Thursday, August 24, 2017

Empty Woman 2017

Last night I spent time looking at the work of Frank Moore, an artist--primarily a painter--who would have been a few years younger than I had he lived. * He was a victim of the AIDS epidemic, and his work is a fascinating and complicated reflection of not only his declining health, but of our failing environment as well. The work is visually complex, reminding me somewhat of Hieronymus Bosch if he would have reincarnated as a 20th century gay man.  The work isn't as damning or condemning as Bosch, and has a dark humor and an intelligence that's hard to fathom at times. The work has so much to say, and is so well done, that I found myself questioning my own imagery, wondering what I have to say that matters anymore.

In the 40 years that I have been making images, I've grown and matured, not only as an artist, but as a woman, and as a human being. I no longer suffer the way I used to, and the magic and mystery of the world that seemed right around the corner, now seem distant. I feel inspired by Moore's work, but also humbled, and worried that maybe what I have to say is of no great importance.  But then I think that if Moore hadn't died of AIDS, if he would have lived a life parallel to mine, he would probably be in the same spot I am right now. Like me, he would have been fretting and worrying about his images and trying to figure out how to continue working in a way that is significant. And he would know, as I do, that he would have had no real say in the matter and could only make the images that he was given to make, significant or not.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Transfers 2017

Transfer: 1. an act of moving something or someone to another place 
               2. a small colored picture or design on paper that can be transferred to another surface by being pressed or heated.

 Dog(with Doe and Spots)2015

Although I've been teaching transfer processes in my workshops for years, it's only been recently that I've started to incorporate transfers into my own work.  In the past, I've directly glued onto my painted surfaces. It works--you get what you see.  Transfers, on the other hand, are not that, and, as far as I can tell, pretty much starting a dance with the devil.  Not only do you not get what you see, in fact, you get the reverse, since the transfers are always mirrored.  If you are doing a paper transfer, you don't see anything at all since the paper backing is opaque.  If you do an ink jet transparency, you see what's underneath your transfer, but somehow, in the process, what you thought you were getting is never exactly what you saw in the first place.

 Wrapped Crane 2016

You have the ability to take whatever is in your computer, print it out, and then apply it to another surface.  The surface can be white, and your image will be pretty true to your original, or you can have a painted surface underneath, and that will change the nature of what comes through.  But you can almost always count on something going wrong, either something won't transfer completely, or you will have forgotten to change it to mirror image in the computer, or part of the image will transfer and part won't(always, of course, the parts that matter the most being what's not left behind).  Because the transfers are so tricky, I've become obsessed with them.  I'm constantly trying to find the perfect, least labor intensive method of making the transfers.  Like a true scientist, I'm continually trying different papers--writing to companies and asking for samples, ordering what I think might work from EBay or Amazon, even (I know this is hard to believe) taking and keeping notes.

However, this seems to be part of the dance, that it's risky and scary, and that you mostly don't know whats going to happen. When you peel or pull away the backing material you have something that may be the most wonderful thing you've ever seen, or just bad--but a good dance nonetheless.

Man Being Surprised 2017