Friday, December 20, 2013

In preparation for the residency

It has been an extremely busy end of the semester. To wrap up my blog posts, I've included a few examples of my final prints that I'm bringing to Boston and a photograph of the oil tanker postcards I plan to organize into a grid.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Chasing Ice

This film was recommended by a fellow AIBer as I research portrayals of nature in photography. The film features the work of nature photographer James Balog. His images of the changing arctic landscape are breathtaking.

Friday, November 22, 2013

MMM Exhbiition

Mixed Media Miniature Exhibition
Koa Gallery at Kapi'olani Community College
Nov 21-Dec 18th
Opening Reception Thurs Nov 21 4:30-7pm

I have three pieces featured in this show. It was great running into fellow AIBer Noriko Suzuki who also had artwork in the exhibition!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Exhibition Vertias II by Kaili Chun

This show features images of a perfomance installation by local artist and sculptor Kaili Chun. My current mentor, Jaimey Hamilton Faris, and her UH students helped with the installation at Waimanolo Beach. While I did not see the performance live last year, I found the images documented by Erin Yuasa evocative and somewhat haunting.

A quote by Chun featured at the exhibition:

"...The tensions that persist between western and indigenous ways of knowing and understanding the world, serve as catalysts for demarcating sculptural forms of containment that serve not only as reminders of the many ways in which each person is shapad and constrained, but as negoitiable boundaries between inside and outside, between concealment, and reveleatin. Who occupies whom? How do we move between the two worlds in which we live? Are we subject to the boundaries defined by others or do we delineate the boundaries that explicate our situations? The lines are not always so clear-cut."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Revisiting an old muse and new grids

I've been thinking a lot about my interest in light. As a photographer, light is both a technical imperative and a creative tool. Over the last two years, I've spent a large chunk of time looking at and photographing sources of light in urban and natural settings, honing in on odd occurrences of light illuminating scenes in unusual ways. I became (& still am) interested in the visual effects of these light sources within long exposures and how their effects consequently render the air, ocean, and environment. This fall, I've started to considered how these abstract long exposures begin to point toward an integrated, non-dualistic relationship between human-kind and the environment. (See sky palette examples and influences of feminist environmental theory in previous paper.) In other words, the relationship between nature and humanity is not always divided by a clear specific line. I'm interested in discovering the spaces where the artificial and natural collide, making it difficult to distinguish where one begins and the other ends.  In my investigations, especially in Hawaii, I have found many occurrences where the line between the artificial and natural is blurry. It is this blended, fused, interacting space that interests me both conceptually and creatively. 

I've started to work on new variations of the grid formations. In thinking about my fascination with light, I started to overlap sections of the grid in varying opacities in Photoshop. I've chosen to repeat the artificial sun image as a background onto which I layered a selection of my "natural artifice" images. The idea is to confuse and layer these images but still maintain remnants of the grid formation. The grid provides structure yet the varying sizes and subjects disrupt its organization. Complicating the grid arrangement further blurs the lines between how images relate to each other and the whole. The idea of "blurring lines" is important in that it reiterates my initial interest in the collision of the artificial and the natural. 

Here's a great quote from Rosalind Krauss's essay Grids first published in 1979 by The MIT Press:

In the spatial sense, the grid states the autonomy of the realm of art. Flattened, geometricized, ordered, it is antinatural, antimimetic, antireal. It is what art looks like when it turns its back on nature. In the flatness that results from the coordinates, the grid is the means of crowding out the dimensions of the real and replacing them with the lateral spread of single surface. In the overall regularity of its organization, it is the result not of imitation, but of aesthetic decree. Insofar as its order is that of a pure relationship, the grid is a way of abrogating the claims of natural objects to have an order particular to themselves; the relationships in the aesthetic field are shown by the grid to be in a world apart and, with respect to natural objects, to be both prior and final. The grid declares the space of art to be at once autonomous and autotelic.

This weekend, I also decided to return to "my friends" - the light buoys - that guide boats to harbor all along Oahu's coast. As I mentioned in my last paper, I'm exploring the possibility of working in a series and I've started to consider how different modes of working can speak to a common goal. A few weeks ago my buddy Mitchell sent me a small iPhone video of these blinking lights for fun. I was struck (again) by the simple beauty of these darn things! While I have witnessed their meditative quality countless times in person, I had not yet tried capturing this experience on film. Below is a test run. I'd like to retry this video capture with a real film camera and with slightly more ambient light so the movement of the waves is just visible.  I think better sound of the wind and waves is important as well. I like the overall feeling of disorientation created by the darkness but feel this could be enhanced by having a tiny bit more of the environment visible. This video relates to my grid work in that it once again focuses on light as subject matter and speaks to how humans navigate/interact with/relate to environment.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hello Photography, Window Light

I took a break Saturday morning to catch up on a few articles in Aperture's Spring 2013 issue. I really enjoyed reading Arthur Ou's essay "Photo.Edu: Toward a New Curriculum"

"How do we tackle a medium in the process of breakneck evolution in the photography classroom today? We now live in a world full of photographs, or, more precisely, the world is rapidly becoming a totality of photographs. To expand on this claim, we need only consider two related trajectories in the area of “mechanical vision.” One is the eventuality of photography replacing human perception. It is not a stretch to imagine, in a not-too-distant future, mechanical vision (and the recording and presenting of this vision) reaching an event-horizon, ultimately replicating in exactitude the sensations and experiences of our biological eyes. Secondly, photography will surpass human vision. Already, something resembling photography—not quite the medium as it is defined—is replacing what we have long understood as photography. When computer-generated processes can “pre-image” something that will eventually be actualized—when photographs “imagine” the future or another reality—how do we define this type of image in the photographic lexicon? Who or what is the photographer? Where does a photograph begin? Where do photographs end?"

Printing at the lab, variations on the grid

Thursday, October 24, 2013

In the classroom...Abstraction grids by my students

My research on grids and abstraction has creeped its way into my high school photography classes. I knew working on my MFA would influence my creative practice (of course) but I've welcomed its impact on my teaching practice as well. It's interesting to test out research ideas with my students. For example, in this year's integrated Photography and Philosophical Literature class, students have been studying notions of perception and reality. These grids made by students represent visual explorations of how one image can manifest into something completely new. What are similarities/differences between the original photo, the grid, or each abstracted square? How do all of these renditions shape perception? Is it all the same no matter how you slice n' dice it? These have been fun inquiries to explore with students. And the correlation to my grid experiments (at least visually) seems pretty clear... perhaps these may be working better than mine!



Article: A Conversation with Joshua Citarella


"We are now in a curious position where we begin to measure ourselves against images that not only include the whole problematic nature of photography and representation, but are further complicated by a digital production."

"I’m also ready to do away with debasing words like “Photoshopped,” which simplifies a complex process by describing it as a single tool. Jargon like this is used in an overarching way to discredit or suppress new modes of production. As a result, we find ourselves in a place where Photoshop is present in nearly all art and commercial images but is largely not discussed. Even a relatively traditional photographic practice, where the computer only becomes involved when the image is outputted as a digital C-type or inkjet print, still involves a process of resampling and interpolation. The difference between resampling with Bicubic Smoother or Bicubic Sharper has real and quantifiable effects in the final image/print and these choices now need to be considered when we try to discuss things like the politics of representation. Different types of resampling techniques will describe nuanced surfaces, such as the gradient of a sunset, clouds, or skin, in noticeably different ways."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hitting the Proverbial Wall – Recent Thoughts

  1. Looking closely at Roni Horn
    • Working in series, how does a collection of visual media communicate a united message vs. 1 single piece
    • Resources
  2. Research on Grids
  3. Recent Work
    • Abstraction grids paying closer attention to the shifts and gradients in each square in an effort to better connect with neighboring squares
    • Using photoshop to “auto align” and “auto blend” light pollution swatches did NOT work, I was hoping to explore these algorithms but alas they just simply do not “align” or “blend” swatches
    • Making prints this weekend of most fall work, it will be great to spend time in the printing lab and experience these works on photographic paper
    • Shooting new series looking at how the notions artificiality and the natural play out in modern day Hawaii’s landscape (contemplating a series that might discuss my interests in the collision of the artificial and natural in a more specific way)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Glitch Click Thunk Exhibiton and Artist Talk by Mark Amerika

I enjoyed attending Mark Amerika's artist talk last Tuesday and am looking forward to the upcoming interactive exhibition nights. Learning about Amerika's interests in digital media, technology, and translation is timely given my own explorations into the merging points of the technological, artificial, and natural. See link below for more info on these events hosted by University of Hawaii.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Radiolab Podcast: Colors

Check this out!

RADIOLAB: Season 10, Episode 13

"Our world is saturated in color, from soft hues to violent stains. How does something so intangible pack such a visceral punch? This hour, in the name of science and poetry, Jad and Robert tear the rainbow to pieces.
    To what extent is color a physical thing in the physical world, and to what extent is it created in our minds? We start with Sir Isaac Newton, who was so eager to solve this very mystery, he stuck a knife in his eye to pinpoint the answer. Then, we meet a sea creature that sees a rainbow way beyond anything humans can experience, and we track down a woman who we're pretty sure can see thousands (maybe even millions) more colors than the rest of us. And we end with an age-old question, that, it turns out, never even occurred to most humans until very recently: why is the sky blue?"

    Wish You Were Here Exhibition Review & Paul Pfeiffer in Art 21

    Wish You Were Here Exhibition

    August 30 - September 29, 2013
    Chanel Waikiki Boutique
    2116 Kalakaua Ave. 

    I'm hoping to take some of my students to view this great selection of work showing in the Chanel boutique. Check out the review written by my current mentor, Jaimey Hamilton Faris. A brief quote, Jaimey writes:

    "Sponsored by the Honolulu Museum of Art (HMA), organized by John Koga and Allison Wong, and hosted by Chanel, this off-the-beaten track gem features the work of Ashley Bickerton, Paul Pfeiffer, Garnett Puett, and Lawrence Seward. Why do I want you to be there? To see how experienced artists delve into the complexities and nuances of cultural commodification without getting weighed down in parody or righteous critique. Their work, if it employs the clich├ęs of tourist culture, only uses them strategically to hone our looking at it, engaging us with deeper issues of absent human relations."

    I also took time to learn more about Paul Pfeiffer's work. I found his interests in celebrity commodification and his use of erasure to discuss time, place, and desire very compelling. His images currently showing in Waikiki feature beach scenes with iconic portraits of Marilyn Monroe removed from the environment. At first the images appear simple and commonplace, yet over time one begins to notice prints in the sand or an out-of-place shadow. With patience, Pfeiffer's images are both haunting and thought-provoking.

    For more info on his work, check out: Paul Pfeiffer, Art 21, Season 2 "Time"

    Saturday, September 7, 2013

    New work: Manufactured Horizons

    This new work deals with compositing images of human-made constructions (or activity) on the water sandwiched between two images that reflect light pollution gradients. I'm currently exploring ways to articulate how the "artificial" collides with the "natural." I use quotations here since these terms open up  huge discourses on the notion of nature, wilderness theory, artificiality, the sublime, etc. I'm also thinking about the ways in which I, the artist, can not only photograph the horizon but also reproduce one via post-processing and the final print. A great read that continues to influence my ideas is William Cronon's collection of essays "Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature." 

    Friday, August 9, 2013

    The Hawaii Pictures: Ansel Adams and Georgia O'Keefe, Honolulu Museum of Art Exhibition

    Excerpt from Honolulu Museum of Art webpage:

    “Both artists wanted to unmask what lay beyond the beaches of Waikiki,” says Theresa Papanikolas, the museum’s curator of European and American art, and curator of the exhibition. “O’Keeffe went beyond prevailing stereotypes and pictured Hawai‘i in terms of her own authentic and deeply personal response to its natural beauty. Meanwhile, the work that Adams did in the island reflected and augmented his broader aim to exploit the capacity of modern photography to reveal the essence of a given subject and, in doing so, make America’s celebrated spaces immediately identifiable and accessible.”

    The exhibition includes a selection of painting associated with O’Keeffe’s 1939 trip to Hawai‘i to create illustrations for print advertisements for the Hawaiian Pineapple Company (now the Dole Company). During her two-month stay, O’Keeffe visited O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i, and Hawai‘i Island, painting dramatic coastlines, volcanic terrain, traditional tools, and exotic flora.

    Adams’s photographs of Hawai‘i were also the result of a commission. He first visited the islands in 1948 to take photographs for a series on national parks for the Department of the Interior, and returned in 1957 for a commemorative publication for Bishop National Bank of Hawai‘i (now First Hawaiian Bank).

    Thursday, August 1, 2013

    Artist Talk: Kosta Kulundzic’s Hawaii Apocalypse, 8/1

    Article in Flux Hawaii, July 25, 2013
    End of the World in Paradise

    Looking forward to this artist talk on August 1. Excerpt from article:

    "Kosta Kulundzic’s Hawaii Apocalypse, on display at SPF Projects until August 25, puts Saint George the Dragon Slayer, the patron saint of soldiers, chivalry, and horsemen, right in the center of paradise. This medieval legend has everything you could want: a brave hero, an evil villain, and a damsel in distress. O‘ahu becomes the unexpected setting for religious violence and comic book catastrophe."

    Kosta Kulundzic’s Hawaii Apocalypse, curated by Trisha Lagaso Goldberg is currently showing at SPF Projects from July 18–August 25. An artist talk will take place on August 1 at 7 p.m.

    LINK for more info:

    Wednesday, July 31, 2013

    Article: Interview with Collector Bret Kreuk

    Article: Other People & Their Ideas
    Interview by Mark Rappolt
    Art Review, Issue 69, Summer 2013
    For full text:

    I found this Art Review interview with collector Bret Kreuk interesting. Mark Rappolt asked "What would you like people to take away from it [your collection]?"

    Bret Kreuk replied, "You know, what I’d like them to take away is that art is not only about a nice two-dimensional picture. Art is also very much about learning, and about an educational process. People should look at an artwork, not because they think it’s ugly, or it’s beautiful, because ugly is a very subjective word. Something beautiful might be very superficial – somebody came up with an idea, made it commercial so that people buy it. That’s easy. It’s always easy to buy an artist who is clever enough to present something which is attractive, but staying truthful to the concept of their own ability and their own ideas, that’s something else. Ugly is maybe even nicer. It’s about the educational process, and helping people on their way to think differently about art. That’s what I’d like people to take away from it, that they have to think for themselves."

    Sunday, July 28, 2013

    Recent Work: Lost & Found

    These are experiments working with previous images from last semester. I'm using the latitude and longitude coordinates of where I took the image to specify their exact location via Google Maps. Paired with my somewhat ambiguous landscapes, I find the Google Maps satellite images of the same place intriguing. I'm wondering what new dialogue is sparked when paired with my rendition of the location... information accessibility online, perception of place, ways in which photography can simultaneously share information and deceive the viewer. 

    Still works in progress... 

    21° 16' 53.20" N, 157° 42' 47.72" W

    21° 15' 48.96" N, 157° 49' 18.71" W

    35° 18' 17.02" N, 139° 33' 3.85" W