Close-Ups

One of the things that’s lost when seeing art via the internet is being able to see tiny details and the texture of the object. These details are one of my favorite things about my FLOW piece. In the more detailed images, the way the graphics were converted to vectors is really cool — the image gets broken up into shapes of solid colors. In most of the trees, you can see the grain of the plywood through the translucent paint or ink.

These photos are by Tsubasa Berg.

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Pati & Ben – Shrine Tour

Patricia Dominguez and her husband Benjamin came on a tour today. Pati is doing her own shrine-like experiment/performance with a tree, so the act of shrine building came naturally to them; They added interesting found objects to each shrine as offerings. We walked all the way to the end and finally confirmed that the fourth shrine is alive and well. We even built our own shrine — a large one which we made out of metal debris and an amazing set of strings of beads for a doorway. Pati found a book called “Strange Stories, Amazing Facts” with some pretty eccentric stories and images.

She spoke about what she saw as “looking at our civilization from the future. As closest as Robert Smithson’s tour as one can get…pray[ing] to the elements of the industrial landscape.” She also compared the graffiti to cave paintings and indigenous art. Some do in fact look to be influenced from aboriginal art.

She suggested I push the participatory elements of the tour, and I have experience doing this from my Elastic City walk… I can just imagine shrines accumulating along the length of the cut.

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Mod Podge

In case you were thinking of doing an image transfer onto balsa wood using Mod Podge, I tested three different methods for you.

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Method One: Inkjet print coated with Elmers; Balsa coated with Mod Podge. Smoosh together and leave overnight.

Result: Worked fine but it didn’t look quite right until it was dry, so I didn’t realize it turned out until a few days later. Also, the Elmers warps the wood. The colors are bright and the glue is glossy.

Method Two: Inkjet print coated with Mod Podge. Smoosh to balsa and leave overnight.

Result: FAIL.

Method Three: Laserjet print (from a photocopy at Staples) coated with Mod Podge. Smoosh to balsa and leave overnight.

Result: Worked fine. Colors are less bright than with Elmers. Matte finish. No warping. Image seems to be more a part of the wood rather than something that sits on top of it.

Recently

I don’t believe I’ve introduced my new blowfish on this blog yet, though he’s a familiar site on Facebook. He’s about the size of a basketball.

Ilse Murdock – “It’s”

I saw Ilse’s beautiful new work at Tibor de Nagy gallery on Monday.

These paintings are all made on found surfaces. Frames, glass, and stretchers. Some of them are stuffed with her personal trash from the day she made the painting, and then the canvas is stretched over the trash. This creates a soft, bulging shape, which you can’t see in these images.

Her palattes are also included in the painting itself. It’s all there in one object: image, landscape, process, and material.

I’m also a big fan of the title she chose for the show. One reason is the apostrophe, which refers to something that’s absent.

Roadside Attractions

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“It’s perfectly simple,” said Wednesday. “In other countries, over the years, people recognized the places of power. Sometimes it would be a natural formation, sometimes it would just be a place that was, somehow, special. They knew that something important was happening there, that there was some focusing point, some channel, some window to the Immanent. And so they would build temples or cathedrals, or erect stone circles, or…well, you get the idea.”

“There are churches all across the States, though,” said Shadow.

“In every town. Sometimes on every block. And about as significant, in this context, as dentists’ offices. No, in the USA, people still get the call, or some of them, and they feel themselves being called to from the transcendent void, and they respond to it by building a model out of beer bottles of somewhere they’ve never visited, or by erecting a gigantic bat house in some part of the country that bats have traditionally declined to visit. Roadside attractions: people feel themselves pulled to places where, in other parts of the world, they would recognize that part of themselves that is truly transcendent, and buy a hot dog, and walk around, feeling satisfied on a level they cannot truly describe, and profoundly dissatisfied on a level beneath that.”

― Neil GaimanAmerican Gods

FLOW Proposal

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Last year I made a series of landscape collages, titled Field Studies. These collages were composed of thousands of images of trees that I cut out of New York and New Jersey phone book ads. These tree images ranged from the simplest geometric abstractions to detailed color photos. By amassing these diverse representations of nature into a varied but coherent landscape, I was making what could be called subliminal forests of New York.

For the FLOW program, I am interested in selecting 5 to 8 images of trees from local advertisements, enlarging them, and integrating them into the real landscape of New York on Randall’s Island. I envision them as two-dimensional shapes to be installed in the park south of Field 71. They will be 4 to 7 feet tall and made from weather-proofed wood, anchored in the ground by concrete. I will consult with the VLA to make sure that I am not violating any copyright with my selection of images.

The fake trees will provide similar benefits to park-goers as real trees do: shade and aesthetic appeal. The sculptures will also create a visual relationship to existing trees. However, the use of chemically-treated lumber for a sculpture of a tree is clearly ironic, using a similar conceptual mechanism as Magritte’s famous Treachery of Images, but adding another layer: the identity of the material. This project would call attention to the artifice and design of parks as some of the only “natural” settings one encounters in a city. As Robert Smithson wrote, “The authentic artist cannot turn his back on the contradictions that inhabit our landscape.”

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