Monday, February 6, 2017

This is What a Good Mail Week Looks Like in 2017

Times have changed and in November, I made many vows for the next four years as I struggle to place what art I should make in this present reality and my role within it. After the outpouring of interest from friends and strangers who purchased Icelandic Blue Pantone 15-3908 last fall, one small gesture I could easily achieve (and maintain) is to support artist-run publications by purchasing one a month. Some of those appeared in the mail two weeks ago along with a couple other surprises.


First a surprise - a catalog from the archives at the Center for Creative Photography sent to me after my last research trip to Tucson.


Amy Elkins's Black is the Day, Black is the Night arrived in the most fitting black mailer. The combination of handwritten text, scanned letters, digital manipulations and photographic recreations about prisoners on death row will cause anyone to rethink their views on capital punishment (the most appropriate first purchase with this new resolution).


Ball State University also owns a copy (spreading the love x 2).


My friend Kelli introduced me to Mike Slack's Shrubs of Death in the fall. Always a fan of typologies (who wouldn't love awkwardly trimmed bushes found in cemeteries?), I was shocked to discover they were all photographed in Muncie, Indiana. Next on the list: bringing this series to the David Owsley Museum of Art in 2018. It came with a covetable print (thanks Mike!).


A sweet little notebook (surprise #2) also appeared in the post office box from Ernst.


Old photographic manuals and advertisements are interspersed with blank paper. I am not sure I can use it as it is a little too perfect without my messy scrawl inside.


I also bought a Melissa Livermore print in January to help support her year long art adventure in Paris and I look forward to framing it someday in the future. I quickly scooped up Peter Happel Christian's Nearly a Million Sunsets as 100% of the proceeds went to the Sierra Club. In addition, I participated in a couple protests, called and faxed a few senators, and gave money to two organizations that make the world a far better place. I am trying and I have no plans to stop.

Monday, January 16, 2017

INFOCUS Photo Books Exhibition


[Photos by Donna Goedhart]

From now through 9 April 2017, Icelandic Blue: Pantone 15-3908 will be on view at the Phoenix Art Museum for the INFOCUS Juried Exhibition of Self-Published Photo Books.
 

My humble little booklet/zine/pamphlet is on the right. The museum assembled a list of all the submissions with links. If you need to say farewell to a half hour of your time, it's highly worth investigating the other entries. I am also fairly confident in saying that mine is the cheapest one available for purchase (ahem... all of you with $10 burning a hole in your pocket...).

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Earthworks Observational Kits on the Website



Amarillo Ramp, 2015 - 2016
Wooden box, trowel to bury a significant object at the site, cotton to replace the teddy bear innards strewn on nearby cacti, gloves and pruner to trim overgrown shrubbery, rocks from Spiral Jetty, Sun Tunnels, Double Negative, Roden Crater, The Lightning Field and Amarillo Ramp

In March 2015, I discovered a photograph of James Turrell’s Roden Crater Field Kit (2000). The oak box, reminiscent of a portable desk from the 19th century, contains instruments used by surveyors, a rock from the location, documents, and maps. I was drawn to Turrell’s idea that other materials were necessary to fully understand an earthwork (and the absurdity that this was the way it should be seen).

While visiting Amarillo Ramp, The Lightning Field, Double Negative, Sun Tunnels and Spiral Jetty in the year and half that followed, I took note of what would have enriched my experience. The objects are those that I wished I had brought, those that were used to perform an action at the site, and those that were culled from the caretakers’ stories. Surprisingly, many focus on cleaning and upkeep – the antithesis of the entropy that some of the artists desired. In the end, Roden Crater makes an appearance, though its observation, due to great cost and inaccessibility, is highly unlikely.

Special acknowledgement to Andy Traub for transforming my crude sketches into three-dimensional boxes, Laurie Blakeslee for gifting me the Golden Guide books from her personal collection, Hannah Barnes for her assistance with the watercolors, and Nate Larson for suggesting that bubbles were the ideal way to interact with Sun Tunnels (he was right, you should try it).

Check out the rest of the kits here

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Earthworks Observational Kits in the Faculty Show


Earthworks Observational Kit: Double Negative
Wooden box, Golden Nature Guide to Rocks and Minerals, bandages for impending injuries, matches for the impromptu fire pit & notebook for the Geocaching box on the North Cut
2015 - 2016


Earthworks Observational Kit: Roden Crater (Unobserved)
Wooden box & green ribbon closest to the color of money 
2015 - 2016 


Earthworks Observational Kit: Spiral Jetty
Wooden box, paper to soak in the Great Salt Lake and plastic bags for storage, specimen bottles and tags for saltwater samples, rocks to make a mini-version of the jetty & empty Epic Brewery Spiral Jetty India Pale Ale bottle (to be substituted with a full one)
2015 - 2016

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Hans-Peter Feldmann's "Sea Paintings"


Hans-Peter Feldmann, Sea Paintings, 2016

From 303 Gallery's press release:

"His ‘Sea Paintings’ for example, consist simply of 15 seascape paintings (both old and new, large and small, and from a mix of amateurs and better known painters such as Patrick von Kalckreuth) arranged salon style on a single wall. Repetition becomes a disjunctive impulse, as the paintings in combination with each other begin to reveal a certain latency of shared experience...."


Hans-Peter Feldmann, Sea Paintings and Horizon on the left wall, 2016

That "single wall" is floating, however. The back becomes as important as the front (not unlike this famous series Verso). Walking through and viewing is more of a participatory act than a stagnant one.

Feldmann's new exhibition at 303 Gallery caught my attention at a time when I try to assemble all my family's photographs of the ocean and when I am equally enamored with the idea of overlap as a form of presentation.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Clear Water Samples: This Year's Additions


So far in 2016, I have collected clear water samples from the North and South Island of New Zealand, the Oregon Outback, the Columbia River Gorge, Lake Tahoe, and Brush Creek, Wyoming. I even found a photograph that my grandmother took from a family vacation in 1928 featuring one of the falls where I gathered water. Still not sure what (if anything) to do with it but it's still up for consideration.


The box is almost full (I've come along way from here). I began this activity in Italy in 2011, never knowing when it would end and what it would eventually contain. There are seven more bottles left and I don't care if it takes the rest of my life to fill. I want the locations to be special and once the box is complete, the project is done.


The fear of dropping this and losing them all ran high as I carried it across campus to the studio this week.


These three are some of my favorites: the floating pumice from Lake Taupo (North Island, NZ), the illicit collection from Hearst Castle, and the Arctic Ocean, a place I never imagined I would see until last year. I have a couple ideas for the remainders but no plans for all seven. Here's to spontaneity and the unknown. A project like this never had direct parameters but I am happy to see that it's getting closer to the end.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Icelandic Blue Pantone 15-3908


At Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, I made the mock-up for my first small run publication, Icelandic Blue: Pantone 15-3908. In July, with a lot of help from Fred Bower (my colleague who teaches graphic design), it was ready to print.


I loved how the publishing company thought they accidentally smudged the front cover but then realized the fingerprints and dark marks were on the original files. With the exception of the addition of my copyright information, the cover represents the notebook I carted all over the country, documenting what we wanted to see each day and what we actually accomplished.


The inside, however, reflects upon the act of reading paint samples for a year (before and after the trip to the Arctic Circle). I tried to find direct and indirect references to Iceland and then photographed the colors that most accurately described them while traveling around the country. Some were successful comparisons and others were not.


Many of the artworks in the Autobiography in Water series expand upon the methods of presentation that I constantly rely upon to show my artwork. This particular product is a clear reference to Ed Ruscha's sixteen limited edition publications from 1963-1979.

250 were printed and are available for $10 plus shipping. Email me if you are interested in acquiring one!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

An Anonymous Inventory of Objects Stolen from Art Departments (Skull)


It took awhile to track this down for the Anonymous Inventory of Objects Stolen From Art Departments series. It was the first time one was photographed in an environment. I am not sure if it will be included in the Art Department series, but I am glad that it exists before I return it. 


The clinical white background will be part of the inventory. I am inching toward 50 items. Slowly but surely. Once that happens, I'd like to create a small publication and a site-specific installation at a university gallery where contributions are solicited to add to my collection.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

"Unfinished Business" - Postcard Collective Summer 2016


Keys to previous places called "home" are on my mind. I searched the archives and found an image for a set that stares me down from a plastic bag day after day.


This is leading somewhere ... I promise.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Documentum - Issue #2 Pictures and Words



Last year, a publication called Documentum was born. The first issue featured artists "who are engaging with Instagram in a committed way" and it was reviewed in The New York Times. This spring, guest curator, Kate Palmer Albers asked me to participate in Issue 2: Pictures and Words and I am thrilled to have my humble typed-written imagery alongside artists and writers whom I have respected for years. The cover of the latest issue displays every single photograph printed on the 60+ pages inside.


Last week a review in Dutch was published here [Image via Photo Q Bookshop]. If only my ancestors were around to help me translate it.


It is available for purchase here. It's a wonderful periodical dedicated to archiving digital imagery in print. I can't wait to see what enfolds in future issues.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

"Books Do Furnish a Room"



I encountered Lawrence Weiner's bookmark referencing Donald Judd's library online a couple weeks ago (both images via). With the greatest of intentions, I began a book inventory in 2013 and finally finished it before moving in January. Despite this fact, I had never counted all of them.


Knowing about the bookmark, however, convinced me to do so. I am very happy to report that I am no Donald Judd, coming in at a few under 600 (= one large wall). If ever I reach 1000, that will be a problem. I couldn't agree more with the sentiment - books do furnish a room especially if you haven't had a television since 2006.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Indiana: The Lenscratch Addendum

Guest editing the Lenscratch States Project for Indiana was a difficult task as I wanted to include many more artists than were possible and some that did not fit the specifications. Instead, they will reside here as an addendum to what was not posted last week.


Rochelle Martin, A New Dress, 2016



Rochelle Martin, The Dresses My Grandmother Made, 2014

In her series, Doubts, rituals of the artist's past (revolving around religion) and the present (the photographic process and its deconstruction) are the main focus. The dress represents Rochelle's childhood, yet its constant reappearance shows the impossibility of shedding that history. Carefully taking things apart whether it is a camera, text, or reinterpreting an outline of a dress with rocks in the snow, creates a broader understanding of distant experiences that are constantly informing who she is today. More than anything, this series is a coming of age, an introspective examination of a faith no longer desired and the quest for art as its replacement.



I kept wishing I knew a photographer from Northern Indiana to add to the group and suddenly, one contacted me. The above two images are from Rita Koehler's series Rite of Ordinary: Interior Indiana. She states on her website that it is "a conceptual, photographic documentary that examines the domestic lives of same-gendered couples living in Northern Indiana.... The portraits of these couples reveal more than mere facial expressions. They reveal bodies, furniture, wall decorations, and all the details and appurtenances of one’s identity. Through the assemblage of things that constitute a home, the images lead viewers to work, to speculate, and to challenge the current paradigm of “normal” regarding gender, sexuality, love, home, family, and relationships."

Another avenue that I could have pursued that did not fit the Lenscratch specifications are artists who once called Indiana home but have since moved away and are doing well elsewhere. Nate Larson's Home State, Christine Shank's Our First Year Together and Camilla Oldenkamp's To Photograph were the three artists and their projects that immediately came to mind.



Nate Larson, Beautiful Loser, Montmorenci Cemetery, Tippecanoe County, Indiana, 2014


Nate Larson, Photo Opportunity at a Corn Maze, Lafayette, Indiana, 2015 
 

Christine Shank's "ongoing project, our first year together, consists of images that seem unrelated in content, location, and subject matter, but are bound together by their treatment and tone. There are images that hint at and reference one another while intentionally remaining enigmatic...."


"...These images construct the moments in between points of significance, the way much of life is experienced, in the middle of contemplation, conflict, and wonderment."





In To Photograph, Camilla Oldenkamp writes, "In much of the work I alter the traditional staging of photographs by destroying, preserving or altering their form. These modifications comment on the images' place and purpose in the past, present and future; the changes to the found imagery occasionally come full circle when the final output is a photograph itself. Encouraging a fluctuation between past and present, the work as a whole creates a new purpose for these found images once their original objective has expired."


Finally, here is an artist for whom I have greatest hope as she heads west for Nevada to start graduate school next month... Holly Lay from the series Through the Viewfinder.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Lenscratch Indiana: Stefan Petranek


Today marks the last day of being the guest editor for Lenscratch's The States Project. See Stefan's artwork here.

Stefan Petranek meticulously arranges text derived from DNA coding onto found elements (fruit, leaves, dilapidated wood), the landscape (beaches and lawns) and in structured piles. He uses alternative processes, digital manipulation, and a variety of materials to represent type: syrup, detritus from trees, the shearing of grass, or stencils and paint. At times, the importance of the process rivals the end product as he leaves tweezers in the scene or printouts of text that may offer clues to the origin of the system. Eventually, the DNA takes on the role of poetry, design, or even the monotony of writing sentences as punishment over and over to fill a space. All of it will disappear as the grass grows back, the tide rolls in, the paint fades, and the fruit browns. We define our lives by these scientific structures yet Stefan personalizes them to show individual identity in our everyday surroundings.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Lenscratch Indiana: Shelley Given


To Wait Without Waiting depicts this action as an experience witnessed in solitude. Shelley Given’s photographs are quiet and contemplative in nature. Of all the artists representing Indiana this week, her images typify this Midwestern terrain the most. Indiana is the Crossroads of America and Given’s shows a sense of transience (driving through at dusk) and also lingering (the organization of possessions showing decades of accumulation). Seasons change from brutally cold winters to muggy summer nights. People convene in small town motels and aging relative’s houses. The nostalgia emanating from Given’s artwork is reminiscent of road trips to family reunions where this Midwestern state is the destination not a transitory movement through the landscape.

Check out more images here

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Lenscratch Indiana: Mia Beach


Mia Beach creates atypical portraits as complex as the emotions she represents. She returned to document her subjects (her partners’ past lovers) over multiple visits, incorporating fragmented body parts interacting with the printed image. Stark black-and-white photographs often occupy domestic spaces bathed in natural light. Her series Metamours is built upon layers of trust between current loves and those long past. She approaches the subject with sensitivity and curiosity not the jealousy, unease or insecurity that may arise.

See more of Mia's work here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Lenscratch Indiana: Amelia Morris


Amelia Morris: Indianapolis born and bred. Canning specialties: pear ginger jam and chutney. Librarian assistant. Photographic Muse. Former owner of a Honda Civic Wagon named Henry. Life drawing model. Product photographer. Jointly responsible for two felines: Carlos and Marco. Chocolate Maker. Tattoos: zero. Sewing machine brand: Singer. Doughnut lover. Sufferer of the “post-recession blues.” Practices perfect penmanship. Once stood beside Christian Marclay during a screening of The Clock. Preferred light source: natural. Hidden talent: Photoshopping human and animal heads on found photographs from the 1980s. Grows hair long for art. Mail Artist whose last postcard featured her partner Drew’s financial calculations of their future. Avid reader. Introspective genius.


Read the rest here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Lenscratch Indiana: Mark Sawrie


Mark Sawrie was the first photographer I met in Indiana. We bonded immediately when he opened a small drawer in a display case featuring a taxidermy animal to show me his fingernail collection of two decades and counting. His vastly different experiences are evident in his artwork as he oscillates between a controlled studio setting and astute everyday observations. His latest series, Sublime/Banal, explores a quieter side – uneven coats of paint in a nondescript bedroom, wrinkled dress shirts on a less crinkled sheet, and the repetitive, yet oddly calming, presentation of State Fair beauty queens. Mark reveals subject matter that is easily overlooked and then throws us for a loop with his sardonic titles.

Read the rest of the post here.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Lenscratch Indiana: The States Project

A year ago, Aline Smithson asked me to be the editor for Indiana in Lenscratch's States Project. This week, the work of five photographers living in the Crossroads state will be featured along with today's post on the Art Department series. [I was brave and introduced new images that are not currently published on the website.]

Check out Aline's interview and introduction here. Thank you again for the opportunity, Lenscratch!