Sunday, January 24, 2016

Crystal Bridges and Arkansas (the 45th State)

Crystal Bridges through Frederick Eversley's Big Red Lens

In my attempt to hightail it out of the Midwest for my sabbatical (beating the weather and winter in general), I dropped down into Arkansas to see Crystal Bridges and my 45th state of the union. Crystal Bridges is officially the only Walmart establishment I will ever willingly visit though it was difficult to shake the stigma despite it being a well respected art museum. Aside from the architecture and the grounds (which everyone raves about and rightfully so), I was most impressed by the sheer number of women and minorities that were represented in the collection. I could only hope that this becomes commonplace and not a detail that merits drawing attention to in the future.

Near the 20th century section (architect: Moshe Sofdie)

Nam June Paik's John Cage Robot II

Mark di Suvero's Lowell's Ocean through the window 

Gabriel Daye's Plexus 27 (featuring hundreds and hundreds of intricately placed threads in a stairwell)

Detail of Wayne Thiebaud's Supine Woman

Detail of Richard Estes' Antarctica, 2007

Arkansas from the Crystal Bridges Trail before I drove seven more hours to Amarillo, Texas reenacting my other career as a long haul truck driver.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

"Material Time" with Will Knipscher at University of Dayton

Material Time with Will Knipscher opens tomorrow at Gallery 249 at the University of Dayton. Here are some photographs of the installation.

Cape Horn, Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho, 2015

Cape Disappointment, Washington, 2015 and a piece from Where the Light Goes by Will

Two more images from Where the Light Goes and Miracle Hot Springs, Buhl, Idaho, 2014

Thunderbird Hotel, Marfa, Texas, 2013 and another work from Where the Light Goes

Kirkham Hot Springs, Idaho, 2015 on the right

Will's three dimensional origami prints showing the process of creating his photograms in the front and Cape Horn... and Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California, 2015 in the background.

The opening reception is from 5-7 PM tomorrow night with a gallery talk at 6 PM.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Arizona Inn Encore

I haven't met a location in the Autobiography in Water series that is as troublesome to resolve as the Arizona Inn in Tucson. I returned in October for a wedding and stayed there for the first time in my life. I recorded every moment I was in the pool, trying to swim multiple times a day. I made sound recordings of a very unusual bird song and swatted dozens of mosquitoes.

I even saved all the towels I used in the hotel room and documented them before returning them to the cabana laundry bin. I am hesitating on how to properly tie all of this together but on the bright side, I will be returning soon. May the answer come quickly as visiting all the locations in this series is coming to a rapid close.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Belated San Diego Post

I am slowly knocking out the last of the U.S. destinations in the Autobiography in Water series. Last August, I visited my parental homeland, floated giant photographs in La Jolla, Del Mar, and Coronado, collected water samples and buried a chunk of Camden's Rock. I spent my birthday with my cousin Mark visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego to see the Nicole Eisenman exhibition and the expansive sculpture garden.

Nancy Rubins, Pleasure Point, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

Ed Ruscha, Detail of Brave Men Run in My Family, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

Detail of Nicole Eisenman's installation in the exhibition Dear Nemesis, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

Detail of Robert Irwin's installation 1º 2º 3º 4º, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

Pre-float with my Uncle Paul and cousin Mark (I cannot thank my family enough for their assistance during this task)

 Camden's Rock was buried here at Coronado.

Water sample on top of the mound where Camden's Rock was buried, Coronado Beach

Friday, October 9, 2015

Neptune Pool, Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California

Last December, I took this photograph of the drained and dirty Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle on a drizzly, cold day. It was an ideal subject for the cyanotype process because it was anything but what I remembered it and making it blue would correspond with that memory. I spent many Fridays in February creating the digital negatives and the first "draft" above. However, it was not right.

The scale was off and I wanted more of an abstraction. After some brainstorming with Brent, the above work prints were made. Ironically, I had a little help with the texture in the reflection from the Riverside Hotel in Garden City, Idaho.

Fast forward to July and the digital negatives were made and the next round of cyanotypes, as seen drying on the racks below. The new dimension is 50" x 40".

Yet a third round was created to perfect some of the inconsistencies in exposure and a mock-up was documented in the Atrium Gallery at school. I have the highest hopes of creating a glass version of this prior to Brent's and my collaborative exhibition, Treading Water, in January.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

I Have a Stamp

At last! With the help of Claire Thomas, I have a couple stamps (ode to Weegee). I am excited to use the vertical one as Claire designed it specifically for me to use for the Postcard Collective. Maybe I should sign up for the next round of submissions....

Monday, September 28, 2015

Iceland Day 13: Reykjavik

The last day walking the streets of Reykjavik included a trip to the Museum of Photography and Hafnarhús. It was very difficult to reconcile the city experience versus the Ring Road and I failed miserably in my desire to see contemporary art. Next time, I would start with Reykjavik, returning to the US fresh from the road. I valued the landscape over the city and wanted to appreciate Europe's northernmost capital more than I did.

The water, however, continued to taste delicious and I filled a plastic bottle from this restaurant, packed it in my bag and drank it two months later on the first day of school.

The light continued to creep through the blinds while we slept. Two weeks in Iceland and the thought of the night sky turning black was suddenly a strange phenomenon. I had grown used to this and could not imagine what the world would look like dark.

There are circumstances in my life where I refuse to conform and visiting the most popular tourist destination in the country proved to be one. I had no interest in spending my time in a pool filled with a geothermal plant's waste water (especially after visiting Mývatn) even though I was in Iceland to collect documentation for a project with the central theme of water. I bought a postcard and photographed it in the hotel room while packing. This is the closest I got to the Blue Lagoon and I left the country on good terms with that decision.

 [Photograph by Hannah Barnes upon the arrival of the postcard in her mailbox.]

In the months since my return, I have delved into the subject of the Drowning Pool (producing a submission for the Postcard Collective as a "thinking piece" as seen above and below).

I have visited numerous hardware stores where I spend time "reading paint samples", collecting the names that coincide with Scandinavia and will soon produce my own. I have nearly finalized the meltwater diptych featuring a comparison study between Lake Louise and the glacial lagoons.

Iceland will remain a vivid memory for quite some time and the moment it starts to fade will be marked with the return trip purchase of an airline ticket. I will not be so quick to let it go.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Iceland Day 12: Gullfoss to Reykjavik

We return to Þingvellir in the morning to rephotograph the Drowning Pool on the "real" camera. The sun was in an awkward position (not a new story there) and the best photographs are, unfortunately on my iPhone. More on that eventually.

We arrived in Reykjavik in the early afternoon with plenty of time to walk around the city. We found all the Americans! After visiting one of the oldest swimming pools (we were unable to photograph it because we were not paying customers), we traveled to Hallgrímskirkja. Here is the view from the national monument/Lutheran Church.

Many people agreed that this was one of the best views in town as witnessed by the shoe marks (little ghosts) worn into the viewing stands.

The Harpa concert hall and cultural center opened in 2011 and it was high on my list of recent architectural structures to see. It was designed by Henning Larsen Architects and the artist Olafur Eliasson, whose work I have long admired. Aspects of the exterior reminded me of a kaleidoscope but it was the interior that stole the show.

The colored window panes were reminiscent of a toy I had as a child (and were perhaps the same hue).

We could have looked at the harbor this way for hours but we were hungry and there was still more to see before it turned "dark."

During our brief stints in the hotel room, I documented the solstice through the window with a view of the courtyard. I have a love/hate relationship with this day as summer is the month I long for and cannot wait for it to arrive. Since moving to the Midwest, I grow despondent because all days grow shorter from then onward. It was the first year this did not matter and I secretly hoped to spend all summer solstices near the Arctic Circle. The last photograph was the darkest the sky turned before we fell asleep well past 1 AM.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Iceland Day 11: Hella to Gullfoss

I inserted the above photograph of another 4x4 truck in Iceland from the Hella hotel parking lot (because I want to learn how to ford a river ... as a passenger). Then I watched a video (partially) and discovered that these vehicles can drive on top of the snow. The true definition of off roading. Until next time....

We searched long and hard for the most complicated Icelandic road sign where I was not pointing into the sun to photograph it. This one in between Hella and Gullfoss was a winner. There is a gravel turn out in front, if you see it quick enough to pull over, where one can read the map because that surely isn't going to happen when driving by at "90 kph".

Yet another remarkable waterfall in the middle of little vegetation and a seemingly flat landscape ... Gullfoss. This one had two tiers and produced enough mist to cause cameras to rust instantaneously.

Lower tier

The view of the upper tier was my favorite because it felt as if I could have been swept away into the current (not that I long for that to happen like some people who feel the pull of Niagara Falls, but there was a certain rush being that close to it).

I was standing behind a barrier when taking his photograph...

... he, however, was not.

We drove through the Golden Circle visiting the tourist destinations of Geysir and Laugarvatn Lake briefly (because they barely competed with the rest of the country in terms of magnificence) before reaching Þingvellir National Park (AKA Field of the Parliament or Parliament Plains). I enjoyed it here immensely. History dominates (and does not rely on fairies or trolls to tell it). It is not that difficult to imagine laws enacted, marriage licenses obtained, and people from all over the country traveling here in 1100 AD to camp and trade on the plains surrounding the Öxará River.

I was enamored with the boardwalk at Öxaráfoss. The precise cuts enabled rocks to jut out freely replicating the landscape in the distance or were zoomorphic in appearance.

I could not stop thinking about the Drowning Pool in the Öxará (Ax River). I have experience with water and accidental demise but not via execution. Between 1618 and 1749, eighteen women guilty of adultery and perjury, were known to have been placed into a sack, held down and drowned here. There was no way to adequately depict the history or emotion of this in photographs, but I would try on two separate occasions.

The falls below the Drowning Pool.

Ending on an upbeat note, I have a new goal before my next voyage to the Land of Fire and Ice: obtain my scuba certification and visit the Silfra fissure, known to have the "clearest water on earth." I too want my photograph taken touching both the Eurasian and North-American plates because this is the most unimaginable activity I could accomplish and never even knew it was a possibility.