Had a good 1-2-1 with Dr. Wendy. She suggested that I start working on my assignment should consider the ‘road’ as the theme for my CRoP. To take a look at the work of Ed Ruscha,
and explore the works of film makers and other artists. I had mentioned that HWY-138, a rather famous American Highway, had spawned the idea for my project: ‘Fences’ formed when I drove out to the location where David Hockney’s photographed the elemnets for his collage he made in 1982 at the crossroads of Ave 165th East and Hwy 138. I always return to regions where great art is and was made, from ancient Greece to modern HWY-138, and places in between.
Here I find inspiration and in some way get in touch with the spirit of the artist, just by knowing that some-one who I admire, has roamed around the very spot I stand.
While driving this highway, also known as the Pearblossom Highway, I began noticing symbols and signs that interested me. Traveling, be it a highway, seaway, or any other means of getting from one place to another, stimulates ideas and at the same time is a period of relaxation and incubation that allows these ideas to ferment. The eyes and ears and all the senses are the yeasts of the brew and the senses stimulate thoughts and the thoughts become concepts and the concepts become the materialized form of the ideas.
David Hockney Collage: The J. Paul Getty in Los Angeles. (2017). Pearblossom Hwy., 11 – 18th April 1986, #2 (Getty Museum). [online] Available at: http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/105374/david-hockney-pearblossom-hwy-11-18th-april-1986-2-british-april-11-18-1986/ [Accessed 28 Oct. 2019].
Ed Ruscha: Getty.edu. (2011). In Focus: Ed Ruscha (Getty Center Exhibitions). [online] Available at: https://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/focus_ruscha/ [Accessed 28 Oct. 2019].
Feb-15: As this week draws to a close, I feel better about the concept of my project is getting stronger. I have ideas about crossing the threshold this time. I will be ready to cross over into the abstract in the next module.
Plan on going down to Freestyle Photo in Hollywood to-morrow, However I would like to go and see Hockney’s new exhibition at LA Louver in Venice. I like the way Hockney works between painting and photography. This is quite a bit of drive time. Too much distance in one day, so may land up going to Venice on Sunday and pick up some paper at Samy’s Camera in Culver City close by. May also drop into BowHaus Photo on Venice Blvd. to discuss making some negatives from digital files.
As I write this I think Sunday looks like a more productive day. Three birds with one stone, plus a visit to the beach, have a slice of pizza at Abbot Kinney’s Pizza. The best, I’m starving already! Nothing like photography, art, good pizza plus California beach sunshine. All in one shot.
Feb-14: Scanned some images of my fences that I made earlier in the week. This time, I included my shadow in the image. Response was positive on this weeks webinar with Paul. He Liked the fact that I was leaving a footprint in the image.
I feel a little stronger about the series. It is approaching abstract, and feel that by the end of this module, I will be well on the way to doing an abstract FMP, which was my goal at the beginning of the MA.
This weeks lecture and reading on the constructed image has been very beneficial to me, because I am thinking how to construct the image in order to achieve my “theme” and as well as the use of a physical fence as a motif. This module I will be crossing the fence line metaphorically. The signifier is my shadow. It passes through the barrier with no problem.
I can cross the fence line physically with no problem. I have to do it mentally this module, The ‘fence’ being my thoughts: “the work sucks, it’s worn out, it’s no good.” that’s the difficult barrier to cross. However, there seems to be light at the end of the fence, I have some ideas which I will incorporate into the image, like my shadow, I will also be constructing images and leaving something out. or covered up. Initially this is being done digitally, but will be printing soon and will be able to do it on the prints directly. The idea being that something is’ left out’ of the picture.
Feb-12: I went out yesterday, very early, it was snowing the night before, so I thought I might as well make some images of Fences in the snow. Thought-out this module, I will be making images during the day, night, rain, snow and shine. Hopefully to see how the image mood changes with the time of day as well as with the seasons.
My practice is leaning heavily towards the abstract this module. I think it will serve my project well. This is what I set out to do at the beginning of the MA, so far its been a mix and match of representation and abstraction. However, I am not in the mood of making ‘pretty’ images of fences, and by the same token, I don’t want to abstract the fence out of existence. If I can make a comparison of where I would like the series to fall would be looking at the work of the painter Paul Klee. His work is neither representative of completely abstract, it have that perfect balance of using the object / with the abstract.
Whats good so far, is that I am thinking about methods to achieve the position of my practice now, and how to fine tune the work, before I photograph. I am planning to do work in post, both analogue as well as digital, to manipulate the images I am making. As yet have not much time in that department, I am just collecting and organizing my raw and 35mm images at is stage and thinking about a way to do this.
WORK DONE THIS WEEK ON PROJECT. Friday Feb 8: Loaded up a few rolls of film, and went driving (125miles) looking at fences. I found some nice images along the Interstate 5 to-day, there was a board on the barbed wire fence that said “Repent.”
I have watched two video’s on David Hockney’s Pearblossom HWY138. The first on youtube. https://youtu.be/sD123svCFHQ The second was from KCET, but cannot seem to locate it again. From the first video I managed to figure out the exact location where he photographed the collage, and to get some idea how he photographed it. When I got to the location, it was a bit disappointing because it had changed so much. None of the elements David used where there anymore. This motivated me to think of a different way to make an image and came up with the Polyptych of five vertical separate elements, in addition, after remembering Ed Ruschas ‘Every Building on Sunset Strip-1966’
The idea came to mind to explore the entire Pearblossom Highway to see what it offered. Along the way I have discover some very interesting things. The location of and old socialist colony from 1914. very close to Hockney’s location. Maybe a half mile away. That Aldous Huxley lived out there for a brief period, also very close by.
So with a location and a concept, I am considering making a series of images and videos&films along Pearblossom Highway and title the piece ‘Pearblossom Highway HWY 138 Start to Finish.’ I have a collection of camera both motion and still and am entertaining the idea of making the series using different formats in motion and still for the project.
Should the photographs resonate with the space and place? This question, like anything else depends on a number of factors. If the imagery is part of the environment, I would say yes, sometime a piece is strong enough to survive on its own, without having to be in context with it’s surroundings. Generally I think the weaker a piece or a photograph is the more labels, framework and context it needs, because without it, it would just collapse or fall apart.
In my opinion, most art-works are so weak that without a framework it will just integrate into oblivion. The modern day ‘artist’ has learned to capitalise off the ‘soup label’ without which you as a viewer would nothing about the work, or even it is is fact a piece of art, or a nother piece of sidewalk garbage that has just blown in. In my piece that will happen at the site below, I hope the viewer steals, mutilates, or destroys the image. The only reason I am going to leave a guestbook is to find out why. Why steal, destroy or mutilate? It’s a very brutal location, the people driving past the installation are blue collar workers and most of them won’t get it. Some may steal it because they may perceive it as a piece with value, they may destroy it because it is out of place and does not fit their. This is all conjecture. I would love to see how well I can predict the future.
I have submitted my space, its the one below. I had already made up my mind to do this before the weeks activity required it. I just posted it, it was a little late this week. however, I will go back and see the response.
My methodology if I understand the word correctly, would be a system or ideology of methods or a system of methods that i will employ Well, I have moved out from the strict abstract limited restricted environment of my home out into the desert. I will employ the camera instead of camera less photography, I am going incorporate motion picture into the mix, I am going to draw on my prior technical, photographic skill and equipment and empty new ones such as vintage digital cameras, and I am going to take an open approach to the out come of the project to see where it goes as opposed to a specific location that I had in Carmel to get my work shown. I will show it there if the opportunity came but I am no longer aiming for it like i did in the past. I feel like I have been unshackled, in a lot of ways. No that i did not understand the advantages of chance and opens. I have studied the Tao and the works of John Cage for a very long time. Rigidity is the mark of death. I understand this conceptually, now I am having the opportunity to experience it. I guess the old adage is true. One can never in words explain the color red, to someone who has never had the experience of seeing it. Im seeing it!
I have already considered an alternative space to show my work for this module. This is Llano Del Rio (A socialist commune, that was attempted here around the turn of the 20th century) off Pearblossom Highway very close to where David Hockney photographed his collage in 1986, it is a half a mile from there. I like this space for a number of reasons, one, mentioned above, secondly, it’s the remains of an old hotel from around 1914.
My show is going to be in the lobby of this hotel with a guestbook, left to the public of the highway immediately to the right off camera 75ft or so, and the elements, which is very harsh out here in the desert. There are a few challenges here besides the people from the highway and the elements. This is a national heritage site and I am going to have to obtain permission to do it.
I figure I will handle the site rep like a gallery curator, it is going to take some salesmanship to sell them the idea. Besides having become fascinated by this highway through the desert, I have discovered some interesting people who have worked and lived out here. Another person of interest was Aldous Huxley. Author of Doors of Perception.
I am considering doing my FMP along HWY138. As I have been traveling this highway back and forth, some interesting things are coming to light. Besides David Hockney’s Pearblossom HWY- 1984.
I discovered that Aldous Huxley lived out there. That there was a Socialist Commune that was out there along HWY 138 back in 1914. Ironically all around 165 Street East where Hockney made his collage.
I was looking through some photos on my phone today, and discovered that I had actually seen the original image at the George Pompidou in Paris last August while on vacation in Europe.
The strange thing about it is that I do not remember seeing it or even taking this photograph.
Earlier that day, I was at Jardin du Luxembourg and I made an image of three chairs. Later on a visit to the pompidou, I saw a painting of David Hockneys, which was somewhat similar.
I will be going out to HWY 138 this coming weekend, and will go and look at the site of the Llano Del Rio site myself to get a feeling of it and may ask a few people in the area about the place.
I am contacted the State about using the site, because it is a historical land mark, and they said that it is private property and I need to contact the owner. So I will be busy next week to inquire how to do that.
I was interested to see how the location looked some 30 years later. Also to see how he transformed the landscape into the actual art piece. When I arrived at the location, to my disappointment the location had changed tremendously. The highway was widened to four lanes, the stop sign was removed and replaced with a traffic light. The HWY 138 sign was gone and the stop sign ahead was missing.
Originally it was my intent to make a 180 degree panorama of the location with a set of five polaroids. I also took my Leica Digilux made in 1997/8 to make a few images using old technology. I made the five polaroids using my Fuji 4×5 polaroid camera, but was not happy with the results. The images were too dark and the resolution and color did not serve the image well. It was difficult to see the traffic light color against the back lit sky.
So I decided to experiment with the Leica Digilux. I was limited by a small smart media card 3MB and 25 images, the battery of the camera is old and was running down. The winds were about 70MPH and the Temperature was around a 100 degrees Fahrenheit, so conditions were not pleasant, in addition I had driven out 21/2 hours to the desert location. So, I had to make something out of the experience.
I decided to make a series of five images, and decided to name it a polyptych instead of pentaptych which is the correct name for five images, because polyptych sounds more fluid and it means many.
I decided to leave the date stamp on the image. This was the default of the manufacturers production date. Felt like I was looking at the images back in 1998. I used the color red for the traffic light, same color as old stop sign of David Hockney’s image, also it clashes with the color in nature symbolising the clash between industry and nature. Green was the same as the bushes and yellow blended to much with the sand. I went over to all the vertical poles, sign, light and Joshua tree and set them up side by side. I made a few versions on this image this one the horizon line is more of less even. In the others I had the centre image larger, more in line with the requirements of the polyptych, and in another version, I had all the verticals in the centre.