Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Art Event: Department of Art and Art History SMP Show 2013

Michael Bargamian, Chance Hazelton and Amanda Schmeltz are currently exhibited in Boyden Gallery.  Seeing as they are all seniors here at St. Mary's they are showing their St. Mary's Projects as well as speaking on them.  The exhibit opened Monday, April 15th and will be open until Saturday, April 20th.

Michael Bargamian, know to many as Mikey-B, is addressing mankind's dependency on written word.  He states that "words are controlling us constantly and we often become dependent on this manipulation in order to function in our modern world".  In order for the audience to question their perception of written word Mikey-B has left the second half of sentences scrawled into his work illegible.  Because of this the viewer can never fully grasp what he has written, and instead has to ponder potential phrases and interpretations.  In my opinion this makes the piece partially the viewer's; the artistic projection and the viewer's interpretation become an interactive art piece.

I am a huge fan of Mikey as both a being and an artist.  I believe the concept and aesthetic he is aiming for is achieved and even surpassed.  The simple color palettes and somewhat messy mediums used in producing his art contrast the complex and ordered state of language.  Upon viewing the exhibit I did question what many of the pieces said and turned it over in my mind for a while.  When I found out that was the point I kind of laughed a bit; his work was definitely effective.

Overflow, Amanda Schmeltz's installation, is a site-specific installation formed from circle cutouts and painted circles.  Her aim is to express the comfort, relief and awe she experiences in relation to her Christian faith.  She hopes to have the audience "reflect upon their own sense of self in relation to their surrounding world, just as Christianity beckons [her] into a reflection about [herself] in [her] environment."  I would say that Amanda is both aesthetically and conceptually successful in her installation.  The blue circles are calming as well as overwhelming; from what I know of her efforts behind this piece her relationship with God is quite similar.  Viewing this installation was humbling because of it's size.  Personally, when anything is large enough to walk through and under I feel a greater connection due to physically interacting with the piece.

Chance Hazelton's aim is to "remind people to stop speeding through life and finding shortcuts and instead reinvigorate your relationship with the world around you."  Today we are flooded with images and symbols that are synonymous with words and phrases.  Rather than appreciating our surroundings strictly for their visual value, we speed past them and have quantitative, not qualitative, interactions.  Chance constructed three images using a variety of multi-media tools.  Her goal was to breakdown ordinary landscapes into something unfamiliar through "removing color, inducing an extreme linear perspective and including collaged reproductions of the images."  I believe Chance was successful in unfamiliarizing a landscape, causing the viewer to linger and appreciate their surroundings rather than pass them by.

Overall this exhibit was awesome to attend and it was great to see friends exhilarated by their final project.
Hopefully I will have the pleasure of viewing some of their future work.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Chris Coyier: Web Designer

Chris Coyier, a web designer from Verona, Wisconsin, is the founder of the site CSS-Tricks.  In middle school he identified himself as a nerd.  The combination of his love for computers and passion for art is perfect for web design; he thinks "of design as the perfect compromise between art and computer nerdery."  Since getting into the field he has worked for multiple agencies including SurveyMonkey and Wufoo, stating that a motivating factor in his work is "encouragement from the community on all the things [he does]. That gets addictive."

Outside of web design and developing Chris enjoys playing a variety of acoustic instruments.  He is relieved to finally be at the point of competence where playing music is relaxing, and no longer frustrating.  Other than that he likes "a lot of normal people things like live music, good TV, good movies, sporting events, good food etc."

Coyier's current website, CSS-Tricks, is all about how to make functionalaesthetically pleasing websites.  CSS-Tricks includes everything from demo videos to forums and also has a gallery of web pages and digital art.  Under the snippets tab, viewers can find coding for html, CSS, htaccess, PHP. javascript, jQuery and Wordpress.  A tab that I personally consider incredibly useful is the Almanac.  It contains an A to Z list of CSS selectors and properties.  This seems like a helpful tool for individuals like myself who need to navigate the unfamiliar waters of web design.

Visually I think that Coyier's site is wonderful but I have no idea what any of the posts are about.  I assume that his goal of assisting in the design and development of web pages is being achieved, seeing as there are countless tutorials and posts that I don't understand a lick of.  The primary and secondary colors he uses throughout the site make certain areas pop and draw the eye.  The site is also easily navigable and user-friendly.  However, for someone unfamiliar with web design, the blocks of confusing text are a bit unsettling.  I think breaking posts up with images or filler color would be a nice addition.  Other than that Chris Coyier's site is quite lovely.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Project 2

Vito Acconci Reading

"An open public space, like the piazza, is a vast multidirectional space.  People are dots sprinkled across the floor; one dot slides into another and slips past another to continue on its own.  A number of dots queue up to form a dotted line of tourists who follow a flag and crisscross another dotted line of tourists.  Here and there, as if scattered through a sea, dots merge together into islands.  It's every person for him- or herself here, every group for itself, and the tower above all.  The space is public, but the people in it don't function as a public.  In order for public space to be a gathering place, where all the people are gathered together as a public, it needs a gathering point.  To be seen and read as a public, to act and/or be used as a public, the dots have to form a circle, as if around a point; or they have to form a line, as if toward a point; or they have to blend together so that they form a point themselves, which blots and spreads out to cover the piazza floor."


This paragraph from the Vito Acconci reading really struck me.  While Acconci's main goal is in discussing space, social interaction obviously ties in as well.  Human beings do need to share a common point, or possess some sort of commonality in order for an interaction to take place.  This could be as simple as being in the same room with someone, or as complicated as sharing the same blood line.  However, if beings share the goal of interaction, the necessity for an outside commonality no longer exists.  People would be interacting for the sake of interacting, and getting to know one another.  Acconci discusses the influence of sex on interactions, stating that it is a driving force.  While I believe this to be true, it doesn't necessarily mean that every interaction is sex driven.

Space as public, but people not functioning as a public can be true but is also reversible.  The individual 'dots' forming the public, once open to meeting each other  do 'form a point themselves'.  I wonder if it is possible for this larger point, or larger interaction, to lose boundaries.  I feel that in order to do so, individuals would have to loosen their grip on the self and be open to individuals and experiences beyond their comfort zones and possibly their understanding.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Artist Talk- Natalia González Requena

Natalia Gonz├ílez Requena is an artist from Santa Cruz, Bolivia living and working part time out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  In 2002 Natalia obtained a licentiate in Fine Arts at the Pontifical Catholic University in Santiago, Chile.  She then went on to get both a Master of Fine Arts in studio art and a Certificate in the College Teaching of Art from the Maryland Institute College of Art, in Baltimore, Maryland.  Natalia has instructed courses at the NUR University in Bolivia and the UPSA University in Santa Cruz.  She has had numerous installations and exhibitions in Santa Cruz, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Buenes Aires and various other locations.

Natalia's work is structured by three components: body, time, and space.  Much of her work involves recordings, which she considers "as a trace of interactions in a field of experience."  The body becomes the subject of the experience, time the continuum that holds the events, and space interacts with the relative position and direction of everything.  "The use of recording equipment, video or audio, goes beyond the role of documentation by expanding into the category of drawing."

I can definitely understand and appreciate Natalia's fascination and investigation of the relationship between body, time and space.  However, had this not been explained to me, I would have had no idea what her art was supposed to convey.  I am curious as to whether there are written explanations at her exhibits or if it her exhibits are left open to interpretation.  An aspect of her artwork that I enjoy is her use of deskilled media, or using materials in unusual ways.  An example of this is using a projection screen as a light source, rather than as a mode to project a large image.

Natalia worked alongside Valentina Bacherer on Borrowed Time, an awarded installation exhibited at the XVIII Biennial in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.  In this exhibit she took photographs of neighborhood guards sitting in the chairs they occupy while on watch.  She then gave the guards new chairs in exchange for their old ones.  The chairs were then displayed in front of the photos taken.  Of all her pieces, this is my favorite.  I find the tattered, pieced together chairs and images of the men beautiful.  They are both worn with age and experience, but give hope for safety through their reliability.

Thursday, March 21, 2013