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I don’t think I’ve written about the 2010 senior art show, DIMENSIONAL VISION, yet.  The experience of hanging the show and getting all of my work ready for presentation was exhausting, but entirely worth it.  As part of my presentation I made a small zine to go with the ceramic work.  It was my little way of combining the things I love most (books and ceramics) into one adorable little package.

I uploaded said adorable little package, and you can view the online book (link below).  I have also uploaded many images of my comps project to the Gallery section of this site!  It’s the most brand-spankin-new part of this site and I’m pretty jazzed about its potential.

Since the website for DIMENSIONAL VISION is hosted by Carleton, it will be up until the end of time.  If you want to see images of my project later or see the work of my peers, you can just mosey on over there any time you please.

View the zine here:
Sexual Dimorphism (Online Book)

So yesterday I was working on a bust of a friend of mine for my comps.  It was hollowed out (mostly) and that’s when things started to go really wrong.  I hadn’t even tried to put anything together when the shoulders split from the hair.  The hair couldn’t support the weight of itself and started to fall apart and crack and split and get super duper wonky.  It was so sad.  I was in Boliou so late last night trying to figure out what to do.  After a while I just decided to cut off the face, and start again coil build the whole piece (with the old face).   I figure that I’d rather have a piece that is 100% how I want it, and not just the best I can get it under the circumstances.  My first piece looked fine (said with some dissatisfaction), but also kind of wonky.  I didn’t want that again.

For the next one I think I am going to build the head solid, hollow it out, and then coil build the hair.

For posterity, here is a photo (the last photo I have, but not the finished state) of the bust pre-disaster:

R.I.P. Bust of Jinhee

Shalene Valenzuela is totally rad.  She makes ceramic irons, blenders, shoes, pencil sharpeners (The Grind, pictured left), nail polish bottles, pot holders, toasters, and all kinds of other girly shit.  She’s delightful!  She takes these objects and paints on them stereotypes of women’s roles, and sometimes text about the dichotomies women are often placed in.  A lot of her work is a commentary on those dichotomies, which I think are entirely damaging to any true understanding of a person or experience.  I have always loved those 50’s illustrations of women (a la Vogue patterns or something like that) and I really love when people use them to subvert conventional ideas of gender.  I highly recommend checking out her website at http://www.shalene.com/.

As you can probably tell from my post about Misty Gamble, or my entire life if you know me at all, but I’ve been thinking tons (more) about gender lately.  Mostly about gender representation and presentation because of my comps (which I am tentatively calling Sexual Dimorphism).  So much of femininity is tied up in appearances and presentation.   I put antlers and other animal-gender-signifiers on women initially because I am obsessed with antlers and because antlers are beautiful.  But antlers are associated with aggression, power, and ownership.  They are prized, valued, and hunted — words I normally associated with courtship (can tell I’m in man-hater mode of late?), but also words that I associate with women’s quest to adapt to typically masculine mannerisms in order to succeed.  Antlers are at once masculine and feminine, and I think my point is that nothing is ever as simple as you think.  Every situation, every gender and experience with gender, is more nuanced than you think.

I also like Shalene Valenzuela because she has a blog.  It’s hard to follow, but it’s there.  I really like hearing artists’ ideas about their work and their lives in a vernacular that is less formal than an artist’s statement.  I also really love that she plays up the kitsch factor.  So much of my work (especially in ceramics) is kitschy, and I can’t help but love things that are gaudy and tacky despite my love of simplicity too.  Valenzuela’s work en masse reads like a pantry, which I think is so tremendous.  I would love nothing more than for my future house to be populated with household wared designed by her, with my goofy antler junk on the walls.  That would be some kind of heaven.  I love work that really gains momentum as you add more, and  Valenzuela’s work especially plays into that cluttered 50s advertising aesthetic when you see her pieces together.  Anyways, I love her and her work.  I leave you with probably my favorite piece of hers, the Virgin Mary in a slice of bread:

I am obsessed with Misty Gamble.

My favorite of her works is the Chanel / Big Hair series.  She makes ceramic sculptures of older-looking women, allsitting in chairs, wearing Chanel suits, and with enormous hair.  They’re beautiful.  Many of her pieces focus on issues of femininity: the Tan Hands series — ceramic hands on a wall, each differently positioned with a ring on a finger; or the Sweet Terror series — 5 sculptures of young girls, each innocent and horrifying in their own way.  In Chanel / Big Hair, Gamble explores the blurred line between youth and age among cosmetically altered high society women.  Their suits are classic and pristine and their hair is extremely well kept, but there’s something strange and terrifying about them.

My favorite piece  by Gamble is a ceramic “stump” (she dicthes the traditional bust or torso and calls them stumps) with a beehive hairdo (pictured at right with the artist).   That’s exactly how I wore my hair to senior prom in high school!  I also love that this particular stump has red hair just like me!  Unfortunately that’s where the similarities end.  The stumps are modeled after dress forms, have skin textured like fabric, and oddly protruding necks.  They are so fascinating.  I love them and I am also jealous of their hair.

On her website she has photos of her working, which I find particularly illuminating.  It is so cool to see artists at work, especially when that artist is coil building enormous hairdos.  I am building some busts of my own for comps.  I tried to coil build one of them, but I think building solid and hollowing out is more suited to my needs.  I had some issues hollowing out the first one (pictured left) and it got kind of wonky when I put it back together again.  It still hasn’t been fired and doesn’t have antlers yet (I am making them separately) but at least it’s something.

For more info on my favorite, Misty Gamble, visit her website at www.mistygamble.com.

Insty

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