Saturday, July 19, 2014

Frustrations in the Packing Department

I have dreaded this week for two years and it proved to be as challenging as I suspected it might. An exhibition that was scheduled 22 months ago is occurring in September. For the first time Nine Fake Cakes and Nine Bodies of Water must be shipped to Idaho. Here is an excellent way to drop too much money on shipping materials, obtain a giant paper cut, and utter several strings of swear words when I discovered the dimensions of the boxes were incorrect despite my being assured the contents would fit. A few photos from the behind the scenes frustration follow:

Everyone always ask me if I took a class in box building. I would like to say "yes" [translation: this type of thing was taught in the schools I attended] but no, I had to learn it on my own with some thanks to working at Texas Gallery. It's the only time I enjoy math unless I have unexpected deposits in my checking account. Here all nine photos spread everywhere, packed with bubble, corners and foam awaiting cardboard boxes to cut down and size to my measurements.

The photo lab at school is under massive construction and I haven't been able to work as much as I would like this summer (hence my favorite printer covered with a tarp and random furniture throughout the room). This will change as soon as school starts as I have great plans to conquer a lot of unfinished business this fall, start a new series, and work on the collaboration with Brent.

Enter great swearing when I had to haul these to the UPS Store for four days while they custom build four boxes for me because nothing would work or fit in my car = a great waste of time and energy given that my lifting and walking abilities aren't up to par post surgery.

Fortunately, one piece is done. When artwork fits this well into a box I made, I can't help but feel happy. Maybe I should build boxes for the next faculty show = a great foray into sculpture = imagining that will not go over well with anyone other than me. Now I patiently wait for the phone call from the UPS Store. In the meantime, I may go look at some artwork.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"Art Review" Autumn Issue 2013 is Finally Here

This academic publication is a collaboration between Ball State University,  Concordia University and Sichuan University. It's printing was delayed due to the earthquake in China last year but it is here now.

My essay looks out of context with everything else but it's great to see in print.

My bio in Mandarin (showing my ignorance = I think). Thanks to Natalie, cake decorator extraordinaire, for including the essay in the publication.

Friday, July 11, 2014

R.I.P. On Kawara

I learn that everyone dies on Twitter. Yesterday I retweeted MOCA's "I Got Up At..." and created an homage of my own (I haven't woken up at 6:15 AM since I drove West and was operating on a different time zone = a very rare occurrence that I am up before the sunrise).

The next Postcard Collective round is fast approaching. The theme is "you are here" and it may be time for another tribute.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Promo Postcards!

At long last, I listened to my friends, my colleagues, my former professors, professional portfolio reviewers, authors, etc. A year and a half after promising myself that I would design blank promotional postcards to send as thank you notes, they arrived in the mail today. Two look great and one is more saturated that I would like but they are done!

Now to find some people to thank .... (don't worry, that shouldn't be a problem).

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Alfredo Barsuglia's "Social Pool"

I have thought about Carolina Miranda's Los Angeles Times review on Barsuglia's pool nearly everyday since hearing about it. First a little information about the work (via the above link):

"The piece... consists of a single, diminutive swimming pool located somewhere in the southern Mojave Desert between Joshua Tree and Apple Valley. The public is allowed to use the pool, but in order to do so visitors need the key that unlocks it (it is kept covered) as well as the GPS coordinates. Only once you have the key, which is kept at the MAK Center, are you given the coordinates."

Also note that viewers are asked to bring a gallon of water to replenish it (if they find it) and it originally held 800 gallons.

Though I love the idea of creating an object one needs to search for in the desert (Michael Heizer's Double Negative for instance), I oppose this artwork being the one to find. First of all, it remains a beautiful, luxurious item in the initial photographs but over the course of time, it is impossible for it to hold these standards (a clear, full body of water devoid of insects, sand, and the presence of other people). Sand, dead scorpions floating on the surface, graffiti, attempts to break in despite not having the key - this is what I envision lying ahead for this artwork. Why? Because this is what happens when an artwork representing a luxurious item is left in the wilderness. The level of lavishness vanishes quickly.

Secondly, when I think of the pool as luxury item in the California desert, it does not look this, rather this, this, and this. None of these examples are conceivable to recreate in Barsuglia's case (albeit one exists in paintings not in real life). Barsuglia's pool is a postage size sample, asking the viewer to imagine something far greater than what is presented. It is opulent when compared to its current surroundings (considering the effort it took to create in such a remote location) but it falls short. In other words, this object is not luxurious or enticing enough to spend a day searching for it. I hate saying that because so much of my life is devoted to finding pristine bodies of water in my own artwork and it seems natural that I would gravitate to this.

I imagine a New Yorker cartoonist having a field day with a parched, crawling couple stumbling across this installation. In that respect, it becomes comical. If it is supposed to question our concept of luxury, environmental concerns, and consumption it does so but I can't help wonder what it would look like if Jeff Koons made it instead.

The work is available to find / see through 30 September 2014.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Lake Michigan

The final water photograph of this summer's mega road trip across 2/3 of the United States and five provinces in Canada.

Sleeping Bear Dunes in the rain (ode to Hiroshi Sugimoto)

6108 miles

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Camden's Rock: One For Each Province

British Columbia: Near Vermillion Pass en route to Banff

Alberta: Moraine Lake

Saskatchewan: Lake Mead

Manitoba: Winnepeg (St. Boniface)

Ontario: Old Woman's Bay, Lake Superior National Park

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Jasper National Park: It's Like Visiting New Zealand All Over Again

On the Ice Explorer at the Columbia Icefield Glacier moments after seeing baby bighorn sheep alongside the road.

Columbia Icefield during a snowstorm

Ill-prepared for winter in June but I stood on a glacier!

Athabasca Falls

Canadian camper in downtown Jasper

Whistler's Mountain

Whistler's Mountain

Ashes in a broken make-shift coffin on Whistler's Mountain with Jasper and my favorite lake in the distance - Lac Beauvert.

Lac Beauvert - best turquoise colored lake in the entire Canadian park system. Canoes at the Fairmount Jasper Park Lodge.

Lac Beauvert

Lac Beauvert

Lac Beauvert

Mountains at Maligne Lake

Maligne Lake in the evening

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Lake Louise and Victoria Glacier: Three Visits

Day 1 - Late afternoon, 4th June 2014: Clouds

We did not anticipate the sheer amount of snow and ice that had not yet melted. It was cold (highly reminiscent of the awful Midwest winter) but undeniably beautiful. I did not break out the camera (other than the iPhone photo above) until the next day when I hoped for sunshine.

Day 2 - Early morning 5 June 2014: Frigid Water (particularly if one is collecting samples and floating paper)

Clear water samples for my wooden box and some for those that requested them when I announced on twitter my excess of specimen bottles.

Victoria Glacier: wishing I could see an avalanche (from far, far away).

This is what 9 AM looks like (I have to remind myself because I seldom know).

Day 3 - Late Afternoon Saturday 7 June 2014: Ice

My quintessential Canadian photograph (and the scene I will long to return to for the rest of my life).

Canoe as Ice Breaker

Ice in the Sun

Ice and water reflection in the shade

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Misconception #3: The Opacity of Meltwater

The third startling misconception of my life presented itself in Banff and Jasper National Parks earlier this month. Every photograph I have ever seen of meltwater indicated that it was opaque, like liquid minty toothpaste flowing through river beds and lapping onto lake shores. It is not and my quick phrase/drawing above floating in Lake Louise shows this inaccuracy. [For those dying to know, the other misconceptions were: 1) snowshoes don't allow you to walk on top of snow and 2) swim caps do not prevent hair from getting wet.]

Lake Louise was the first body of water on my list that I had never visited. It is significant due to the photographs my aunt and uncle sent of their family's summer vacation approximately twenty-five years ago. In the clouds and mist, it was an enchanting location for a teenager growing up in the high desert landscape. It became a place of longing and this months three visits did not disappoint.

I write this with the images of Lake Louise on my Canon CF card sixty miles away with the hopes of posting the highlights this weekend. Life has been frantic since the end of April - apologies for my irregular blog posts. Soon I will be well enough to post on a regular basis as there is so much to complete during the remaining half of summer.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Five Photographs of Mountains and One of Water (Eventually)

Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

Mt. Rundle from the Trans Canada Highway (my new favorite mountain)

View from Sulphur Mountain, Banff National Park

View of Banff from Sulphur Mountain (now I understand what Albert Bierstadt was thinking when painting his seemingly unrealistic landscapes of the American West).

 Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Parking Lot

Columbia Icefield, Jasper National Park