon an array of textures seemed planned. Viriyapunts seems to be an expert at envisioning his photograph before he clicks the shutter button. To me, each photograph is recognized first as a piece of art before the staircase becomes apparent.

P.S. The lunch menu was affordable…the Portabella Melt…DELICIOUS!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bianca Pitman- Julius Gribou 9/23

The RADIUS hosts pieces from the Joan Grona Gallery upon its walls and I was there for a meeting so I was able to witness this show in person. Right now a photographer, who previously served as the founding Dean of College of Architecture, the UTSA Executive Vice Provost Julius Gribou's Tuscan series are being showcased. The images by Gribou are that of a recent trip to Tuscany, Italy. All of the pieces are landscape images, many are aerial pictures of farmed lands. Gribou seems to enjoy capturing rythm and repitition in his compositions. I do enjoy the composition and the subject matter. However, I was slightly disappointed with the digital prints as the color range was off and they printed with unnatural color and noise. There were a few things that seemed "off" about the pictures and when you get close to the print you see this. I am not sure who curated this show but there were things that should have been addressed. The images were sandwiched between plexiglass and scotch tape was holding the pieces in. I am sure that this affected the impression of the images on the people who viewed them. It left you feeling unsatisfied---like, you know they could have been presented better. The actual composition of the images were successful as they conveyed a rich sense of cultural atmosphere within the rythm of the landscapes. Aside from the short-comings of the presentation the pieces were interesting and nice to view from a distance. The RADIUS can be located at 106 Auditorium Circle downtown. They also have abstract paintings on synthetic paper by Cornelia White Swann that are extremely interesting! You should check them both out!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

9/22/09 Stephanie Abraham: Luisa Wheeler at UTSA

Last week I viewed the "Far Places Close" show at the UTSA gallery. I went to see the work of Luisa Wheeler. The series of photographs she exhibited were that of a trip to India where she accompanied a friend. I found this work interesting because it seemed to be an inviting journalistic photo essay of daily life in this region of India. Each photograph seemed dramatic and stirred my emotions. I think the photographs were most effective in creating emotion because Wheeler seemed to capture people at a distance so as not to interupt them or their environment. It seems likely that most of the subjects did not know that they were being photographed. Something else that should be pointed out is the way that she is able to document ordinary urban society and make it appear unordinary. She photographed the every day situations that many people would fail to even acknowledge. I also enjoyed the humor in her work. The photograph, for example, of the women carrying large bundles of grass across the city street seems to reference that of the Beatles as they crossed Abbey Road.
Wheeler is also able to contrast her urban images with images containing a more rural backdrop. Overall, her documentation of India was beautiful. Vivid color and the people in their daily environment create dramatic images.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

09/19/09 Jacquelyn Nelson

Last week when I went to go see Libby’s work in the Satellite Space I couldn’t help but notice the multiple pictures of the same building in the next exhibit. The pictures were of “re-inhabited Circle K’s” taken by Paho Mann. This was a very clever idea for another sequence project. The pictures themselves weren’t very interesting but after reading the artist statement and understanding his purpose they became quite humorous. What I mean by that is what these shop owners decided to make these places. For example one is a trashy looking market whose main window advertisement is beer, and then you have a tuxedo retail store. I like how he has the same horizon line in all the photos and all the pictures in his sequence follow a similar composition.
He also had a few larger pieces of work that were a compilation of photographs meticulously put together to make a grand presentation. The majority were atmospheric perspectives of subdivisions with cookie cutter houses. The most interesting though was the one of a two-story house. The angle was really nice, and from a distance the color scheme of all the pictures were appealing to the eye. When you got closer to this collage of photographs it’s hard not to notice a repetition of pictures. Now it’s totally understandable because of the size of this work that he would need to repeat some of the photographs, but if I were Paho Mann, I would have taken the more challenging approach and made the composition without any repeating work. I think it would have made the work a bit more unique and somewhat harder to imitate. Overall I think this presentation was successful and well thought out.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

9-19-09 ashley olmos

I have been told to look at the work of brassai. This is to look at the subject matter he uses. What I have seen are night photos and they seem tohave caught people in a specific moment. I night scenes give a dramatic overtone. They seem dreary where the viewer cgets a creepy feeling. What I enjoy about these the photos i've seen they are well printing...even thought there are night shots you are able to see a lot of light. This is due to the lights in the location. I initially was curious because of some of the situations in the photos...like the men with women in hotels. It was interesting to view images of someone watching others considering that I'm interested in this types of subject matter. The idea that he tells a story with others situations like catching them in an act. I love that he could be able to capture this stuff. I've been thinking of the kind of mind frame one must be in when doing this or if it is an impulsive act. When I would even pretend to do this I was just worried the whole time whether I could get caught. I also enjoy the comic sense of these pictures because they seem comical from another persons perspective to see this act/moment in time. I am gonna give this subject matter a try and hope I won't wimp out.

Roadtrip by Barbara Justice 9/19

So every year about this time my parents go on a roadtrip to Colorado, and I meet them because well it's fun and I love being with them for about four days (no longer). We meet up in Albuquerque then drive north to Durango. They like to hang out in the hotel because it's old and historic so I sling a camera on each shoulder and take off. This time this is what I shot: buildings, bicycles, signage, landscape, vehicles, people, the usual vacation stuff. What I really had in mind was this: duplicating one picture taken by Ansel Adams in Silverton Colorado. I know Adams is talked about so much and you can pretty much buy his posters at any mall, but I love his photographs and I really just wanted to see what he was looking at in person, get his perspective and really just look around and say to myself "so Ansel Adams was here". Finding this spot would be kind of like a treasure hunt and I would know it when I found it. Silverton is a small mining town north of Durango, population 500. We went today (Saturday 9/19) and because the town i so small I pretty much staked the spot out within 30 minutes, thanks to the church steeple I used as my landmark. I took the picture, I studied the forms, and looked around and wondered what he liked about this shot. I wondered where he had his large format set up and if it was a big production, I thought and looked and studied. I snapped a few then moved on. The pic I have posted here is his photo. I plan on developing and printing mine within the coming week.

Ok. I also discovered a gallery that is just photographs called Open Shutter Contemporary Fine Art. www.openshuttergallery.com The current show is photographer Steve McCurry. His most famous photo is of a young Afghani girl who is wearing a red sari type robe with piercing green eyes. This was on the cover of National Geographic in 1985 and is one of the most amazing images ever. His images are all about color and meaning. Notice almost every photo has complementary colors which make them so inviting to look at. This gallery is doing a show in Novemeber called "The Alternative Process" so we will be able to look at the images online hopefully when that opens. One of the most interesting things about this show besides the work, was about the artist. To get these images of people in Afghanistan, he would dress in their native gear and sew rolls of film into the material of what he was wearing. Tourists weren't allowed into the county, because it was rebel controlled. So basically he risked his life to take these photos of the natives during this time, and that is nuts dedication to get the perfect image.

Ok. Done for now.

9/19/09 Brittany Gates - David Hockney

For this weeks blog, I decided to go back and look at an artist that I have been inspired by for awhile. David Hockney's work with photo collage is what gave me the idea to do the portrait collages I have been working on since last semester.

I love his play on space and proportion, and have had a lot of fun doing it in my own work. He has two different types of collages he does. Some of them are composite Polaroid collages, and some are regular photographs. In his Polaroid pieces, his final images are always rectangular and even. In his other collages, their is no real final shape. The final pieces just kind of end when he wants them to. I know a lot of people are bothered by that fact, but I kind of like it.

The perspective of the final image is so warped anyway, that I think the misshapen outline of the collection of photos only adds to its oddness. In a good way.

Going back and looking at Hockney's work reminds me why I started on my collage projects and what I love about them. I think we need that sometimes. As artists, it's easy to get frustrated with our work and to sometimes forget why it is that we started it in the first place. We should make sure to take time once in awhile to reflect and remind ourselves, "Oh yeah, that's why I'm an artist, because I have fun doing this."

This is usually hardest during final portfolio week.

9/19/09 Kraig Van Winkle "Micheal McCarthy"

So today I looked up photography artists who have used the cyanotype technique. Micheal McCarthy seemed to have the largest gallery of cyanotype prints. Most of this technique in his works deal with portraiture. He explores different means to portray a portrait of the human form with many close ups, blurred imagery and full body poses on cyanotype prints. His most recent work with the cyanotype technique can be seen here. The large scale portraiture show movement and energy with in the forms. Interesting back story to his insperation behind these large scale cyanotype portraitures. Hope you all enjoy his work and good luck with redoing the cyanotype prints

9/19/09 Monica Garcia--- Far Close Places

So this week I was able to attend the gallery at school. As we all know it is titled Far Close Places and has the works of Luisa Wheeler, Brenda Davidson-Shaddox and Thomas Neff. I started off by viewing the work of Luisa Wheeler. Her journey was through most of India. What I enjoyed the most about her photos were the lush colors in the clothing that the culture wears. In her picture I feel as if I understand the culture and their way of living. She was able to capture their work ethics and what they do on a daily bases. My favorite was Tuesday Mornings seeing the ladies run across the road with what looked like hay over there head was really interesting.

As I walked my way through the gallery I came across the works of Brenda Davidson-Shaddox. Her work was mainly portraits of people from one country but different tribes if I remember reading that correctly. She goes at least once a year to continue with this project. What I found interesting about hers was probably the large scale. The people are kind of in your face and say hey look at me. My favorite from her series was Chief’s Wife; the smoke that she blows out gives the picture a little oomph and character as well.

Last but not least I walked around to Thomas Neff’s series the black and white photos (yay!). On his trip to Asia we has able to take two kinds of series, as one start off his first half has to do with China and street life. These were amazing, I love seeing people in action from different cultures it gives me a sense of who they are. My favorite though oddly enough was the one without people, it was Grain Sacks. I like this one because of the lighting it hit everything so well and I was just mesmerized by it. His second half dealt with his trek through Japan. These were all very nice and dealt with the scenery around him and nature. I can’t wait until the day I get travel and hopeful take amazing pictures like his. Well that’s it for now folks…until next time!

9/19/09 Courtney Smyth

Another week of all football, all the time. This week coming up I hope to get to a couple of new galleries around where I live....a little too late for this weeks blog, though.
I looked up Michael Kenna, another one of Libby's suggestions. His work is mostly done with medium format cameras. He sends his film to a lab to get processed, but does all the printing himself. He says, "The negative is raw material, which a skilled and creative printmaker can mold in a thousand different ways." He shoots primarily night time landscapes with very long exposures (up to 10 hours). The result is beautiful black and white photographs that almost glow from within. He also has some shots of industrial, architectural and street scenes. They all have that glowing quality. His perspective on seemingly every day scenes is amazing! Often, when I view art, I wonder if the work is something I would hang in my home. If it is something I could look at every day and still love it. The answer in this case is absolutely!

Apryl Corbin 9/19 Spiral Jetta

I have been reading this book for my contemporary art history class. It is called Spiral Jetta by Erin Hogan. I'm sure most of you have read it if you took Johnson. I thought that it was going to be your boring ho hum forced class readings, but oddly enough, I ended up being really inspired by it! I really love the way she just took off on a whim to go visit all of these really well known art pieces. She went on the journey by herself and she really discovers a lot about herself and her perceptions of art seen in books along the way. I don't want to give away the book because all of you should read it. It is really inspiring and just encouraged me to look at my art not as the artist, but as the viewer. How do others perceive my work? How is my piece going to be interpreted by photos and writings on it? This is just always something very good to think about as an artist.

Bianca Pitman 9/19- Elliott Erwitt

I have just found an amazing photographer! I spent about two hours looking at all of his works that I could possibly find. His name is Elliott Erwitt and he takes some great pictures. He has been at it for a long time, his images will give away his era and they are so interesting. My favorite images are from his snapshots, the ones of children and his phototoons. The image posted above is so beautiful and says so much for me. I love how graceful the jumper looks but if you look behind him there is a couple that is fighting with the wind (their umbrellas broke!). The Eiffel Tower is in the distance and it just says "love"--I mean it's Paris, right? It is wet and foggy yet there is love in the air. Erwitt's other image is of a child placing his face against the broken glass of a car's windshield. It just so happens to cover one of his eyes and gives the image so much more information. The picture was taken when times were extremely tough and maybe the child would look at the world through a warped and broken perspective. I would think that maybe the child would see the world around him in that manner. You guys have to check out his "flicks" under his portfolio tab...they are image series that he has made into little movies! They are really good and would help us with ideas for our projects. I am excited that I found this photographer (I don't recall any of his images being shown to me before)and hope that I am influenced and inspired to make some great works for myself. Honestly, I am glad that I have been doing so much research of different photographers and their styles because I felt as though I wasn't really "seeing" my surrounding anymore---I was just taking pictures just to take pictures and not to "say" something. I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Check out his website www.elliotterwitt.com or google him and tons will come up.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Franco Mondini Ruiz by Jenelle Esparza 9-18-09

9/18/09 Franco Ruiz
Today in Leslie Raymond’s contemporary studio class, we met Franco Ruiz who is a local San Antonio artist. We went to his studio on the west side and I was surprised to see that his studio was his great grandmother’s house (which he refurbished with beautiful furniture and paint) along side another house next door. He uses the large yard to paint and create other works of art. He had several small canvases prepped with different designs of acrylic paint all ready for us to use at our disposal. He had us all pick color palettes, brushes, and a canvas each and paint our own images on them. He later “collaborated” with us all and added his own images to ours and signed, dated, and titled each of them. Interesting huh? It was a day I won’t forget because he welcomed the entire class (20 or so people) into his domain and fed us Mexican food, and pan dulce (sweet bread) and cookies with coffee and things, so it was nice. Both houses were little galleries. Each one has pieces of art from other established artists (such as Jeff Koons) and other S.A. artists as well. Anyone can look him up on google to see his work, but since I don’t have one particular piece to talk about, I’ll talk about the paintings we all collaborated on. The one above was titled “girl in a swirl” and he added the girl figure to the center of my swirl design. I’m not a painter but it was a great spontaneous exercise that made the visit to his studio one that I won’t forget. If you all get a chance to look at his work online, he works with fake food that he sculpts himself and uses them with other small sculptures of people. His work involves the Mexican American theme and the Hispanic culture that evolved here in S.A. Food items are a big part of his work because of the cultural difference in food and how it differentiates from culture to culture. He published a book on his work filled with fictional short stories along side his sculptures entitled “High Pink: Tex Mex Fairy Tales.” He adds humor to his art, which attracts more people from all cultures to his shows. He did this cake series that narrate someone’s life. Each layer is a round canvas with a scene from an individual’s life. They’re called culture cakes. They are functional because the viewer has to pick up each layer to see the next so his work is very interactive, colorful and humorous yet conceptual.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

9/17/2009 Risa - Belinda Davidson-Shaddox

I know this is a bit late for last week's entry, but I figured better late than not at all. I went to the UTSA 1604 campus art gallery on 2nd floor of the art/music building. There the works of three artists were on display, one of whom was Belinda Davidson-Shaddox. Her featured works were portraits of various peoples. Each image was very well printed, with care taken in the presentation. The color in the photos took inot consideration the "costume" (or outfit) of the subject, and were quite rich, providing a wonderfully striking visual. The images were fairly standard in terms of com portrait composition, largely headshots with some upper torso. The people that were photographed, though had character and life, each individual and unique, captured in wonderful detail in each of the images. In my opinion this was a successful show, as the subjects of the photos were not an entirely foreign concept (many photographers like to take images of wrinkly old men!), but managed to capture at least one element of personality within them. I think I might have liked to see more images from this artist, but I understand the space constraints of the gallery, so I suppose I will just have to wait for her next show!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bianca Pitman 09/16---Downtown Campus Show

As I was strolling through the downtown campus on my way to class I noticed that there was a photography show in one of the gallery rooms. This photo show consisted of grade school photographers from elementary through highschool level. I do not recall the youngest age that was represented but the oldest was 18 years old. I was definitely impressed by some of the images that they captured. There was an image of ducks and geese that were slightly out of focus but it made me flash back to my childhood years of chasing the ducks near the pond. I enjoyed the composition of the image and since it was slightly out of focus it looked like a memory. There were many floral images that were both beautiful and yet monotonous. I saw a picture of a white entry door laying abandoned in the grass and though there were some issues with the composition and style- the idea was fantastic. One of the winning images, 2nd place I believe, was caught as the photgrapher lay in the tall weeds and snapped the image looking up at the sky. I enjoyed the fine lines and angles of perspective that this image touched on. This show was really interesting and I am glad I caught it. I wish that when I was younger I had had the chance to try photography. I didn't even begin my journey into this amazing art until I was in college. I find that often times my son or daughter will snap a picture with no pre-existing ideas or intentions and it seems like the image that results is so...true. I think that the idea of handing a child a camera and letting them explore and snap pictures at will--will bring out the innocence and purity in what they see in the world. Sure the images may be blurred, out of focus and pointed at their untied shoe in the mud---but in that moment...they caught a simple definition of childhood. I want to do that. :) I guess I have my mentors right here in my house. I shall watch and learn. haha.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

i was able to take a look at the tom neff show on campus. i have to say that i was pretty impressed by the photos up. i really enjoyed looking at the photos up close. i know with some black and white photos information can get lost in the blacks but this was not the case with these photos. when i was viewing the images i could still see a lot of the details in the shadows. i haven't had the chance to use a larger format camera but i would like to learn because of all the information they can retain. he printed the photos well...for instance the trees' wrinkles seem deep. what works for the photo is that your eyes travel all over the place especially since you can still see the details in the darks....it makes you wanna look past the tree and see what is behind it. i enjoyed spending a good amount of time looking at these photos.

9/13/09 Jenelle w/Photo Reader essay

Unfortunately I was unable to attend any show/ outing that had to do with photography this weekend. I was out of town. I did get a chance to read an essay from The Photography Reader by Roberta McGrath on pg. 327, Chapter 30 entitled Re-Reading Edward Weston. This part of the book was about “the photographic gaze,” meaning the gaze of the camera and what it (or what the photographer) chooses to “gaze” at. McGrath chose Weston and his photographic nudes to discuss issues of feminism and the underlying psychoanalysis of men and the image of the female body, particularly in the psychoanalysis of Weston. The nude has become a staple of photography and the image of female over male figures has been the source of many arguments; however, Weston’s portfolio consists mainly of the female figure and McGrath discusses why this is. She believes that in Weston’s work one can read issues of the unconscious human mind; issues concerning the never-ending desire to fill this unconscious gap and with women. Even his landscapes and vegetables look like the female figure. In his published diary entitled “Day Books” he describes how women fertilize his work. Interestingly, she brings up psychoanalysis or struggle within ourselves; she believes this struggle can be found in Weston’s images; that he, like others, is born already looking for substance to fill in the blanks and Weston found this substance in women and photography. Great read, I’ll finish the other essays today. Very, very sorry this blog was late but I hope you all get a chance to read this essay. --jenelle

9/12/09 Stephanie Abraham: Ricardo Romo at Witte

I noticed on the Fotoseptiembre website this week that Dr. Ricardo Romo, President of UTSA, had his photographs on display at the Witte Museum this month. I found that information to be surprising and was very interested to see what his work was all about. The photos exhibited were entitled “Small Town Texas.” I learned that Romo, a historian, and his wife, a sociologist, drove through more than 75 towns during the past year to photograph the remnants of a fading way of life. A letter from Romo at the Witte said he aimed to spend time appreciating and understanding the small communities one would pass through on their way to a bigger city of their destination and document what life was like. While I think the idea behind these photographs is awesome, I’m not sure that the photos really tell a story of what life was like in these towns. While most were still interesting, the photos were primarily lacking people in them. The few that did incorporate people involved them standing in front of structures for the photograph instead of going about their daily lives. I think it is hard to document the essence of a place without including something of the people who inhabit it. I felt like many of the photos were good and all remained on his topic but the work as a WHOLE was somewhat unconnected and failed to tell the story of his personal journey through Texas.

Sorry guys for the poor image quality. I only had my phone with me when I went to view.

P.S. Libby I emailed this to you last night before midnight because I misplaced the username and password and tried forever to figure it out. Someone in class got back to me this morning so I am posting now. Sorry.

Kraig Van Winkle 9/12/09

Recently I viewed works by Sally Mann. She began photography in the late 70's after being inspired by her father's 5x7 camera. She would take pictures of classmates and her school construction. After college she would write several books that would follow her photographs. Her theme in the 80's and early 90's were the female figure. She would take pictures of models and her children. Later in her career she would start focusing on landscaping. Continuing with her surrealistic theme as in her female photographs, she depict the landscapes with the theme of death and decay. She has collections in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art,Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston, and in many other museums. She was also named "America's Best Photographer" of 2001 by Time Magazine. Worth checking out!

9/12 /9 Albert Sanchez

This week I looked through the work of a few of the photographers recommended to us in class. I usually write them down and never check out their work, but I’ve decided to change my evil ways. Also, I’ve been in a bit of a funk and am hoping to find some inspiration. One of the artists’ I viewed was Jody Ake. His revival of the almost dead ambrotype makes me wonder why we ever left this practice. The images hold a very vintage and uniquely mysterious quality. Each photo is given character and individuality by its “flaws”. (Brush strokes, burnt edges, etc.) The imperfections only drew me closer and I found myself with my nose almost touching my monitor; trying to soak it all in. When I viewed his emotionless gazing portraits, I felt as if I was seeing a side of the person not usually seen by the world. I’m not sure how to explain it, but their penetrating eyes look through you with an awkward conviction. I am now very interested in this process and wonder if it can be recreated digitally.
Another artists’ work I viewed was that of Uta Barth. Her work is very simplistic and bright. I actually did work similar to her “out of focus” work last semester, but concentrated primarily on light. Viewing her work as given me insight to this concept and I may just revisit this style of shooting.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Edward Steichen- Jennifer Williams (sorry, forgot name)

This week I want to share with you all one of my greatest inspirations and one of my photographic heroes, Edward Steichen. This Master of Photography was actually a painter at in the early 20th century. He later, along with Alfred Steiglitz (a close friend at the time) became an important part of the Pictorialist Movement- in which photographers emphasized the "beauty" in a photograph, rather than just a reproduction of an image. The Pond-Moonlight, one of his early pictorialistist works, sold in 2006 for the highest priced photograph ever sold at an auction up to that time. Together Steichen and Stieglitz drove this movement, until after World War II, when Steichen moved back toward straight photography. It is clear, looking at this change in his work that the war affected the way he saw the world, and the way he chose to represent it.

Steichen served as Director of the Naval Photographic Institute, and was an important part of documenting the war. He became Director of Photography at the New York's Museum of Modern Art. He was recognized in his own lifetime as one of the great photographers of the 20th century. He curated the exhibition The Family of Man in 1955, in which some of his own works were included. This exhibition included hundreds of photographs from over two hundred photographers with the intention of showing the humanity that connects us all. It was one of the greatest achievements of his life, and has been turned into a book which has sold more than 4 million copies.

But let's get around to the reason I chose to talk about Edward Steichen, and his relevance to my own work. There is a definite point in Steichen's career when he began to reinvent himself. He began shooting fashion photography, and advertisements. He shot matches arranged in an interesting way to be used as inspiration for a clothing designer. He captured the elegance of the time period and the growing independence of women in his fashion portraiture. According to Alan Riding of the New York times, he made his name as the first modern fashion photographer. His friend Stieglitz shunned him for this, calling him an "ad-man," a dirty word at that time. Purists like Stieglitz felt Steichen was selling out to commercialism, and that because he was getting paid, the work was not "art." Steichen, in the other hand, felt that these photographs were an extension of his own aesthetic vision. When Conde Naste offered to remove his name from fashion images he refused. I really look up to Steichen for taking a stand on this issue. He realized that just because one takes money for photography, it doesn't mean it can't be art. He said it best himself.... even Michelangelo like to be paid well for his work. (Riding, The New York Times).

In The News by Barbara Justice

Two photographers have been brought to my attention because of seeing them in the news. The first is named Willy Ronis who passed away today or yesterday. His images, along the same lines of Atget, document the everyday happenings of French people in the city, at home, walking, eating, drinking. Lately I have become interested in documentary photography and questioning how it and fine art can be classified as the same thing. Maybe these photographers like Ronis, Atget, Abbot and others were documenting for the sake of keeping a memory or data bank of the times they lived in. How and when did photography become fine art? It was invented to capture a moment as a keepsake. Well if anyone has a chance, look at his images. This image here is his photograph. The light, composition, subject matter make me think that he was thinking fine art and maybe relating this image to classic paintings.

Another photographer I have been hearing alot about lately is Annie Leibowitz because of her bankruptcy and rights to her images. She is awsome. I am biased because I love her work and her life story and her beginnings at Rolling Stone and her attitude. She rocks. But...selling the rights to her photographs? She must feel terrible, I hope she wins this battle. She has a great book called Annie Leibowitz: A Photographers Life 1990-2005 which is definately worth making a trip to the library for.

I went back to Joan Grona Gallery and spent more time with Samandari's photos. I looked at them each. I looked at them as a group, I stared them down so they would say something back to me and they did. I didn't focus on one because they were all equal to me. Not meaning this to be taken wrong, but once I saw one, I saw all of them. The imagery within the imagery is what told the story. The figures in each were helpless and hopeful. Really I was thinking how much more feeling I would have taken from them had they been silver-gelatin prints and not digital prints. I wanted to see the artist put as much emotion into his printing methods as he did his imagery. Plus that border thing didn't add anything to them either.

I was able to attend Libby's artist talk on Thursday at Satellite Space. Libby's story about her childhood and growing up as a tomboy really made me think about what a relateable artist she is. Sometimes I see artists trying to create their ideas and imagery, but really these things can come from personal experiences and life. Libby gives viewers a hint of what her personal experience is through her images. It makes me think of the art and the artist as one component, not two seperate components.

9/12/09 Brittany Gates - Judith Golden

On the day we brought our past work into class, Libby suggested I look at a photographer named Judith Golden. So, that day I went to her website; which is very easy to navigate; and looked at her work. Since I did not go to any shows this week, I thought I might as well blog about my thoughts on her work.

As soon as I entered the gallery on Judith's website, I saw her photo collages. I admit that I went straight for them, instead of slowly looking through ALL her work (which is what you SHOULD do). Some of you might remember that I have been doing some work with collages. What I really liked about hers was the fact that not only does she put pieces of images together to create one large one, she also adds small photos to frame the large image. They bring more to the overall piece by adding texture and bringing out little details in the larger image.

This is an idea I had thought of before when working on my own collages, but never experimented with. It's nice to see that Judith has made it work very well in her pieces.

Her other work is just as interesting. She does a lot with mixed media. She has done a lot of portraits that not only include the model, but also something that represents them or their work. For example, she did a series in the nineties of portraits of artists, layered with an image of their work.

She has her artist's statement in her "About the Artist" section. Here is a part I particularly liked:

"I make images because they are my reason to be, because I must."

I think this is something that we can all relate to.

Visit her site! http://www.judithgolden.com/index.htm

9/12/09 Monica Garcia- Small Town Texas by Richardo Romo

As promised I went to an exhibit this time around. I was able to go to the Witte Museum and see Ricardo Romo’s series Small Town Texas. Some of us may know Mr. Romo as President of UTSA, knowing that fact I was interested in seeing what he put together. Before I saw the show I had an expectation that I would love the show because I am from a small town in West Texas. As I walked through the show and observed all the pieces I wasn’t feeling a connection with any photo. I felt as if there were any other pictures someone would take on a road trip. I wasn’t sure if it was the set up or maybe even thinking that the picture would look better in black and white only to give it that old feeling. The one I liked the most was Alpine-Ft. Davis this one picture I felt captured the essences of small town and the way of life. This one read complete because it had people in them and seemed to work well as a whole. The others I think were missing the people factor. Don’t get me wrong I love old building and what not but in all the other collages seeing buildings alone don’t read culture or way of life. I read them just as old buildings. I walked around quite a bit to make sure I wasn’t missing anything or maybe just looking at the work wrong. I did find some picture that I liked because of the way they were shot. Mr. Romo did state and I quote “I regret that I never really stopped to see what life was like in these small communities.” I think that is why I was expecting more because I wanted to see “life” and small town charm.

9.12.09 Amy Schueling Artful Blogging Article

Hey everyone, I found another article in the magazine Artful Blogging. In the August/September/October of 2009 edition. Sandra Evertson writes about her experiences with old cameras. This woman bought a box of old cameras and to her dismay found out the they were missing parts and she could not use them. As a true artist does she found a way to use them anyway. Instead of taking pictures with them she took pictures of them. While cleaning them she noticed figures showing up on the lenses. Old tin type photos were shining through the lens of each camera. Sandra Evertson tells a story of eeriness and wonder. She says that she has found a virtual doorway to the past. She sees these photos as the souls of the people that lived back then peeking through to our realm. Now I know this may sound a little strange but if you stop and really think about it in a quantum physics kind of way, she does make a point. Now what had happened was she had tin types hung on her wall and when she was cleaning the lens, she tilted the camera just right and the photo shined through the viewfinder. These ghostly images helped Susan to come to the question, "does time and space live only in our imaginations or is it possible that just maybe such a realm can actually occur within an inanimate object? Now I'm not sure that if walls could talk they would actually choose to do so or have anything interesting to say but the thought of capturing life for that one moment and suspending it in time is exactly what a photographer does so I can see how someone can think that. The reason I chose this article was not to discuss a certain piece of work but to talk about what makes an artist tick. Where does an artist get their inspiration? Any thoughts from the rest of you guys/girls?

9/12 Courtney Smyth

Football has taken over my life (til mid November), so I was not able to go to a show this week. Back up plan....look up a photographer and blog about that. I am starting to lose track of all the photographers that Libby tells us to look up! She mentioned someone named Susan Seubert a while back. Her fine art website www.seuberfineart.com has many collections posted. It shows her most recent collection called Nest. It is a study of wild bird nests done in ambrotype. The result is that while the content and composition of each photo is similar, they each have a haunting feeling to them. The color of the tint and the burnt looking edges are beautiful.

In another collection, Dress-o-grams, she uses doll and child sized dresses to create tin-type photograms. In her explanation, she says these are a reference to the late nineteenth and early twentieth century custom of photographing recently deceased loved ones. The photograms are ghostly looking and have a feeling of history and sadness about them.

Another collection, Columbia River Gorge, consists of several beautiful landscape shots. Each has a black edge, which she explains gives a more documentary feel. The series comes from a piece entitled "The Ten Most Popular Places to Dump a Body in the Columbia River Gorge". From beautiful landscape to horrifying crime scene. I love reading the stories to these collections!

09-12-09 Jacquelyn Nelson Rick Hunter Photography

I went to Armon’s Art Studio today and I just have to comment on how enjoyable it was to go on a day that was not First Friday. Armon told me a little about all the photographers in the studio, and the photographs I enjoyed the most just so happen to be from his own personal collection by Rick Hunter. He had a few different series in there but I want to focus on the bar scenes. This particular one of an older guy drinking a beer was my favorite. I liked how Hunter paired up a smaller photograph on top of a larger one, and collectively they told a story about the subject. In the picture you can tell that this older man enjoys this place that he comes too. He is either going to work, on his lunch break, or he never made it to work. I believe that it is safe to assume that this man is an alcoholic because the smaller photograph on top reads “happy hour 7a.m.-12 noon. 7 days a week.” Hunter’s black and white photographs were not only printed well but he also gives the viewer the complete story of this particular moment in the old man’s life therefore, I think his photographs are very successful and very entertaining. Also the display complemented each photograph. They were all mounted on black mat board, with the same size and type of frame. I find it difficult to convey a story through my photographs, but Rick Hunter has mastered this and is a good example for our sequencing project.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Apryl Corbin Libby's "Little houses made of ticky tacky and they all look just the same".

I just have to say that I loved it. I was so curious to see what you had to offer Libby, and I just have to say that this series is so funny and great! I went to the exhibit with a few people that were not art majors. It was so hilarious to hear their comments on the work! My boyfriend saw the honeycomb picture first. His reaction was priceless! He squinted at it, the had a shocked/disgusted face, then said "That is so gross and disturbing!" Then my friend JD saw the dust ball and was like, "Ew!! I would hate to live in that person's house!" I just laughed. My favorite piece was the one of the cut out shirts on the clothes line. It had a Blair Witch Project feel to it, without the corniness! I liked it because it was just so clever and homegrown, but with a little Libby quirkiness to it. The runner up would have to be the moth ball photo. It was just so cute without the quiche feel to it. It had a feeling of solitude and neglect. Poor moth ball :(.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

9-7-09 Ashley Olmos

So i have been kind of checking out the artist that are mentioned in class to get a feel for new stuff. one of the ones i found to be interesting is Lucas Samaras. he really had some crazy and fun stuff. crazy meaning amazing colors and subject matter. i really enjoy looking at his photos. this one in particular has a great color....i wish i could see it up close because i know seeing it in person would be a lot better that a screen. the photos' colors work because it seems dirty...its dark and there are no soft pastel colors that would destroy the photo. the greens and just the darkness used for the photo give a sense of solitude. its like you have just walked in to find someone that did not want to be found. as if the person was not having good going on and wants to be left alone. this comes to mind because of such darkness of the body. i love the way only certain parts of the body are shown there are great highlights shown on the legs. again the green just makes the muscles really pop...it plays with your eyes as the photo creates this negative space with the middle of the male figures body. the setting that the photo takes place works well with the figure. the photo would not make sense if the figure was in a luxurious setting....the griminess. the photo being to tight makes me feel uncomfortable like i wanna stretch but it works of the elements that make the photo one. he took a lot into consideration when making this image and it makes me realize the kind of process one must think about when constructing such shoots.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

9/6 Bianca Pitman--Bob Estrin Gallery

I was unable to attend an actual gallery show this weekend as well. Since my reasons for tardiness are seemingly obvious I will not delve into them at this time. :) I did spend some time browsing the net to find some photographers that might interest and inspire my future work. Bob Estrin's lanscape and wildlife photography was extremely eye-catching and reminded me of my attempts at similar subject matter. I was never very successful at portraying the mood or distorting an angle like I had originally set out to accomplish so hopefully I am picking up some detail and information that can help me when I try, try, try again. After looking at Estrin's work I feel it inspired me to photograph in this style once more. Estrin likes to photograph scenes from the Southwest and images that give clues to the past which I find attractive and interesting. I love color and I really like how his images have such a crisp and vibrant boost to the found color in his subject. My favorite piece of his (posted above) is Stepping into Decay, an image of a bathroom that was long forgotten and abandoned. I absolutely enjoy the colors and textures that this image portrays. It actually makes my skin crawl and yet the colors are so enticing I can't help but to keep staring at it. Many of his images are well thought out and well titled. I would recommend checking out his gallery works at the link posted below. It may not be your cup of tea but I really enjoyed it.


Bianca Pitman 9/6-

9/06/09- Libby's General comments, please read

Great job to those of you who posted this week. I enjoyed reading your insights!

Some general thoughts for you to consider for your future posts.
I would like to see a more specific review rather than a general overview of all of the places you went to see. I know it is overwhelming when there is so much to see this month. Focus in on one show, even a few pieces within the exhibition and really dig into them visually and conceptually.

Read Brittany K's blog. She kept with one show the whole time, evaluated different aspects. (Others did well too...)

On comments, please make sure you sign them, we are all listed under the same login.

If you need to edit your post, there is a small pencil icon at the bottom of each one. If you click on that it allows you to go back in and make changes.

There are some glaring typos in a couple of your entries...make sure you go through and re-read before you publish. Thoroughness counts. (If there are typos in my comments you can call me on it later...and I am sure you will!)

Those of you who missed the deadline, get on top of this!

Happy Labor Day weekend to you all. See you on Wednesday morning with your photo wars images in hand and your note taking hands ready to learn how to make negatives for printing alt processes.

And thanks to those of you who made the show at the satellite space. I hope you can all get down there to see it in person at some point before it comes down on the 20th. Paho's work is amazing and I am happy with my work too! The mix of our images creates a wonderful conversation as we both draw from ideals that were established by the 1950's concept of neighborhood living.

Enough for now...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

9/5/09 Monica Garcia--- Miru Kim

Unfortunately I have not been able to go and see any exhibit yet due to taking eighteen hours, working part time, and having unexpected events occur, but I will make it soon! So in the mean time I have been doing research on an artist that my friend had mentioned to me. Miru Kim a New York based artist who has an interesting series by the name of Naked City Spleen. This series is basically of her taking pictures of abandoned places with her in the shot nude. During an interview she was asked as to why she took the pictures nude and her answer made a lot of sense, "The fictional character I wanted to create had to be universal, and clothes make the living being too culturally specific and time-specific." Although a lot of the pictures make you wonder how or why, I find them strange, creepy, yet I still want more of them. My favorite would be Richmond, Philadelphia. The structure itself and the lighting are just breath taking, the way she is positioned gives the picture that intriguing quality. Overall her series gives my the inspiration to be a little more adventures with my pictures. Kim is currently working on a series with animals and that should be another wild ride. She is featured in several magazines and has also named one of America's Best and Brightest in Esquire 2007. For those of you who are interested in looking at her art she does have a website: mirukim.com, until next time with a blog of an exhibit I actually attended I promise!

9.5 Amy Schueling. Artful Blogging Article

Since I live so far away, it is a challenge for me to get into the city to go to First Friday or a gallery. I did however, acquire a magazine entitled Artful Blogging. In this magazine I ran across an article that caught my attention. It is called one-artist Journal by Orly Avineri, on page 32 in the autumn of 2009 edition. In the article the artist talks about how she lives a double life as an artist in fine arts and as a graphic designer. She talks about how she doesn't allow the two to mix. Avineri is from Israel but spent time living in Utrecht, that's in the Netherlands. She is now living in California. Her children convinced her to put her art work online and create a blog. So in the summer of 08 she and her kids created this blog and she for the first time ever mixed her two worlds. She began scanning her paintings, drawings and "miscellaneous objects" into Photoshop and began experimenting. The reason I bring all this up is because I find her technique interesting. She takes photos, puts them on her "virtual canvas" and transform them from a simple painting to a mixed media master piece. She inserts words and phrases to give her work a voice, even if she chooses not to speak. I would have to say that I enjoy the way she takes an ordinary country style photo and adds splashes and washes of color to give the work an entire different feeling than you would have had if she had done nothing to the photo. I am sorry to say that my computer will not allow me to insert a photo or two but I will bring this magazine to school with me on Wednesday.

9/5/09 Barbara Justice Review of Ramin Samandari

It's 9:30 do you know where your blog is. So I looked in the Current and counted over 50 photo related openings that are going on during the month of September. The Current is a free publication that you can find pretty much anywhere, also if you are planning on having a show you can post it for free as long as it is two weeks in advance.

I got a chance to go see the new work of Ramin Samandari at Joan Grona Gallery. He is a San Antonian transplated from the middle east who teaches at Southwest Craft Center. His images were about the recent election in Iran and the senseless killings and attacks on civilians that are speaking out for their democratic rights.

The images show explicit bloodshed and death. They are documentary and political. They made me think of how fine art photography and documentary photography are different. They were sad and compelling and emotional. It made me think of media photographers capturing these images and sometimes getting killed or wounded. I don't know if I would do it or not.

I did look at some photographers that have been mentioned in class and Garry Winogrand came to mind because of his work. It reminded me about "social scenery events" and how some photographers seem to be in the right place at the right time to capture such dramatic imagery.

He was nice enough to be in the gallery and talk to people who had questions and explain his work. Definately worth seeing, it will make you think and probably give you goosebumps.

9/5/09 Risa Morales - Libby Rowe's "Dwellings"

The UTSA satellite space hosted the works of two artists this First Friday, one of whom is a photographer by the name of Libby Rowe. Her website can be found at http://www.libbyrowe.com/ , images for this show found under Gallery > Dwellings. The series addresses the idea of dwellings, and the subtle connotations that can be found within the meaning of the word. Each image is well taken, with choices of depth of field and subject matter obviously chosen with care and specificity. The show at the UTSA gallery did not show quite the refinement of presentation that I was expecting, some of the mats were cut a little curved and the Plexiglas had smudges and marks on it, things that I believe did not have anything to do with the subject matter at hand and detracted from the images themselves. 

Presentation aside, I found the concept and execution of the show to be creative, well thought out, and whimsical. Each image in the series addresses a singular interpretation of the idea of a dwelling, and explores that idea down to small, hardly noticeable details. Many of the images address plays on words, such as "Homeland Security" which shows a chain link fence, filled with green privacy slats. These slats have been cut away/removed, and the negative space makes the shape of a house, through which a white and tan spotted dog can be seen sitting at alert attention. The imagery is quite clear and makes a point without going so far as to effectively be a 2-by-4 to the head, or even really being preachy. It is up to the viewer to notice the little details and draw the correlations in the images. If one remains a casual observer, one will only notice the obvious surface observations made in the images, and will entirely miss the finer details and messages hiding within. All in all, I found it a strong show, with the only real weak points being the already mentioned ones of presentation.

(As a note: Libby informed me that the images on display in her show were not the originals but were rather hastily made reprints for the UTSA Satellite show. I am very interested in seeing what the originals are like, as this would address my concerns on presentation...)

9/5/09 Stephanie Abraham- Thomas Neff Book "Holding Out and Hanging On"

“Holding Out and Hanging On,” a book of photographs documenting the devastation and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, will stand through time as a classic conveyance of the disaster and its effects on the individuals of New Orleans. The author and photographer, Thomas Neff introduces a perspective different from that which was portrayed by the media. His photographs seem real. He was able to document the essence of the disaster because he did not engage in traditional question and response interviews with his subjects; instead he became their friend, as he stated during his lecture on Wednesday. By learning about these people on a personal level his photographs portray a much more intimate and sensitive feeling than those produced by the media and aired in newspapers and on television. The images are seemingly honest as they share experiences ranging from those of the survivors and heroes whom stayed behind to search for victims of the storm to those who stayed behind to protect their property, threatening violence among trespassers. The black and white photography somehow captures and emphasizes the tragedy that words could not fully express. Each photograph is a reminder that poetically highlights both the beauty and sometimes cruelty of life.

9/5/09 Brittany Gates - Jason Willome

If you walk into Blue Star, turn left and follow the faint noises and blinking lights, you will reach Jason Willome's work. Jason is a painter who was born in San Antonio, and now teaches painting and drawing at the University of Hawaii Manoa.

His room at Blue Star featured several paintings and two projected videos. His paintings are very rich in color and texture. He uses acrylic, ink and acetate in the majority of his paintings. And a lot of them feature the same images or silhouettes of deer. These deer images come from framed newspaper clipping with a photo of two deer fighting at the entrance to the room.

One thing I loved the most about his work is the incredible textures in his paintings. You can see where some of his canvas has been cut away and filled in with a plastic. I would love to know his process in creating these. I can only imagine the work that must go into each one, since he has to not only be precise in the sections he cuts out, but also in keeping the shape of his canvas.

The work of his I liked best is called, "Our Celestial Companions (Proprioceptive Resonance) Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah". This is another large scale painting done in acrylic, ink and acetate on wood. But, it also has a sound-sensitive lighting element. The painting is primarily black with some transparent white shapes in the center. The lighting element is behind these shapes and it reacts in time to the noise of his video projections.

Normally when I look at a work, I like to think about it for awhile before checking the title. In this case, I saw the title first, and was glad I did. Looking at this painting, it was easy to imagine these white shapes on black background as galaxies in space. The lighting and background noise added to the effect. I found it a very peaceful experience. I think if there wasn't so much more art to look at, I would have liked to stay in that room, watching Jason's painting twinkle at me.

9.5.09 Apryl Corbin Michael Berman

Like most of you, I went to first Friday this weekend. It was rainy and I wore flip-flops! So beer and rain don't mix! However, I will let you know that rain and art do! I went looking and hoping to see some amazing photos, so I started off at the Armon studio it was sweet, but crowded! So then I went to the studio across the street. It was located upstairs and there was no air conditioning and people were packed like sardines so I immediately turned around and walked the other way. Then I moseyed my way over to Blue Star where I saw many amazing desert photos! My favorites were by Michael Berman. I loved the deserted items I found them really odd and hilarious. The way he really brought out the contrast and detail was simply amazing. He tended to capture the shadows in his photographs that really added character and mystery to his images. Berman reminded me why I started photography! It wasn't really his images, but the messages his images where sending out. The idea of people inhabitation a place and the out come of it, Whether it being destruction, things left behind, or the imprint that life left. This is the reason why I started taking pictures in high school. I was fascinated in the idea of life and the way we leave a mark on the world, and I hoped to capture the life around me. I started by joining yearbook and documenting high school events, then it evolved to where I am now. I am really into taking pictures of the old and finding the interesting aspects in that, as well as night shots. So, photography...I am thankful for! Well, that and rain...and beer.

09/05/09 Jennifer Williams "First Friday"

(This Friday I went to Blue Star early, before First Friday began. I was amazed. I decided then, that for this first blog I would write about the experience of First Friday, rather than specific art. I hope that's ok!!)

Oh, First Friday- Rushed Lover.

You no longer offer me enough...

Like lovers, are the artist and the art.... and you are too greedy, you want everything, you want it now. You get in the way.

You are a third wheel.

Over there you are, in the corner mixing drinks-calling me from my true love with enticing superfluous pink and red aromas of fermetation....
Over here you are, with your elbows in my ribs as I gaze into the photographs, trying to let them wash over me....
"Whoa, look at that!" you shout, interrupting the experience of this moment captured, this light, this depth, this tonality...

You drag me along with you, touching here, touching there, never lingering- with my eyes always looking back.

First Friday, you leave me hungry for more.

I leave you to your virginal brides... to them bring your basket of goodies. Wine and dine them, impress them- and while you have their attention teach them the language of art. Teach them well.

For me, I will visit Art alone- before the two of you commence to seducing the masses. We will converse, we will play. I will gaze for as long as I need to. We will act and react, and linger awhile, pondering the moment, the experience. And we will see each other again... alone or perhaps in your presence.

But I warn you, First Friday, when I visit it will be with tender, yet ulterior motives. I will visit, but I will ask that you remove your elbows from the ribs of our fellow lovers...

The artworks in the galleries this month are AMAZING. I'm so glad I was able to see them in a quiet, calm environment. I suggest that if the only time you got to see them was during chaotic First Friday, you visit them again, when it's not so busy.
First Friday is not so bad... it's fun, and you CAN actually learn a lot by talking with the other viewers, etc. It's a great experience. But I DO think it's important that you also get that time to see the art on your own.
So do it!

09/05/09 Jacquelyn Nelson Thomas Neff Photography

This past Thursday Stephanie and I went to the lecture of Thomas Neff, a landscape, people, and street photographer. His work was very moving. In the first part of his lecture, he showed us pictures from his new book Holding Out And Hanging On Surviving Hurricane Katrina. When the hurricane hit, Neff put his life on hold and was one of the first to arrive in New Orleans volunteering his service to the victims that decided to stay. He lovingly helped so many people and in the process he became better acquainted with them. Neff listened to these people while they shared with him their heartbreaking stories. He created this book with photographs of most of the people that he met and publishing their stories in it. In all his pictures from Hurricane Katrina, he truly captured the pain, hurt, and suffering of the people of Louisiana. Following the Katrina photos, Neff showed us pictures from his travels in Japan and China. Although I didn’t care for some of them, he still had some very beautiful landscape pictures. He commented on how the print quality was greater in person, which is always true, so Stephanie and I decided to attend his gallery opening that night in the UTSA gallery. When I saw his photos in person, my opinion changed, and I thought they were all successful. I especially liked the subjects in his street photography. Before we left, we had a chance to speak to Neff, which gave us a better insight into his composition and a deeper understanding to why he decided to take these photographs. I admire his wonderful print quality, and his friendly, outgoing nature, which is reflected in his work.


Courtney Smyth 9/5/09

First blog ever. Here goes...
My husband and I (and sometimes the kids) go quite often to the Blue Star Arts Complex for First Friday. While we always enjoy it, the atmosphere on Fridays is not very conducive for comtemplating art (or for family fun). This month, we decided to give First Thursday a try. What a difference! Much less frantic, much more relaxing and enjoyable. Never again on a Friday.
Moving on to the art, specifically photography. First stop, Armon Art. We checked out classmate Ross' pieces. Several aerial shots of Hawaii have beautiful color and offer a different viewpoint. I really enjoyed the abstract look of his other pieces. He said they were long exposure shots of fireworks. Then he tweeked them on Photoshop.
We moved on to Studio 106b and saw several pieces by Brianna Burnett. The show is called Implied Metaphor. All of her pieces in this show have a close up shot of some sort of fruit or vegetable. She then uses scans to create layers of different textures, fabrics, paintings, etc. The San Antonio Express quoted her saying "I call them digital collages, although I'm not really fond of that name. There are layers of storytelling, references to history and culture." The photos are small, inviting the viewer to et up close. From that viewpoint, you can see all the subltle layers and texture.
Last stop, UTSA satellite space. Two artists: Libby Rowe and Paho Mann. I really liked this show. Paho Mann showed a series of photos that were reinhabited Circle K stores. Each shot by itself is made more interesting by showing them together. He also had some extremely intricate photomosaics. I found these mesmerizing and couldn't step away from them. Libby Rowe's series was titled Dwellings. Her pieces are humerous and I love the theme.