As my final critique before showtime looms, I am prepared. I think. In the past few weeks I have been working with mentors and visiting artists to narrow down my image selection, as well as size requirements and framing options for everything pertaining to the upcoming thesis exhibition. I had a really awesome studio visit with Brian Ulrich, Anna Shteynshleyger, Michael Goodson, Shannon Benine, and Tim Rietenbach all at the same time. The idea was daunting at first, but having the three excellent photographic minds of Ulrich, Shteynshleyger and Benine as well as Michael and Tims outside input was incredibly helpful, and being able to have a cohesive conversation about my work that bounced between all of us answered lots of questions, and helped me practice for talking about the images. The best part about the visit was having Anna and Brian both recognize the feeling I’ve been working to evoke within my images. The existence of the fallow and unexceptional nature of my images was very noticeable to them… which was a welcoming result.
The lightboxes are still in play, and I am focusing on size, frame material and thickness, as well as color options to best match the other works and to fit in the gallery.
The recent development and changes that are occurring are as follows:
a. I’ve eliminated two entire series from the work that will be shown – mainly due to size constraints in the gallery location I have, I got feedback about the risks of having an overly-crowded space and I have to agree. Also, both the series that were eliminated don’t precisely convey the same concepts as the pieces to be shown, so they may become referential in my written thesis, but won’t be shown in the gallery.
b. Relics. As I have been shooting over the last two semesters I have been collecting small items/relics from each place I photograph. These items are similar to the photographs in their unexceptional nature – straw, broken bricks, a broken shovel, gravel, etc. – that exist in the spaces I have photographed. The potential plan right now is to possibly have a shelf or pedestal displaying these items, to help drive home the concept of just how overlooked the existence of these places is, and literally inferring importance by placing them on a pedestal in a gallery setting. Still mulling this idea over.
c. video? Anna Shteynshleyger mentioned how interesting a still video of these places could be. A video piece that just remains stationary, as if it were one of my photographs, simply existing with subtle movements and the ambient sound found within these spaces. I believe it might be a little too late for that idea, in terms of the exhibition, but I am going to experiment with adding a sound element to the still/lightbox images in a way to hold the attention of the viewer a bit longer. We shall see.
I’ve been reading some new things and looking at a few new artists, the most influential so far is Michael Vahrenwald and his Universal Default series, amazing work!
Next time I critique, my work will be in the gallery, so this is it on the random musings about selection and hanging issues, here we go!