Sunday, September 28, 2014

Doug Aitkin's "Sun Pool"

Doug Aitken, Sun Pool from the exhibition Still Life at Regan Projects, 2014
Aluminum lightbox, LED lights, chromogenic transparency, acrylic
38 x 88 1/2 x 7 3/8 inches

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Pile of Library Books That Keeps on Giving

Next time a couple hundred dollars falls into my lap, remind me to purchase this:

Todd Hido's Excerpts from Silver Meadows.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Spheres of Cat Hair and an Orange Chair

I took this photograph two summers ago around the time I was emulating obsessive activities professors did in art departments. I finally showed it to my inspiration - the person who rolls cat hair into spheres - last year. Fortunately, he wasn't horrified and that gave me permission to carry on (and post it now). After this photograph was taken, I started another activity (talking to a plant and recording my conversations) last January after my former professor who acquired dementia and was found conversing with cacti on campus. Once a month after each faculty meeting, I sat next to a bush and talked to it as if it was she. She died prematurely last summer and I was never able to say good-bye. That was such a depressing endeavor that I stopped after four months, not particularly interested in ever hearing the sound recordings again.

More stories were collected from friends and colleagues and I kept wondering what the point was in my recreation. I was interested in the subject matter but grew despondent thinking I would become these "characters" when they were, in reality, not like me at all.

In May, I saw this chair in the old watercolor classroom at Boise State University and my heart flew into my chest and everything changed.

I remembered this chair from our last acquaintance in 1995. It resided in my Dad's office for years, providing a seat for students during open office hours. I even recognized the blue paint.

Suddenly, I knew that the work I must make had less to do with other people's experiences in the art department and more of my own. I have thought about these photographs all summer - the white one above was the most important image I made on the residency. My return to Boise State earlier this month allowed more access to the photography, drawing and painting classrooms. I am working with the original locations but still telling stories through the objects I find there and the actions that took place in those spaces many years ago.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Art Department: Further thoughts after the post a couple weeks ago

I was born into an Art Department and have spent all but two years of my life there. One evening while participating in the Surel's Place residency in May, I walked to Boise State and visited some of the classrooms where I spent many of my earlier days watching my father grade, helping him rearrange drawing chairs, and staring out the windows while he completed administrative tasks. Later on I would attend the same school, switch my major to art from creative writing, and enroll in the classes of the professors who had known me since birth. I moved to Arizona for graduate school, attended another department, then eventually became an art professor. After seven years as an adjunct (at University of Houston, Lee College, Washington State University Vancouver, Oregon State University, Lewis and Clark College, Oregon College of Arts and Crafts, and Mt. Hood College), I obtained a full time teaching job at Ball State University.

It wasn't until last May while wandering through the hallways of the past, did I realize how important it is to make art about this topic. I have tried to reconcile this, deciding if it is worthy to pursue (or too insular), but I can't stop thinking about it. The concept refuses to fade away and I keep taking photographs. I may post a few of them over the next week or two while I formulate the words to describe what this means.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Return to Kirkham Hot Springs

Since returning from the residency in May, I have had a little time to assess the water images. It has become painfully clear that I had nothing to work with from Kirkham Hot Springs that was out of the ordinary. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to return to the Middle Fork of the Payette River last weekend. I am hoping to make something from the two photographs below. This may involve printing, rephotographing with outdated slide film, and cross processing. Not sure yet but film is on my mind lately (visiting the old color lab at BSU may have instigated this). Needless to say, they are more successful working images to contemplate compared to my previous outing.

Kirkham Hot Springs, Idaho

Kirkham Hot Springs, Idaho

Piling rocks into pools (photo by Marie Baldner)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Boise State - Visiting Artist Gig with Alexis Pike

The posters and the contracts.

Alexis discussing we sagebrush folks in Jonathan's class (photo by Laurie Blakeslee).

Where I fell in love with photography and changed my major from English to Art. It hasn't changed too much since 1995.

The only Jobo left in the old color lab.

The first time I exhibited the cakes with an "archive" in a vitrine. More exhibition documentation coming soon.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Boise in September

Fire Alarm Dispatch cards at the Sesqui Shop. They are hand drawn maps showing the location of the box alarms in Boise.

Best paint by number artwork in Laurie and Stephanie's guest room.

Spotone on the bookshelf.

Laurie in the garden she has photographed for a couple years.

White cats left in a cul-de-sac.

View from the Boise Airport that I will never forget since I first saw it as a child.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

O.P.P. Interview with Stacia Yeapanis

Check it out. I was very happy to participate when Stacia contacted me. She asked such thoughtful questions that helped me formulate new ideas on how to describe my practice. This is a key example: "In what ways are you a documentarian? In what ways are you not?" This is not a description I would have prescribed for myself but the more I explained my answer, the more it seemed feasible.

Monday, September 1, 2014

"Faux" at Boise State University with Alexis Pike

I started packing today and am currently formulating a 30-minute presentation where I talk about nothing except cakes (and Ed Ruscha) and more cakes. 

I don't have an official announcement yet but here is the information for the exhibition, Faux, at the Hemingway Center on the Boise State University campus.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Art Department

Sarah Jones, Colony (Studio) (I), 2008

Sarah Jones, The Drawing Studio (I), 2008

I have spent all but one year of my life in an art department. I was born into one, attended two, and have taught in eight. In May during my residency, I realized that a series devoted to this topic has potential. I am slowly coming to accept this and have begun working on it regularly. Here's to being so excited about a project that I spent seven hours working on one photograph without eating dinner tonight.

It is a reprieve from needing to travel to points far away to finish the "water as autobiography" and artist stalking series. They are still in the works but I have reached the point where serious travel must happen to complete them (which is difficult during the school year). I am researching funding opportunities but in the meantime, looking over my shoulder at my surroundings to see what will materialize.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Erick Swenson's "Muncie Head"

Erick Swenson, Muncie Head, plastic and acrylic paint, 2001

Last month I finally made it to CCAD (Columbia College of Art and Design) to see their exhibition space. I keep hearing that it is the place to see art in Columbus and I was grateful to see Erick Swenson's Ne Plus Ultra. Since leaving Texas (and no recent trip to NYC), I haven't seen much of Swenson's work in the last couple years. You can imagine my surprise at seeing the title of the above sculpture. After further research, I have failed to find a connection with Swenson and Muncie. My consolation is that it is the best work of art featuring this town's name that I have ever seen though I have no idea as to the context.

The next CCAD exhibition is Tom Burkhardt's Full Stop, another installation I first saw in Texas, once many lifetimes ago. Here's to keeping this space under my radar and to wishing that they update their upcoming exhibitions soon.

Friday, August 22, 2014


Sol LeWitt, A Square of Chicago Without a Trapezoid, 1979

A trip north is necessary because far too much time has passed since my last visit. Yes, I am living in denial that school started this week. Stretching each of the last days of summer to their fullest capacity.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Installation Weekend

Here are a few details from yesterday's installation (= me sneaking around photographing holes and zippers).

(Portrait of an artist with his cat and horse)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Last of This Summer's Water Collections

James K. Russell, Long Beach, Washington

I asked my father to make a drawing in the sand. He found a stick from his yard and packed it in the car. He had no idea what he would make and neither did I. He thought this was much larger than it turned out to be and I envisioned it was closer to the water.  Since my mother was a prominent feature in the Idaho photographs, I wanted my father to be a part of the project too. Note to self: I have skills convincing my parents to do things for my art without any forewarning.

The end product though the "ruffles" kept getting in the way. As with the residency's water photographs from earlier this summer, I am not sure if I will use many of these or what the final outcome will be. For now they are merely a collection and one day when I finish every location, they might transform into something else.

More from Long Beach.

Cannon Beach, Oregon (After Gerhard Richter)

Posing as we all do, Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon

I will return to Cannon Beach to photograph on a day when it isn't so crowded and warm (yes, warm!) at some point in the future. The two images above document the location where this came from...

... (wishing it was completely full but knowing I can take it back).

You know what this means? I finished everything above the line on the list I made in April. Add a few locations I forgot from Idaho and last year's trip to Texas (which produced this and this) and I am over the half way point in the autobiography of water series (I need a real title, damn it). I hope to complete the final destinations by Summer 2016. Yet another long term project in the making.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I am still alive...

... unlike many of the people that are passing from this world en mass this week. Since returning from the residency and Canadian road trip, it has been difficult to keep up with this blog on a regular basis due to a multitude of reasons not worthy of explanation here. As soon as school starts (shockingly so very early next week), I will have a routine again and it will feature regular blog posting.

There are a couple of exciting events on the horizon. Two years ago, I was fortunate to be asked to return to my alma mater for a two-person exhibition with a dear friend whom I always looked up to as an artist as a lowly undergrad. Our show opens the first week of September. In the meantime, I have my hands full with coordinating this, two interviews for online and print publications, and the inevitable (and suffocatingly large) pile of school work to contend with prior to Monday.

I leave you with Ed Ruscha's Hi There My Old Friend from 1994.