As the MA draws to a close[ ‘the time has come, the walrus said.’] I have been working diligently on my FMP presentation. One thing that I found very interesting, is that there are changes and developments on the project even after the exhibition is done. I have reconsidered the order of the images and made a few changes for the assignment compared to the exhibition. Some titles have also changed. Writing the CRoP really made me re-evelute a lot of things. My idea of how the exhibition would go, to how it actually went, is eye-opening, I discovered there is approach even within approach or as Gödel proved; there are multiple infinities.
I can only presume that any project is a living breathing entity and can only approach completion and will never reach that absolute while the artist is alive or beyond. This once again makes me cheer and embrace Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem that proves there is no closure or absolute in anything; there is only a tendency. I am happy to say, that I am done with absolutes in work and play, and as long as I can approach my dream, enjoy the tendencies of the dream I will have achieved a goal. This leaves the artist with options, a place to go. I began the MA with abstraction, that was deaf and mute, and ended with abstraction that has my own voice. That’s the abstract of it.!
“Is the journey hard? Yes, till the very end. Will it take long? All day and all night my friend.” -unknown.
Or in terms of the venacular: – Out of the one forest, into the next!
When I met Dr.Steph Cosgrove at the beginning of the MA, her advice was READ,READ, READ. Dr. Wendy advice is RE-READ. It has been amazing to reference old material from the past. It seems to help with information popping up almost magically as needed when rereading!
The work of Frutiger I found particularly helpful, Although it came up while writing the CRoP, I found parallels in my thinking to his actual work. This may stem from the fact that he was a theoretician, as well as a practical designer of typeface. He worked from the mechanical era all the way through the digital age and what I like about his work is that the theory and the practical become one The blending of the mental abstract(idea) to the physical object(type block) something I have been trying to attempt with my own photography, and just recently succeeded at.
In Signs and Symbols, Adrian Frutiger positions himself ‘closer’ by (show and tell) He writes. ‘We live in an age when there are many ways of converting what is a thought into visible form’ he goes on to tell and show how it’s done: ‘by placing one-colored ink on white paper.’
(Frutiger, 1928, p. 21.)
Frutigertakes abstract forms (blue ink) and creates a new visible form by through idea of changing their proximity. Clearly his idea produced a created image with an adumbration of the idea remaining, albeit highly abstract. The problem I encounter here, is that the imagebeing almost pure abstraction provokes no feelings even if the idea it self, can be regarded as beautiful. As I look at this work, I realize that some pictorial or representational elements in the image needs remain, or be additionally applied, if one is to actually ‘feel’.Ideas transformed into feeling and beauty are elements that are vital to my reach.
En.wikipedia.org. (2019). Adrian Frutiger. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrian_Frutiger [Accessed 1 Dec. 2019].
Had a good 1-2-1 with Dr. Wendy. Went over a pre CRoP document I sent in. Recommendations was to steer it more in the direction of my own work as opposed to referencing other peoples work. To focus on the Project. It is amazing to realize, even at this late stage, that remanants of that fence, shadow, and the doldrums still persists. Breaking away from those old influences and magnetic attraction, even though it has weakened is still near enough to draw one back if not careful and aware. Just because one cannot see it, does not mean that its not lurking somewhere out there! The invisibles always remain.
Wendy mentioned something interesting, that the function of the CRoP is to help break away from those attractions, and that it will take time, and this is still the early stage of development. Is a PhD required next?
As the MA is drawing to a close, and my assignments are due. Any further development on the physical part of the project has been completed. The CRoP is the associated document. This week, I have been writing and working on the CRoP and trying to bring it in with in the guidelines of the assignment specifications.
The exhibition has been held and felt it was a great success on the personal level.I achieved what I had set out to do. Entering the cave, the journey the road as a representational photographer and exiting an abdtarct photographer with a story to tell. My intention is to submit to galleries and museums (some small ones to begin with) and take the show on the road.
I intended to make my own book, however, I have not had the time to do it. I could have had it done by someone else, but decided against it. As I did for the rest of this project by making my own prints, framing and exhibit walls. Of course, none of it can be achieved completely alone, and was not my intent. I merely wanting to transform the mental into the material, the true alchemists dream. Turning lead into silver, or copper into gold, was not the true mission, it was the increasing of cognitive powers, moving from a lower state of thinking to a higher sate of thinking through materialization of the thoughts and ideas. A good example would be going from the idea of transmitting a message through the air, was finally achieve by Marconi at the turn of the century. I wanted to move from the represeataion to the abstract to deliver a message of the mind.
This week I will begin to making my own book. I have decided not to have one made at this point. I enjoyed doing the exhibition and feel that it would not serve me well to have some-one else make my book.
I have made all the 5×7 prints and will purchase some vellum and type the tiles of the images on the it will be see through and lay on to of the images. The covers will be made of cardboard and black
Information discussed: The themes of the FMP My is creativity/fences and the road. My difficulty has been how to integrate these three themes into one in a streamlined and co-hesive way. Today I had a breakthrough with that, and this may be a direct result of finishing my pop up exhibitions. I came to some interesting realizations yesterday after I had time to reflect on my exhibit, and let the whole experience gel a little bit.
As I have been working on the printing, framing, constructing and exhibiting the images, it has been very challenging and time consuming. However when Dr.Wendy mentioned the road as being symbolic of the journey, I came to realize that its all been a journey. The search for creativity, the problems and fences long the way, and the exhibition allowed me to find the gate, the exit to the cave and the labyrinth. And this was a journey along a road all the time. As I reflect back, I have been on the road since the beginning of the MA, so it has encompassed all or it. Now the new road lies before me where all this information has been synthesized into a new cohesive whole.
Also discussed the choice of my exhibition why I chose the gallery setting. This for me has been the manifestation of my ideas in a public space. My ideas have been locked in books of negative files, and computer files for years and years, and they needed to be printed, exhibited and aired out in public in a space for a period of time. Which is what I did.
Watched the Visiting Artist recording of Caroline Malloy to-day, to find out more how she researches. I was quite surprised to find out that at the beginning she was quite confused but eventually managed to worj her way through it. It seems that a lot of people have diffiuculty with research and how to begin projects, but as it moves along it seems to work it self out.
With my pop up exhibition behind me. I have to think about the next one. I am very happy to haven had an abstract exhibition, and finally cross that fence that has been a barrier in my work for decades. I feel that my exhibition has opened new roads, to new projects, it has freed me up in a way and set me on a new course: The open road. A new journey begins.
I am a great advocate of Kurt Gödel * who proved mathematically that 2+2≠4, it has a tendency towards 4, and therefore not absolute. Between the tendency and the absolute, infinite variations exist (right that the very approach of 4)
This information can be applied to almost everything in life where one expects an absolute. I thought that abstraction is the absolute, but as a result of the MA and my FMP, I have finally come to the realization that abstraction is not and absolute but a tendency. I have therefore changed my final image title from “The Dream” (absolute) to “Approaching the Dream” (a tendancy) in honor of Gödel.
My dream to exploiting abstraction as a means to communicate ideas and beauty at will, was aided by work of the mathematician Kurt Gödel.Gödel, in with his Incompleteness Theorem (Plato.stanford.edu, 2019) showed that the absolute and closure is not possible; there are only tendencies. Therefore, if I presented my theory on the actual cause of (Fig.11) Encountering the Muse as an absolute or closed system, I could not prove it. However, there is enough information and reference to speculate its tendency to be ‘possible.’ The truth that perception and vision are largely dependent upon past experiences, has been recognized for centuries.” (Huxley, p.104)
As a result of Gödel (and other information) my living for closure [in life and art] began to cessate, and hereby decided to explore incompletenessand tendency in my own work. My “artists equation” on ideas as an approach or tendency towards beauty in abstraction hypothesizes:[i+ i + c+(p+t)(e)±o] + m + x + ∆+ i ±ßƒ≃athat an idea can be asymptotically equal to abstraction(≃) bythe addition or subtraction of representational/objective information (±o) to an existing image ( i ) at will.Theconstructed abstraction (a) can be edged towards or away from feeling (ƒ) and beauty (ß) by this means.If hypothetically, an idea ( i ) occursto remove the shadow and line(-o) on the sand dune, this change (∆) to what already exists as an accidental simulacrum of the muses breast and arm,the womanhood and beauty of that image would disappear completely. (ß=0) and instead of being the muse, or the form of a woman, the image would approach another ordinary meaningless abstract image without feeling (ƒ=0) and without beauty (ß=0).
Looking at the possibility of working on a documentary on the homeless of Los Angeles after the MA. I will be revisiting the work of Richard Avadon. I really like the way he photographed the people’s portraits. The homeless situation has been documented to death, but I feel there is always a new angle to approach the situation. I will be approaching Sarah Levy to see what the opportunities are to do a photo series. I would love to do the series in black and white either on 6×6 with my Hasselblad. The square format is very representative of the box, and once again, these homeless individuals are in a box that they need to get out of or be rescued from.
Sunday the 17th was my second my pop up exhibition. The curator informed me that he would like to do do a second one. Of course it was good news and was very pleased at the fact. The event was later afternoon and better turn out. Even though I had a good attendance, people arrived one or two at a time. This actually worked out well becuase I was concerned that they would not be able to fit the 10ft by 10ft exhibit area and fully appreciate the images. But for the few odd occasions where there exhibit got crowded, most of the time there were one or two people three at most in the area and it did not impact them looking at the images, or getting in each others way.
One thing I did learn from this exhibit is that a big viweing area is important. My exhibit would not have been able to accommodate more than two people at a time without them running into each other. On the whole, other than a few times, it worked out well, but will take into consideration on future shows.
I did get mixed feedback. One viewer came, looked and left almost immediately. He said: “I’m a landscape photographer and don’t get any of this” Another viewer sent me an e-mail:
“Really loved your photo exhibit today! Your photo art was beautiful, mysterious, dream-like, moving. Love the abstract graphics. Not just pretty pictures. Captivating. The theme of fences and getting out of one’s own way spoke to me, and how! Getting my creativity and general attitude “out of the box” so to speak is timely for me now as I’ve been wanting to move in a more abstract direction with my photography and take some risks Dammit!!”
Some people did not comment they preferred to remain silent. One girl seemed very emotional almost teary eyed. Another person I invited is a brilliant recluse. His knowledge about film and art is beyond words. He doesn’t drive, doesn’t have much money, and lives like a hermit. He arrived very late. He took two busses and walked from Gower up into the Hollywood Hills to see my show. I felt very grateful that someone world do this, he went over and beyond what I could expect from anyone. It was very touching moment for me.
Later in the evening there was a fund raiser for Sarah Levy, I attended her talk about the homeless is Los Angeles, and I felt very moved by her speech. Homlessness is at the elbow of many artists so it is a subject I am very interested in. The problem seems to be out of hand here in Los Angeles and getting worse. Just at the foot of Hollywood Hills (some of the most expensive real-estate in the Los Angeles) live individuals who have lost it all. They live in tents and on the streets under the Gower street bridge. I passed the homeless encampment when I set up my pop-up and when I drove home at night.
Franklin Avenue is the ‘fence’ between the have’s and the have not’s. Ethically, this is not right. Just below the Hollywood sign, where some have much, others have nothing. Historically this is not new, it has been going on since the times of Kings who lived in castles, while below at the drawbridge, were peasants living in dire poverty.
I invited Sarah to look at my exhibition, and explained that fences exist in many forms and the one between rich and the poor is another one of many. I presented a few ideas to her, and she suggested I contact her through her campain manager, and should talk about the subject more.
This was nice to be able to do a show and tell. Show my work, and suggest ways I could help the cause through similar works. Dorothea Lange came to mind as did Louis Hine. Richard Avedon with his series The American’ s also closed my mind. I was nice to be able to cross reference these hero’s of the past, who as artists raised the awareness of society to those less fortunate and in some cases, as is the case with Louis Hine, the total aboloshiment of child labour.
At that moment, I realised that I have crossed the fences in my life, and opened the gate to roads ahead that offer an infinite way of working as an artist in the field of photography. I have crossed the fence from representation into the world of abstraction, but why limit myself there, when there is so much that can be done.
This week entailed getting ready for one of two exhibits. This week is on November 14th at the Hollywood Scupture Garden and Gallery.
The week began with making and finalizing all the prints for the exhibit which consists of 12, 11×14 images, 2 (16×20)’s and one diptych consisting of 2X(40×30″) images. The 11×14 images (trimmed down to 10×14) to give more space for the frame surround. The full frame images on the 11×14 paper left too wide a border and the paper white drew the attention.
I did some tests and cut down the border to approximately 1 inch all around the image and was very happy with the look. It allows the eye to concentrate on the image. This, in addition to the floating frames I used, which has a very thin black frame and black backing allowed the images to “float in limbo” which I feel gives the image the ability to pop out at the viewer. I also trimmed down the 16×20 images, giving about and inch and a quarter border, to the same effect.
All the images had to be spotted and prepared for floating, framed and signed, both back and front.
Cleaning the glass was very tedious and time consuming, in addition the cleaner the company suggested left streaks and I began to experiment with all types of cleaner from alcohol to disillled water to mixing the two. I tied various lens cleaners and various cloths all to no avail. In the end I went down to the hardware store to see if they had a solution. The sales girl suggested a product with vinegar in it, I was skeptical but desperate and to my surprise it worked very well, that to-gether with plain old (very soft) toilet paper: WORKED! I had minor lint, but rid that with a big camera bulb blower, and a wipe with lens cloth and a photograhic lens brush and finally got down a sytem that worked. I attached the spacers to the prints, and then the print and spacer to the backboard, signed the print (which also takes some practice and had to reprint quite a few images because the signature was not right, the list goes on.
I have to say that this whole process was extremely time consuming and difficult, I am glad I did it. The benefits far outweighed the problems, because I could tailor and tune the presentation of the image to the point that I was very happy with it. A professional framer would have been way too expensive, to work at this level, in addition I would not have been able to choose the look I was finally happy with had I gone that route. I experimented for weeks, no framer would do that, unless paid an exorbitant fee.
The title cards are hand made (with deckled edge, I learned how to do from the paper company) I brought out my old Olympus typewriter and typed out each title onto paper, in courier, then mounted the paper onto black cards cut from black photo matt card.
Again, very time consuming, one typo, and the whole thing has to be redone. Was a lot of fun, brought back good ‘remembrances of things past.’ figuring how to center the type. The information about the show was also made, printed onto cards and framed. I used the computer type to do this.
All this making is making me think about constructing my own book as opposed to haiving one made. I chose to print my own work, frame it, make the title cards build my own space, because I like working with materials in all forms and also in terms of making the art and housing it. For me the two are one. The frame as important as the work of art. It is through the materials that the work is transformed from the idea to the concrete, and I enjoy making that happen. I can only presume, that my meeting Ansel, had some indirect effect on me printing my show, albeit come to fruition some three decades later. I always respected the fact that he could photograph and print his own work, not may photographers can boast that skill. Even the greats of the past like Henri Carier Bresson to the contemporaries like Andreas Gursky do not have the ability to print their own work. That part of the process has to be done by someone else.
The diptych I printed (40x60inches) photochemical process on resin coated paper. However had it professionally mounted onto 1/2 inch black Gator Foam.
It is very light weight and easy to hang, but very difficult to mount unless one has a huge vacuum table. I had this done at Hadas Picture Framers in Van Nuys, it was the cut into a diptych, which I decided upon so I can transport and store it easier than one long image 40×60 inches. Hadas helped me with the hangers and I hung it at the back end of the exhibit fence with relative ease
Installation and setup.
I bought the ‘fence’ at Lowes Hardware, a 10×10 foot dog kennel with a gate. A friend helped my pick it up and install it at the HSG location. So here is also a materialization of an idea. I thought about using a fence to hang my images, searched the streets and the internet and came upon this ‘almost perfect’ cube fence with a gate. A dog kennel, repurposed to enhance the theme of labyrinth/cave/forrest in which to hang my images.
Drove up the the Hollywood Sculpture Gargen and Gallery (HSG) and set up two days before on the 12th, to give me a day in between the set up and the exhibit. I am glad I did that, as my big frames for the 16×20’s came in late on the 12th and I had the next day to frame the images. It was a close call, I almost had to go with conventional frames if the floaters did not arrive. But it worked out, albeit last minute. By this time I was very confident and experienced at framing, accomplished the task in a matter of hours.
Set up at HSG.
The decision here is: Do I leave the fence open and see through to the garage, (ie hide nothing) or do I enclose? In the end I decided to use a see through black burlap, allowing one to ‘see through the glass darkly.’
I found the length I needed at Joann’s fabric store in Los Angeles. When I saw, smelt and felt the material, I liked it right away. There is something very ancient and mystical about burlap. It takes me back 1000’s of years. Joann’s is a massive warehouse of cloth and fabric, they had the 14 yards I needed plus everything else: burlap thread to stitch it to the fence, big eyed needles, red thread. I abstarcted a careful list, to see if I could construct the whole thing without missing an item. I almost achieved it, but needed some extra hooks to hang the images, other than that I had everything I needed.
The burlap is dark black, yet see though. maintaining what I like about fences. They are always see through, one can always see the dream or nightmare ahead (foreshadowings of what is to come) At the same time it gives a feel of separation and closure symbolizing the forrest, cave or labyrinth.
While at Joann’s I selected the red thread that would provide the link between the idea and the dream, the connection between cause and effect. So we covered the fenced area with the burlap, hung the images and I ran the red thread from entrance of the cave/forrest/labyrinth all the way around to the exit.
The images are all double stranded with black annealed wire on the back.and came up with using lamp chain as links to hang the images. Originally I looked at S hooks but they did not quite extend to form a complete S and could easily unhook if someone bumped a picture. The lamp chain links are study and at the same time easily bendable into a S form with two pairs of pliers and can be shaped so as to hook onto the fence and the picture frame so it could not easily dis-lodge. I used two hooks per image.
The event went fairly well, not as many people turned up as I had hoped but could not expect much on a Thursday morning. I am hoping that the Sunday event will have a better turnout not so much people that I know but individuals who can tke the project to the next level. Other curators newspaper etc. Glad I had that day experience, It will help me prepare for the second showing on Sunday the 17th.
This is where the reality of this business is, this part is the easy part, it’d making the show move on and upwards from here that is the challenge. I am hoping to use this event as a stepping stone to the next gallery. I would very much like to tour with it if possible so putting my enertgy in that direction.