Thursday, July 12, 2018

Oh look...


Ed Ruscha's bookshelf features two of my favorite Barry Lopez books.


Also from Ed Ruscha's studio/library... I have flat file storage and desk envy (the latter even looks like an old book).
[Both images via]

Speaking of books, today I read that one of my favorite artists, Hans Peter Feldmann was rejected from art school and spent two years as a sailor before creating his bound and stapled collections of repeated, ordinary subjects (Bilder).

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Sometimes you see your old artwork and it makes you cringe ...




... but this piece from grad school is holding up alright. I saw it earlier this spring at a friend's house in Los Angeles. Twenty years later and Book as Object: Aunt Eleanor is not falling apart (back before I thought about how to keep art clean after it was made). Let's see what it does after another two decades.

"Robert Heinecken: Myth and Loss Reimagined" (2017 - 2018)



Robert Heinecken, Vanishing Photograph, 1973

In 2017, I was awarded the Photographic Arts Council / Los Angeles Research Fellowship at the Center for Creative Photography to study Robert Heinecken, a 20th century visionary whose work speaks strongly to 21st century practitioners. My intent was to document objects from his archive that comment on the growing gap between the analog and digital era and how accumulation is changing at a time where collecting is less common and experiences dominate. I wanted to learn more about Heinecken’s Vanishing Photographs and his cremated ashes stored in a salt shaker as they are the most poignant examples that bridge the gap between analog and digital. These ephemeral items are enshrouded in myth and they contribute to his legacy and I wanted to hold them in my hands.


Robert Heinecken, Paste-ups for Periodical #5 and Periodical #5, 1971

Despite our radical differences in subject matter, Heinecken is instrumental to my artistic process. His disregard for what he considered a photograph to be, his use of appropriation, his employment of guerilla tactics in the distribution of altered magazines, and his experimentation with three-dimensional presentation first drew me to him in undergraduate school. While in the archive, I made a discovery which altered my course and caused me to reconsider everything I thought I knew about him. While perusing fourteen VHS tapes of a 1995 seminar and two interviews as far back as 1975, I began to notice his memory loss and how it would eventually lead to Alzheimer’s. I lost count of how many times he said “I don’t remember” and watched in shock as he struggled to recall who was standing before him when the daughter of an old friend surprised him while being videotaped. 


Jacinda Russell, Vanishing Photograph: Me, 2017-2018 [imprinted digital negative on unprocessed silver gelatin paper]

My plan to create a contemporary version of his Vanishing Photographs shifted to objects in his archive that implied or overtly suggested absence. Evidence of his declining memory would redefine my series yet still comment on the shrinking role of analog practices.



Jacinda Russell, Robert Heinecken TV Still from 1975 and TV Stills from 1975 and 1995, 2017 - 2018 [archival pigment prints]

I approached the archive open to discovery, letting the objects dictate my direction, and the series grew to include three additional pieces. A diptych of stills from television screens references his cameraless photographs of newscasters from the 1980s. An image of his ashes printed as a positive and negative on transparency film sandwiched in Plexiglas is after Venus Mirrored (1968). Archive Remains is a photogram of a bottle containing the detritus that fell onto the white paper where I examined his possessions that the CCP staff allowed me to keep on my final day.


Jacinda Russell, Archive Remains, 2017 - 2018 [silver gelatin print]

I am captivated by the idea of legacy and mythology defined by the things left behind. This experience was life-changing and will undoubtedly be unveiled in a myriad of ways in the years to come.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

"Known and Unknown Collaborations with Interlibrary Loan" officially completed



One project down, eight more to go...

All the images are printed, inventoried, stored and are now online! In fact, the website even has a brand new look. Now to tackle a dozen tasks that have nothing to do with sitting in front of a computer.

Monday, June 25, 2018

One year ago today, I was in Greenland and ...


Ilulissat Icefjord, 2017

... fourteen months after I started reading it, I finished Barry Lopez's Arctic Dreams this week. As it was published in 1986, the prevailing thought was wishing he would return to the far north and write a new book of what has happened since. So much has changed with the physical landscape but his meditations on history and our personal relationship with place have not. Here are four of my favorite passages with three images from the old iPhone.

From Barry Lopez's Arctic Dreams:

"... we bring our own worlds to bear in foreign landscapes in order to clarify them for ourselves. It is hard to imagine that we could do otherwise. The risk we take is of finding our final authority in the metaphors rather than the land. To inquire into the intricacies of a distant landscape, then is to provoke thoughts about one's own interior landscape, and the familiar landscapes of memory. The land urges us to come around to an understanding of ourselves."


Sermermiut, UNESCO World Heritage Site, 2017

"No culture has yet solved the dilemma each has faced with the growth of a conscious mind; how to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in life, when one finds darkness not only in one's own culture but within oneself. If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. One must live in the middle of contradiction because if all contradictions were eliminated at once life would collapse. There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light."


East Greenland, Flight from Nuuk to Reykjavik, Iceland

"The edges of any landscape - horizons, the lip of a valley, the bend of a river around a canyon wall - quicken an observer's expectations. That attraction to borders, to the earth's twilit places, is part of the shape of human curiosity."

"It is in the land, I once thought, that one searches out and eventually finds what is beautiful. And an edge of this deep and rarified beauty is the acceptance of a complex paradox and the forgiveness of others. It means you will not die alone."

Sunday, June 24, 2018

"Known and Unknown Collaborations with Interlibrary Loan"


Imogen Cunningham, Received and Returned, 2017 - 2018

In the spring of 2017, I checked out the publication Heinecken from the Ball State University library. Horrified by the sheer amount of plates that were removed, I wondered what equivalent methods of destruction occurred today. Immediately Judy Dater’s Imogen and Twinka at Yosemite came to mind as it is the photograph most flipped over and hidden (therefore riddled with pushpins) of the hundreds that fill the walls of the photography classroom. I was compelled to “fix” this so I ordered books to scan and print copies to replace both the defaced Dater and the missing Heineckens.


Ball State University's Copy of Imogen Cunningham: A Portrait, 2017

Two discoveries simultaneously occurred: Ball State’s Imogen Cunningham: A Portrait featured a high contrast copy of Imogen and Twinka at Yosemite as the original page had been removed. Also, the cover of Imogen Cunningham looked conspicuously censored after it arrived from a neighboring institution. Thus began two collaborations with the Interlibrary Loan librarian – one of which she knew and the other she did not.
 

Gary Schneider: Nudes, Received and Returned, 2017 - 2018

I culled all the new arrivals of contemporary art online bookstores and I took note of missing titles from the history of photography that the university did not own. I searched for books that the librarian might deliberately arrange the sticker or white band with my check-out information over “offending” parts of the human body, and unbeknownst to her, I documented the results.


Joel-Peter Witkin: Vanitas, Received, Revealed and Returned, 2017 - 2018

The books were scanned upon arrival, the information was moved to other areas revealing what was once concealed, and rescanned before their return. There were a few surprises along the way. As I carefully pulled back the adhesive, I found the loaning library placed the sticker in another location and Ball State moved it to a less offending area or they added white paper to the book’s cover.


Helmut Newton: Sumo, Received, Returned and Revealed, 2017 - 2018

Helmut Newton’s Sumo included a “Booklet” inside with the same cover image and a label shielding the model’s feet. I was taken aback that the front was censored but the interior was not. After careful inspection, it was noticeable that someone altered the label and rearranged it over the model’s torso prior to it coming into my possession. 

After awhile, the interactions with nudity became predictable and I began to speculate how the librarian would encounter violence or whether or not she was a cat or dog person (clearly preferring canines). 


Richard Jonas: Rescue Me, Received and Returned, 2017 - 2018


Walter Chandoha: The Cat Photographer, Received and Returned, 2017 - 2018


One Dozen Copies of Imogen Cunningham: A Portrait, 2017

The known collaboration consisted of the librarian obtaining permission to request eleven copies of Imogen Cunningham: A Portrait so I could take a photograph of twelve versions of page 126 and compare how many were missing and whether or not the library resolved it. I placed a new print inside the books where Imogen and Twinka were absent.


Robert Heinecken: A Material History, 2017 - 2018 

As for Heinecken, the ripped pages were integrated into a larger project, Robert Heinecken’s Vanishing Photographs: Myth and Loss Reimagined. I have always been inspired by his screen-printing a Viet Cong soldier over advertisements in periodicals then returning them to newsstands and doctor’s offices. Known and Unknown Collaborations with Interlibrary Loan was my version of his guerilla actions of the 1970s.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Spencer Finch's "Great Salt Lake and Vicinity"


Spencer Finch, Great Salt Lake and Vicinity, 2017 (Pantone chips and pencil)

Laurie Blakeslee sent me a link to Spencer Finch's Great Salt Lake and Vicinity on Instagram yesterday. I haven't stopped thinking about it mainly because it is an ingenious example of site specific artwork featuring a collaboration with the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. Secondly, I quickly fall for re-purposing Pantone colors and making them into a vessel to describe personal experience. It involves studious observation, a journey, and a collection ending with 1,132 chips traversing the landscape from Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty to the UMFA.


Spencer Finch, Great Salt Lake and Vicinity, 2017 [Image via Hyperallergic]

From The Utah Review:

"The work constitutes a richly detailed field observational guide, created as Finch spent several days circumnavigating the Great Salt Lake. Finch selected Pantone swatches that corresponded precisely to the meticulous scientific-like observations he made of the colors during his trip. He also labeled in pencil each swatch with the originating source of color, which included trees, lake algae blooms, native birds of prey and other elements he observed as he circled the Great Salt Lake."

Friday, May 4, 2018

Antarctica Window Art

While perusing the National Science Foundation homepage, I discovered this post on window art at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. The austral days are changing into nights and window covers are necessary to prevent the lights inside the station from interfering with the scientific research taking place outdoors.

From their website: "To make life a bit more interesting, members of the community spending the winter at the Pole, monitoring scientific equipment or maintaining the station itself, decorated some of the window covers and a window-cover-design-contest was organized by the station manager as a morale booster."

Most all the images were labeled anonymous except for Joshua Blatell's Geodesic Figure three images below.


I am researching the cartography of Antarctica, specifically atypical maps of the Southernmost continent, and am drawn to the one above. However, I love the escapism present in the ones below.






It's hard not to feel claustrophobic once one realizes they are inserted or duct taped into all the windows. I, too, would be having visions of the Great Barrier Reef if based on the South Pole in the middle of winter.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Some Vanishing Photographs

Here are in progress studio and process photographs from the last three weeks. More on the Robert Heinecken series soon as I am writing the artist statement in the next week or two.







Sunday, April 1, 2018

Eggs: Year Six


Cristina Bartley Dominguez, From the series Stuck in Limbo


Horacio Coppola, Still Life with Egg and Twine, 1932


Imogen Cunningham, Five Eggs, 1951


Susana Reisman, One and the Same, After Hilla and Bernd Becher

Friday, March 30, 2018

Final Friday, David Owsley Museum of Art


There are two things that I agree to do because they are personal challenges: public speaking and written publications in the form of reviews or essays. Last week I "performed" my second Pecha Kucha in half a decade by speed reading (because there was no other way to get through it) information about twenty slides that were shown for twenty seconds apiece. The theme was "Beginnings" after the Richard Diebenkorn exhibition on display in the museum's galleries.


I translated "beginning" as an opening, an introduction, an origin, a source. The first time we do something can reverberate into the present. The images above represent an early artist's book and the current one in progress and "The First Series that Changed Everything: Aunt Eleanor." Others included "the first time I suspected something was amiss in the Interlibrary Loan Department," "the first time I broke the law for art and the last," "the first series that has nothing to do with photography," and "the first time obsessive counting became part of my art practice." 

Photographs courtesy of Jordan Huffer and the David Owsley Museum of Art

Sunday, March 25, 2018

"Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline"


This book has moved from various studios and at this stage, two different coffee tables, for a couple years now. It was stained from an accidental red wine spill and the discoloration goes well with the subject matter (words I never thought I would utter). In a Herculean effort this spring to finish projects that are essentially complete but require a few days of concentrated effort in front of the computer, it was time to revisit it this morning.


As I press forward with the completion of Camden's Rock: 2012 - 2017, I have become fascinated with the presentation of chronological timelines from the past, whether they are pocket-sized (as in the top image) or scrolls. This chart above from the late 1870s was sold as an accordion book and on rollers for wall mounting. I am curious how such a large amount of information can be stored in a compact manner.


Conversely, this little red scroll is nearly two inches wide and is one of the smallest that was ever published. The Stream of Time on the bottom is wound on a roller in a box which has great appeal in terms of protection and a method of reading that will not cause stress to the paper.


Of all the objects presented in Cartographies of Time, Jacques Barbeu-Dubourg's Chronographie universelle was the one that I wanted most to see in person (and hold). The paper is mounted on cranks and enclosed in a little case that reminds me of something one would find in a printmaking studio.

I am not sure what Camden's Rock will look like when it is done but I can say that it's a 2.2 GB file that is 630" long with 83 images and as of this weekend, it is finally edited and assembled and sent to the designer to fill in the text. Nearly every part of that sentence is huge.

Friday, March 23, 2018

"Autobiography in Water" is finally complete ...

... and it feels so good to only be working on eight series instead of nine. I exhibited the artwork as part of a sabbatical show in November and updated the website last week. Here are some highlights from the Atrium Gallery at Ball State University in November 2017.


Thunderbird Hotel, Marfa, Texas, 2013 (printed on Photo Tex vinyl at 100" x 150" - such a treat to see this photograph so large though hanging vinyl was stressful)


Also, I was fortunate to collaborate with Jacqueline Suskin who contributed three poems to the exhibition (after sending her images, she responded, I printed her poems and mounted them alongside the photographs).


Rebecca Solnit quote, Redfish Lake, Idaho, 2014 - 2015, Thunderbird Hotel, Marfa, Texas, 2013, Cape Disappointment, Washington, 2014 - 2015, and Cape Horn, Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho, 2014 - 2015


Neptune Pool, Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California, 2014 - 2015, San Solomon Springs, Balmorhea, Texas, 2013, The Springs, Idaho City, Idaho, 2014, Drekkingarhylur, Iceland, 2015 - 2016, and Miracle Hot Springs, Buhl, Idaho, 2014


Key West, Florida, 2015 - 2017, Kirkham Hot Springs, Idaho, 2015, Perth, Australia, 2017, Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada and Fjallsjökull Glacial Lagoon, Iceland, 2014 - 2016 and the "islands"


Drekkingarhylur, Iceland, 2015 - 2016


The "islands": Rolla Island, Doubtful Sound, New Zealand, 2016, Rooster Rock, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, nd, Fisherman Island, Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho, 2014, and Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, nd


Key West, Florida, 2015 - 2017 (archival pigment print displayed underneath a plexi-glass box filled with water - every other day it was topped off)


Arizona Inn, Tucson, Arizona, 2016 - 2017 (1:33 video - the biggest technical accomplishment), Lake Tahoe, California, 2016 - 2017, and a slide show of Coronado, Del Mar and La Jolla Coves, San Diego, California, 2015 - 2017


Detail from the slide show of La Jolla Coves, San Diego, California, 2015 - 2017


Lake Tahoe, California, 2016 - 2017


Gallery talk (photo by Jennifer Halvorson), November 2017


The sad process of de-installation, November 2017


De-install continued...


All the vinyl text from the walls

Here is hoping I find another location to exhibit it (with a lot of help hanging and weeding vinyl from my friends).