Cross Road Blues

Sunday, April 3: I started putting some of my “visions” of the final product for this project down on paper. These began with some quick thumbnails in my sketchbook, and after photographing most of the canvases and works on paper that I’ve been doing this semester, I did some arrangements in Photoshop of how I was beginning to visualize my project.

Monday, April 4: brief spontaneous meeting (#1) with Ric Petry, our program’s Director :: While hanging up canvases in our studios so that I could photograph them, Ric stopped by to ask some questions and gave me some advice as well. He wanted to know how many pieces of canvas or “things” that I have currently from this semester’s work. I told him that it is difficult to say, because some have been cut up and re-stitched together, some are works on paper, and there is a variety of sizes. I estimated that I have about 20 or so total, off the top of my head. After I had photographed everything, I realized there were actually more than that. He suggested I pick one canvas and work on that to completion. He had some other suggestions as well, but this was the main point I took away from our discussion.

The whole point of my photographing everything that day was so that I could size everything down in Photoshop and print it out. I felt it was important to see everything that I was working on at the same time in one place. This would be nearly impossible to do in real space, as most of the work I’ve done this semester is fairly large (6’ x 6’ or larger). To spread it all out in one place would require a gymnasium or something similar.

Tuesday, April 5: brief spontaneous meeting (#2) with Ric Petry :: While setting up for a meeting with my advisor, Ric reiterated what he had discussed with me the previous day.

weekly meeting with Julie Abajanac, my advisor :: She agreed with Ric that I should choose one painting and work on it to conclusion by the end of the semester. She suggested I take everything else out of my studio but the final painting I’ll be working on.

Wednesday, April 6: Graduate Seminar :: Critique #3

This was the third and final critique for me for the semester. I was hoping to explain my current situation, along with Ric and Julie’s advice, and then open up the group to discussing a final direction or any other suggestions anyone could offer. I was a bit disappointed that not many people said very much. At least not in class. In the 24 hours following class, I had about half of my classmates come to me individually and offer their thoughts on what I’ve been working on and where to go from here. Some especially good advice came from Nate Gorgen and Woody Hinton. They both, in different ways, pointed out the importance of “design” in my work. In brief, Woody pointed out to me that the parts of my project that are working well thus far are the parts that I have “designed”. For example, the canvas with the large cut-out of my Grandfather’s fingerprint. Without really thinking about it, I spent a good deal of time and effort designing that canvas, and it is much more successful than the others. Nate pointed out the importance of me “desiging” the work that I do from here on out. The goal being focus and clear intention, rather than random mark-making.

The most important, eye-opening moment of the critique came from our guest critique-r, Melissa Vogely Woods. I was talking about the canvases that I had laid out on the floor, which everyone was circled around, when she stopped me and pointed in my studio (#1). She stopped me and said that what she really wanted to know about was the chopped-up canvas on my studio wall. This is the piece from the “shadows” post from a few weeks ago. She expressed interest in knowing more about that canvas, and our discussion quickly shifted to that.

I spoke about how it was made, and possible interpretations as far as my identity is concerned. To me, the negative space left behind from cutting out a fingerprint is the absence of an identity. The fingerprint is quite literally a person’s identity, from physical/medical/legal standpoints. Our professor for Graduate Seminar, Danielle Julian-Norton, was less interested in that explanation and more interested in the interpretation of my canvas in terms of the “painter’s struggle” and identity in that sense.

About AlexEConrad

Fine artist. Freelance designer.
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