Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Work is Ready to Hang

This week has been really crazy.  Along with the prep work to get everything hung for my show at Sohns, I was called by a woman who I've picked up some shifts from at her restaurant for the summer.  She wanted me to start a week earlier than I had planned, so I was left with even less time than I thought I was going to have.  I sent my lovely wife to the hardware stores to gather the various hanging devices.  I ended up with seven packages of this and four packages of that and a blister on my palm from using my stubby screwdriver with screws that needed extra pressure to be seated.  It was an awesome week.

While I primarily focused on brand new work for this show, I was emailed earlier in the week asking if I could bring extra work because the folks who own the gallery do not want any empty space on the walls.  I really don't think that it will be an issue anyway, but I started to group some of the older work which fit with the newer body of work.  I think that this might have made the work a bit stronger on the whole. 

Here are a few images of older works with new hardware to improve their general appearance.  This level of finishing is one of the tasks that I have been forcing myself to complete, part of my internalization of some of my art practice. 

These three pieces look so much better without visible hardware.  It was really a simple fix which I just didn't seem to find any time for until recently.  I wonder how my patience will be after a couple months of an infant.

I'll post some more images soon after I have the show up.  I think that this one will prove to be one of my best shows as of yet.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Some Thoughts on Working, Websites, and Staying Afloat

It is unlike me to speak with words and not with images, but allow me to use this space to collect my thoughts.  I hope you'll pardon me in my verboseness.  This week I am hanging a new body of work.  Generally along with the excitement of showing new work comes this hope for public approval.  You hope that people will be enthused by the work that you do, moved by your incredible ability and at your mental depth.  I am not certain that I feel the anxiety building up for that emotion now.  I don't know that I need to please anyone in particular with this body of work.  It is new.  It is untested where so much of my work has become a bit more premeditated.  I figured out long ago how to make an image that I took to be good and then, regretfully, I tried to find ways to mimic that feeling.

After two years of graduate school I could sense that I wasn't feeling altogether confident in my work.  I wasn't sure to what I extent I felt that something was missing.  I had ideas that I felt were good and I made some work that I thought was of good quality, but I didn't always feel that the good ideas would correlate with work that was good quality.  I wasn't sure and I am still not capable of finding a way to really quantify how good or not good a work is.  It is an emotional reaction for me.  I am aware of the elements and principles of design and have immersed myself in the teaching of these concepts in the past year and a half, but in teaching these concepts I have not found a confidence in the ability to use these principles but rather the realization that I don't think about them anymore.  Perhaps it would behoove me to do so, I thought.

This body of work happened accidentally.  I started laying work on top of work, allowing my obsessions to grow accordingly.  I have started to really let the work evolve and have released my death grip which wasn't so much for comfort but for lack of direction.  I didn't know what to make and rather than searching for what to make, I would make the same things again and again.  I still make the same things over and over, but I am allowing myself to let those things build on each other.  I want my language to interact with my work.  I want my work to interact with that which came before and that which comes in the future.  I am unsure if this body, my body, will hold up long enough to create the legacy that I wish to create, but I think I've started to make some better steps.

My website is down for the first time in nearly ten years.  That site has stood as a record of my completed work for a decade.  Whenever I needed to seek creative comfort I could look at what I had created and consider how to recreate those moments.  Surprisingly as I let the thought that I have no direct website for people to look at, I am feeling some comfort in the idea.  I don't think that my work was ever about connecting with people through a device like a computer.  In fact, in the past I have often wondered why I do not get more visitors to this blog, and I think that maybe it is possible that I was really only keeping a diary.  It was too awkward for people to read on a regular basis.  My work, my soup, was too heavy because I kept it too personal.  Everybody keeps their work personal to a certain extent.  It needs to have an essence of self to even attempt to be created, but I was fixated on my goals.  Other peoples goals were nothing I had any interest in.  I have always been a good listener in person, but on the web I have merely been waiting for opportunities to push my own agendas, to say what I want to say.  But now I wonder if that is what I want to say.  Is that action really what I want to identify me? 

This is all to say that I have begun to think about what I want out of my web experience, what I want out of my life experience, what I really want to teach my son about life and about us, the Lewises operating in the 21st century.  It is about the work.  I have created too many things and been too closely awaiting the resounding reply.  The resounding reply isn't coming if I don't let the work grow at its own, unimpeded pace. 

Here's hoping that I can continue to let go.  I think that maybe becoming a dad may be the best thing that could have ever happened to this artist, both personally and from a more creative outlook. 
Much love to those of you who've read this far, and even to those who didn't make it here that just stop in occasionally here and there.  Any thoughts, as always, would be appreciated, though if there are none it's completely fine.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Assembling Work & Finding Myself

My show at Sohns Gallery goes up this Saturday.  The work will be a mixture of totems.  I am including several pieces which include the various power line, stereo and drop motifs as well as a number of character driven totems.  I have been granted a thirty foot wall to work with.  The grid work will be going in the center of the wall with the totems on found wood flanking the grid on either side.  I do not think that I plan on making the wall look symmetrical.  Hopefully that will enhance the overall visual of the exhibition.

Last night I started piecing together the found wood totems with two pegs between each panel.  I have determined that these pieces are in fact totems despite the fact that they do not appear as such.  The process was more about building the story piece by piece and later incorporating a number of different pieces into one story, which is very similar to how I understand a myth falling into place.  To use self-righteous art speak, the work is a series of personal mythologies.  The characters are a symbolic creatures for me. 

Here is a preview of how the work will be laid over top of the grid.

I particularly enjoy how the totems play into this structure.  I had thought that either placing them over this structure or on a single rail that ran the length of the gallery would be my best bet to display these.  I like how this worked out for this series in conjunction with the other work.

Here is a quick image of my panels as they get pieced together.  Sorry if it's a bit blurry.

It is exciting to see this work finally play out.  I feel like this body of work finally is both as clean as I'd like it and stretches construction and illustration enough to please my tastes.  I finally learn something from school if you will.