Monday, December 3, 2012

Words, Words, Words

Hello everyone, So I have had a moment to breath this weekend from grad school, and took that up with making X-mas gifts for the family. I finally passed my reclassification meeting, so I am now "officially" a graduate student at the U of O. I thought I'd share some words, ones in which I wrote for this specific meeting. This statement outlines where I was, where I am now, and where I want to be: In my first year at the graduate program at the University of Oregon, my skill set, practice, material selection, and research focused on the realm of soft sculpture, addressing themes of loss, memory, and displacement. I explored sewing various 2D and 3D objects such as, a to scale upright piano as a memento mori to a home I had previously lived, that was on its way to decimation, a suitcase full of fabric band-aids as a metaphor to my displacement and transitional state, carrying band-aids as a signifier for healing and repairing my various wounds of heartbreak and longing, and a large quantity of college ruled loose leaf paper in which I sewed in my own poetic fragments, utilizing repetition in its infinite form and allusion of reality. I discovered my relationship with fabric, using it as evidence of a past, a process of remembering and repetition, a material of portability and cultural memory. I explore personal narrative connected with heartbreak, loss, and displacement. I mine personal memories to create work with a widespread understanding, such as dislocation of home and the relocation that prevails, the ending of a short term or long term romantic relationship, the death of a family member or someone close to you. I use short, poetic fragments of text to direct the narrative, to draw upon a moment in the story, similar to the climax in a song where the music becomes concentrated in a powerful and all encompassing force. I read and research text that resonates with my own past from sources such as poetry, graphic novels, and nonfiction, and with these influences formulate my own fragmented language. I incorporate the text in a multitude of ways, such as painting the text in the installation space, sewing words onto fabric sculptures, using string pinned to the wall to form words, and speaking them in a performance. I'm exploring various ways in which I can transform the same text from one medium to another such as an installation I created for the Laverne Krauss gallery, where I reconstructed a comic I drew into an installation space. I set up the space with three dimensional objects coming out of the wall, such as a paper telephone and suitcase, and drawings on the wall of suitcases and domestic furniture, to create a fictitious reality, insinuating that the remains of the comic were still intact. I constructed a telephone cord out of fabric that performed as a messenger, moving the viewer from each segment of the text, similar to the gutters or white margins in the standard format of comics. Although this allowed for an immersive, sensory experience, I wanted to transition into a format that provided more emotional heft.. With this intent, I drew and printed a moving narratological image, thinking similarly in to the structure of a cinematic reel, stage theatrics, and forms of puppetry. The piece allowed me to verbalize the text to an audience, and as I turned the dowels, the image moving from frame to frame in a 4X2 inch window, I discovered, an intimacy and vulnerability between viewer and performer. The performance made references to story telling, one of the earliest forms of communication and a way we culturally channel events in words, images, and sounds. This one on one interaction set the viewer up for ultimate heartbreak.This piece stands as a mock-up for further investigation. Questions and ideas I am continuing in examining are methodologies in structuring a narrative, a further investigation in earlier forms of animation in providing an intimate environment that will lend itself to moments of vulnerability and heartbreak, creating a language that will discern to the masses, fragmentation, abstraction, and distortion in imagery within the makeup and process of remembering, collaging imagery of the real and imagined. How can I further investigate and convey the point or shift at which we move from spectator to subject of a story, and what can be discovered between fragmenting a narrative and filling in the gaps? And there you have it. Thought I should give some dialogue as to where I am headed with my work. I will be posting photos within the next week or so of the work I completed this fall. Thanks for reading. Sam