Week-10-Contextual Research

This week I will be looking at the works of Stephen Gill,  who creates work thought destruction of the negative. In the last module, I went through my destruction phase (leaving prints out in the elements) however, my approach has grown out of that into creating images by using some of the elements of destruction and past imagery to create new images. To build, construct and grow new images using parts of the old. Like temple builders of old, they used some of the old material in the new construction.  I figure every artist has to go through a destructive stage (like John Baldessari  who burnt all his work.)

John Bladerssari Cremation Project. Image courtesy of the Tate.

it’s part of the ‘rise of the phoenix’  the return from the ashes. Been there, done that, I’m interested in moving forward in creating something new. I think that is what art is about. Every era has the art of its time, a new way of producing work.


I looked at the webite of Stephen Gill. and ordered his book. “Best Before End”  As far as his website goes there is a lot of work, and it is well organized into albums. I like this, it’s easy to navigate. Each album has a title, and each title contains the images. I will organize my albums in a similar way. This style and outlay works for me. I like easy to navigate and easy access to the work.

I also see that he publishes his own books, and his company is: Nobody Books. He has quite a few books published. Maintains he can have full control of the images and work.”All decisions made during production are therefore directed by the requirements of the work rather than any external influences or considerations.” Ansel Adams had the same approach with his printing all his own images. They were all under his control. (This is why I have decided to print my own analogue images instead of sending them out to a lab)


John Baldessari: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/john-baldessari-687/lost-art-john-baldessari

Stephen Gill: https://www.stephengill.co.uk/portfolio/news

Nobody Books: https://www.nobodybooks.com

Week-9-Contextual Research

This week, looked at the work of Hamish Fulton, ‘the walking artist’.  One of his quotes I like is: “If in doubt, keep walking.” 1  Churchill who also supposedly said: “If going through hell, keep going.”  (there is not citation to this quote)2  however it is generally attributed to him. I presume that no matter what happens eventually one can walk one’s way out of it, and I think it’s a good thought to have when going through difficult creative, as well as other times.  I have always like quotes, so having a quote associated with my images come naturally, and I would like to capitalize off this for my FMP.


Hamish Fulton: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/fulton-wind-through-the-pines-p77621

2  https://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/09/14/keep-going/

Week-8-Contextual Research

Bought a book titled: 101 Things to learn in art school. By: Kit White.  A book of simple adages and maxims. I like this type of information. Short, to the point, and deep down you know it’s right. It’s a short, short story and my even help me with titles and captions for my own work.

Quip 12: Perception is a reciprocal action. Alongside was a simple line drawing by the artist Jan Groth (Who I had not heard of)  Immediately I realized that this short adage must have something to do with simplicity and minimalism. And, it does indeed:  human response to images and the beauty of these images even in their simplest form. Jan’s work is so beautiful and simple, and I think, that I can use that approach when I put my FMP to-gether.

From Jan Groth Exhibition:Selected Works 1990 to 2012 Image courtesy of: https://www.contemporaryartdaily.com/


Gallery Visits:

This week, I again went to quite a few galleries and museums. To look at photography and painting. I feel that painters are more innovative than photographers in many ways: in use of medium, style and technique.  This has always interested me as a photographer, and get very inspired when I look at the work of painters around the early 1900-1920’s. As I like abstract photography very much, artists like Klee, Malevich and Kandisnsky are of great interest to me, the way they used color, form and medium to express their views  of the world.

When I go to a gallery or museum, I look closely at technique of the artists.It is interesting to note how the brushstrokes of the artist changed from the middle ages to present day, and how realism and representational changed to abstraction with the advent of new mediums like oils and acrylics that took over from egg-tempra and fresco’s.  The advent of photography around the 1840’s made painters realize that reality was available in a box, and in order to survive or keep the art alive it needed to expand beyond the real and the actual. I feel the same way about photography. With the advent of the digital image and the ubiquity of the medium, most images look the same. Shot on the i-phone or dslr and viewer on a computer screen, i-pad, or i-phone. Most amateur photographers can apply an app to it, to give it a faux unique look, but it’s all in the digital realm. Painters, and even contemporary artists, work and experiment on various surfaces like canvas, jute, paper, cardboard, panel, wood, the list goes on. This coupled with oil, acrylic, water-color, gauche, gives the painter a unique way of working that is not available to the digital photographer, this used to be the case with analogue photography with a myriad of papers, films, developers, that could give the artist a unique look, but is no longer available to photographers who were not raised with the analogue format. I am pleased that I have the ability to work very comfortably in both mediums and will use both for my FMP to create my images.

My primary reason for going to Galleries and museums is to see if I can make a contact somewhere to have my exhibition. So far, it’s all been a bunch of formalities, niceties, platitudes, and fake interest and professional (give me the finger), how ever, I have been in the film business a while, so am quite used to these type of talk, and am quite well informed to spot a genuine person here and there, with still some enthusiasm and genuine less in them, there are not many, but have happened on a few, so will return to them for father attempts to procure a show.

This week, I went to the following galleries, museums and artist studios. Nice to talk to artists themselves, and try to figure from them how they got their first show, and if in fact they are working for a hobby or making a living at it. I even try to get a show at the Getty. I talk to a lot of people. Never know who one can meet.

Kit White: https://www.amazon.com/101-Things-Learn-Art-School/dp/0262016214

The Getty: http://www.getty.edu/museum/

Jan Groth:  http://www.jangroth.net


Gordon Park Exhibition:

Went to see the retrospective of Gordon Parks.

Gordon Park Exhibit – The Getty. Photo by: Pierre Chemaly ©

I look at the artists statements, as well as how the work is presented, the types of frames and matting used.  If it is digital prints or analogue.  How many people attend the work. I also look at how long the photos can ‘hold’ a viewers attention/gaze. (I know with painting, people sit down and go into a trans, sometimes for long while, I saw this happen at the Tate, when viewers looked at Mark Rothko’s work) I have yet to see that kind of dedication to a photographer.


The Residency Gallery.  http://residencyart.com/about-us/

Residency Art Galley Photo by: Pierre Chemaly ©

Went to this very nice small art gallery in Inglewood. Met the curator, Rick Garzon, he is convinced he knows me from somewhere, one of those situations, you know each other, but do not know how or where, anyway, that was a good natural ice-breaker. Had a look around the space, it’s  very nice local art from the area. Brought up the possibility of having a show there, he of course gives the answer, as most do, that his space is booked till 2021, however asked if there is a possibility, he said I should send him some work, so I will follow up on that.

From the series: Home Base. Photo’s courtesy of Residency Art Gallery.

I looked at the work of a local photographer, his series ‘Home Base’  he does work in cyanotype and ‘graffiti’s’ the image. I really liked that, the artist added a local and cultural dimension to the work, and also used a nice medium.

John Chiara, Miroslav Tischy.

Looked at the work of John Chiara, and abstract photographer. He makes his own camera’s and chemical concoctions, to create photographic works.

Photo by: John Chiara. Courtesy of www.johnchiara.com


I enjoy this kind of work myself, as far as using and experimenting with materials,  so his work interested me from that standpoint.  Making own one’s cameras is not new. One of the most interesting photographers I have come across who made his own machines as well was Miroslav Tischey.

Photo by: Miroslav Tischy. Courtesy of Michael Hogopian Gallery.

The reason it is of interest to me is it give a photographer to break out of the digital mode, where all image manipulation is done digitally. Any person with reasonable aptitude for computers can make some very interesting stuff. However working with physical material itself is what interests me, and I like the combination of analogue and digital combined. It has increased my abilities to create unique works many fold.

John Chiara: https://aperture.org/shop/john-chiara-california-3622

John Chiara website: https://www.johnchiara.com/los-angeles

Miroslav Tischy:  https://www.michaelhoppengallery.com/artists/88-miroslav-tichy/overview/

Week-7-Contextual Research

This week, I looked at the work of Ian Hamilton Findlay, at the suggestion of Dr. Wendy. Findlay wrote ‘Concrete Poetry’ also known as ‘Visual Poetry’  “Concrete poetry relates more to the visual than to the verbal arts although there is a considerable overlap in the kind of product to which it refers.” 2  

As a photographer and specifically an abstract one, my work can be a little difficult to understand, the image alone, as well as a title, may not be enough to give the viewer the information they need. I am therefore looking at artists and poets who use the word, as a visual, as it may help me to explain my work better through the word.

It is very interesting to find out that concrete poetry is nothing recent, it was used as the 2nd and 3rd century.  The words form an image, in other words the words are used to draw, a good example would be George Herbert‘s Easter Wings written in 1633.

Easter Wings. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Brilliant, Herbert had the words printed on it’s side, to form the wings of a bird.  Gives me the idea (appropriate) to make a fence with words and photograph it. I had already come up with a series of paintings that spells the word. so far I have painted the ‘F’ and the ‘E’  the rest will be painted as the module progresses.

1. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/ian-hamilton-finlay-1093

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concrete_poetry

Week-6-Contextual Research

This week, I joined the Getty Research Library.  I received my card as a “Stack Reader.”  Can go to the Getty and use the library.  A perk is one gets free parking with reading privileges, it saves $20, so that’s good for a lunch and gas.

Looked up some old periodicals on art. Art&Language, written in the 1960’s, they had all the periodicals except one, was told I can go down and look in the bowels of the library and look if it may be close by, and maybe find it. While there, I discovered and amazing book right where the periodical should have been (but was not/it may be out on loan)  called “The Tree of Life.” Quite ironic or serendipitous, as this is one of my images I am working on for my FMP. It is new images by artists of an ancient symbol. I of course ordered it, and it is a book full of beautiful images made by artists and put on show at the South Bank Center.

The Tree of Life. Image courtesy of www.abebooks.co.uk



Week-5-Contextual Research.


The week went to the following galleries:

WENDE MUSEUM, 10808 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230

BLUM & POE, 2727 La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034


WALTER MACIEL, 2642 s. la cienega blvd., los angeles, ca 90034

LUIS DE JESUS, 2685 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

UNDERGROUND MUSEUM, 3508 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90018

I went to see how the images are exhibited, to give me an idea of how to do mine for the FMP.  Most were run of the mill type galleries, white wall, sterile. The one that interested me most was the last on the tour.  The Underground Museum on West Washington.   The building was a converted store from, painted black, with a big black wrought iron gate, no markings of a gallery other than the address, the curator was an African American male, who used to work at the Broad, then decided on a more personable career and moved to the Underground. He told us during the tour, that they purposefully kept the place “Hidden”  they want their consumers to discover the place.  The first room one enters is a bookstore, then there are some double doors that lead into the gallery. The curator mentioned that he does not even tell people there is a gallery beyond the first room bookstore, they think that’s it, only to find the hidden gallery and manicured garden behind the gallery. I found the gallery very personable, and I liked the fact of “self discovery” The exhibition was photographs  on white walls, however the rooms were underlie, and a pinpoint sources illuminating the photographs. It had a very nice atmosphere to it.

Underground Museum, Los Angeles. Photo: Pierre Chemaly ©
Roy DeCarava: The Work of Art. Underground Museum, Los Angeles. Photo: Pierre Chemaly ©

Really liked the framing of the images. Simple white border with a single matte.  I really like this format, it’s simple clean and very attractive.  I like both black and whites frames with white mattes.  Will most probably go this route (Black with white matte)  for my FMP. I enjoyed Roy’s work, did a lot of street work in NYC, used all natural lighting, the work is contrasty showing the grittiness of NYC.

Weeks 1 Thru 4 Contextual-Research


Film by Luis Bunuel. Courtesy of: imdb.com

This week, I did some research on fences, online.  An old film came up during my search, by Luis Bunuel, called Exterminating Angel. A Black and White film that was written and directed by Bunuel back in 1962. I have always appreciated the Avant-Garde/Surreal art, films and literature, so this type of film appeals to me greatly, and wanted to see if there were any ideas I could glean for my own work.

Basic Plot: A group of aristocrats attend a dinner, at the end of the dinner instead of going home as normal guests would, they start taking off their ties, jackets, furs and clothes, and make themselves comfortable to retire for the night. They find themselves unable to leave the living room, as if there is some kind of invisible “Fence” preventing them leaving. This mind-fence imbibed everyone, and no-one could leave. Eventually, one aristocrats figures a way to get by everyone having to re-enact the events when they came in, and eventually they all mange to get out of the mansion a week later.

What I liked about the film most was the fact that Bunuel introduced the surrealism slowly and right from the beginning. The servants had to suddenly leave,  for no reason, events became stranger and stranger, all with-in a “normal” type narrative. By the time a dis-embodied hand crosses the carpet, it is almost normal and expected. It was not an ‘art’ film for art sake, with weird pretentious  events and happenings, occurring for the sake of weird.  Everything happened weirdly within a well crafted narrative, so I could enjoy the film as a “normal” film, with surreal events and occurrences, happening that did not jar me out of the film story and plot.

This is something I would like to  achieve with my series for my FMP, my constructed images will be surreal and avant-garde but would like it to be accepted as the status quo. I found the piece to be a good lesson in “artisitc” restraint. Also discovered a new composer I had never heard of until this film – Pietro Domenici Paradisi   https://youtu.be/vihM0HbuiPI 

Played by a magnificent pianist. Annarita Santagada

I watched the case-study of Dana Lixenburg. Her project: Imperial Heights. I find it interesting that she new exactly how she going to photographer her subjects, and using a large format 4×5 field camera. Although been done before by Richard Avedon and Dorothea Lange both of which used large format, what I liked was that she was focussed in a small area of Los Angeles. The fact that it started off as a simple magazine commission then blossomed out into exhibitions and a web piece is every artists dream. Unfortunately I do do not have decades of gently unfolding time for this to happen, so I have taken steps to try and get into a gallery for part of my publication. I did like the way the images were shown in the galleries, in a mixture of line and grid, as well as incorporating different sizes. This opposed to exhibitions I have seen where they are all one size and in a single line. hopefully I would like to exhibit this way if I get a gallery exhibition.

Dana Lixenberg exhibition at Photographers Gallery in London 2017

Personally I do not like representational and objective photography, this is a trap for the modernists, so my work will focus on the abstract. I have been working on images since the beginning of the MA, and in the last module I went completely abstract, I may throttle back a little for my FMP, and will most probably do them in B+W, and because the images will be constructed, I will be using a myriad of camera’s ranging from 35mm, widely, stereo and 6×6. The reason being that these formats behave in different ways, and I will be compositing images from these cameras to make my final image. I embrace the digital age, so  I will incorporate digital and well as analogue in my FMP, and attempt to bring these disparaties together into  co-hesive whole, through th abstract image. I will hold it to-gether critically through a theme, as opposed to a singular format.