Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Walter "Rusty" Crump

I walked into the Brant gallery to find a projector and screen set up in the middle of the room. I was confused by the work on the walls and what the talk was going to be about, but then I realized the work on the walls had nothing to do with the talk and I walked towards the tables set up along the windows. I look at the black and white photographs with facination of how can a single pinhole create such warped images as if I was looking through a fish-eye lense. The warped images remind me slightly of Gursky's photographs. I moved down along the table and came upon a various assortment of cameras. I found the cameras to also be pieces of art for they were decorated with collages accented by paint and various other things.

I sat down in the back and the slide show started. The artist introduced himself. He said his name was Walter Crump but people call him "Rusty". He got that name from his mother for she thought he was going to have red hair. He told us he original was schooled in painting and printmaking and teaches at the Commonwealth School near Copley square. He became interested in photography when his students wanted to have a photography course. He originally was a traditional photographer but when all of his equipment was stolen out of his car in Worcester, MA he decided to stick with just pinhole cameras. Crump then presented some of the work from the AIB exhibit. The show consists of work by seven Polish pinhole artists. The photographs were amazing and made me want to see the whole show at AIB.

He explained how pinhole cameras don't have a depth of field therefore creating very surrealistic photographs. He explained that the photos look warped because the hole creates and elipse where the edges are stretched and the center is a circle. He said he finds joy out of happenstance and also explained that you don't know what you will get until the film is developed. This is not true for paper negatives. Paper negatives? I had never heard of paper negatives. He explained that it is just plain black and white photo paper. I was amazed, I finally found a way to use my extra photo paper. This definitely sparked my interest and who knows maybe a project...

Fiona Tan

" It started off as a search, now it feels as if I'm constantly in search of my search". Fiona Tan

Fiona Tan was born in Indonesia in 1966 and currently works in Amsterdam. She is a video artist that creates a portrait of humanity. She composes both actual footage and pictures to create an unbias portrait that record time's passage. She uses her work to show you a culture that you wouldn't think about. Through her work you are able to indentify with the other culture and learn to see that they are similar to me and you. She searches for the truth and the true nature behind all human beings.

Her most well known project was created for the UCLA Hammer Museum in 2004 in conjunction with both the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. The project called "Correction" was a three hour long video portrait of both prisoners and guards at four prisons, three in Illinois and one in California. She had them stand still looking straight into the camera. By using control she was able to capture the slightest of movements made by the guards and inmates. It was projected on six screens and were placed to create a Panopticon, which was designed to watch over prisoners in the 1700s.

Tan creates her work by using photos and images and video stills or video in a portrait style. She places her figures in vertical position almost like a typical portrait. Her style is that of a simple documentary that shows no bias to the final piece. This allows the viewer to bring their own thoughts and ideas to the piece. The projections are very simplistic and straightforward for Tan's ability to control the shot allows the true nature of the person to come through.

"blurs the line between film and photography - between the moving and the static image - and between viewer and viewed" Art Press

Further Reading:
tele-journeys, MIT List Visual Arts Center Cambridge, MA 2002 p. 30-31, 39-40

Rollig, Stella, :Video as a Female Terrain Springer-Verlag / Wien 2000 p. 190-195

Afterimage 33 no2 52-3 S/O 2005 Inmate Intimacy? Fiona Tan: Correction

Art In America 99 no10 176 N 2005 Fiona Tan at the New Museum of Contemporary Art

Art Press no316 74-5 O 2005 FIONA TAN


Public Exhibitions:

Cynthia Atwood

I went to see the work of Cynthia Atwood with my alternative photo on fabric class. Cynthia Atwood is a local artist that works with fabrics and composition to compose amazing works of art. Each has its own little perfections and surprises. Cynthia was there to give us a talk about her work. She told us she works with fabric because of the texture and feel as she works with the medium. The interesting thing is it is only a personal experience that she gets to have for she has plastered the walls with do not touch signs. The works have a very natural and organic flowing feeling. They seem almost plant like. Each piece was created by tucking and stiching, both hand and machine, until Cynthia thought it was completed. She explained that some pieces take three or four times to complete for she will change her mind on the color. She also explained that one of her pieces was completed but the fabric got a stain on it, so she had to unstich and restich new fabric onto her piece. The room flowed as the work gave the room a calm and relaxing feeling. Cynthia's work was whimsical for I could imagine a world where these pieces would come to life.

chutes and ladders

My installation was like a game of chutes and ladders. There were times where I was climbing up all of the ladders, but then I fell down a chute. I realized my idea was there, but it didn't completely lend itself to the viewer. The viewer found no purpose in interacting with my installation. They would climb the ladder only to find words, and to most people that is not satisfying. I needed a hook, a way to draw people up the ladder and to help the viewer understand where to go on the ground. Sure people felt uncomfortable, but that was it. There was no inner satisfaction of meaning or feeling just a wow I climbed a ladder and now I am going to have to get down. I think the words were not enough and I feel the words are an after thought. I think my main purpose was not just to make people feel uncomfortable but to give them satisfaction in what they were doing. Even though my classmates made a lot of great suggestions I feel this project needs to go on a list of things to work out later.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


I am stuck in a rut and I can't seem to find my way out. I have these visions in my mind or what I want to do but when I try to get them out my mind goes blank. I start to think about one thing and then another pops up. I don't have much experience in installation work but I am willing to struggle with it.

I am an adult but when it comes to my art I seem to take a role of a child. My voice is lost among my art as a child's is lost among a crowd of adults. I can't get the attention I want except when I fall flat on my face as I jump around the adults to get their attention. My voice has grown slowly into a teen but I still have moments when I crawl back towards being a baby and having the crowd of adults saying how cute.

I know I want the viewer to feel uncomfortable and I want my message to give them that reaction. I plan to work with simple sentences or even just words to cause the viewer to react in the way I want them to. I don't know if it will be successful but it is a learning process and the more mistakes I make the more I will learn. I just hope my mistakes are too big that I fall into a deeper hole.