Spring 2012 CU BFA Critique

Logan Young’s space was by far the most cohesive and interesting aspect of the BFA installation. He presented several paintings exploring a common concept. By juxtaposing “…the cuteness of contemporary Japanese Kawaii soft culture and the lethality of the American industrial complex,” Logan challenged the nature of human desire. Ero Guro #1 and Hello Kitty Kill Zone (Ero Guro #2) is an installation involving two acrylic painted canvases and a series of model airplanes from the artist’ s childhood. The paintings depict humorous scenes of Godzilla destroying an ice cream civilization and a Hello Kitty-like figure destroying the city of Denver. Model airplanes are hung in front of the hello kitty painting as if flying away from the destructive scene. While in front of Ero Guro #1 the model airplanes are hung in a similar fashion but are directed towards the composition. I found the shadow work created from these various model planes very interesting. The other paintings he chose to display explore similar concepts of human desire. Melting Ice Cream and Pie, both painted with oils on canvas in 2011, realistically depict popular desserts; commenting on the irresistible human desire/necessity to consume sugar and sweets. His other painting The Impact, also painted in 2011, incorporates a single model airplane exposing a kamikaze act of destruction. The plane is hung in front of a stack of painted ice cream scoops with an adjacent ice cream cone exploding in the composition; foreshadowing the humorous destruction about to take place. Logan Young’s work explored a solid concept with humorous compositions and skillful execution and is my favorite aspect of the BFA exhibition.

Adam Siefkas, Generation Ship, was the worst piece within the exhibition. According to the media list on the placard this structure is composed of foam core, cardboard, and glassine. Just a pet peeve of mine but he failed to mention essential media involved with the installation and construction of this sculpture such as glue and string…that are plainly visible. His inspiration to create this object stems from architectural model making and rendering. He describes it as creating possibilities for the future with “heroic foolishness of utopian plans.” The structure was poorly assembled. Sloppy gluing, cheap materials, and a final product that wasn’t very visually appealing. When I consider an architectural model I think about precise rendering for an actual ability to possibly produce. Cad files and accurate measurements for architectural opportunity. This looked like a sloppy elementary school craft project. It was something but definitely did nothing for my artistic tastes.

Logan Lecture Review: Lawrence Argent

Andrew Davis

ARTH 3539

Logan Lecture Review

Lawrence Argent is known for his engaging public sculptures and installations worldwide. He produces site-specific work that reflects upon, integrates, and compliments various aspects of the space. Working with big budgets and teams of architects, engineers, and other specialized professionals, Lawrence Argent explores associated subjectivity in relation to one’s ability to perceive passion and symbiotic relationships within cultural symbolism. Lawrence Argent engages his space; retaining conscious focus on formal criteria including understanding the history of a space, ensuring the object reflects cultural value, while allowing one’s imagination to serve as ideological glue. Your Move, completed in 2011, involves three colossal abstracted gourds, two sculpted from granite and one cast in bronze. Commissioned by the University of Houston, the installation resides in the International Graduate Student Housing Complex. Each of the three gourds represents common facets of the academic system. “Of all the known plant types, the gourd is one of the few that experts believe spanned the entire globe on prehistoric times. It was used by virtually every culture.”[1] By choosing a plant that has worldwide cultural associations, Lawrence Argent comments on the international importance of education within different cultures. The polished red granite gourd represents the various “steps” involved in the educational process. The second stone-carved gourd represents the “weave” of knowledge that is researched, theorized, taught, and perceived within the educational system. The final and largest gourd represents the “patches” associated with the assimilation of information and processes. Lawrence Argent chose to name the piece Your Move to inspire scholars to consider their prospects and potential within their pursuits. The forms themselves resemble game tokens emphasizing one’s control in the game of life. This was my favorite piece because Lawrence Argent strived to compose simple ideas in a way that challenged state of the art technological processes and human capability.  This piece compliments its academic environment, abstractly providing a conversation for intellectual and physical ways of gaining knowledge. This piece reflects a relationship to the past, present, and future and was the strongest piece presented in Lawrence Argents lecture.

On a more critical note, I would like to address the pronunciation of the word: idea. It drives me crazy to hear world-renowned artists pronounce the word idea as i-dee-er. Artists primarily work with ideas. An idea fuels a process and a product that influences other ideas. It is clear that Lawrence Argent is not the primary executer of his ideas. Working with big budgets he is allowed the opportunity to work with other professionals to help plan and execute his ideas. The word idea has vast and general connotations; However, I feel the proper pronunciation would only have supported his role as the artist and legitimatized his primary work with ideas.

Works Cited

Argent, Lawrence. Lawrence Argent: Your Move. Retrieved 20 April 2012 from Lawrence Argent: http://www.lawrenceargent.com/public-art-projects/your-move

Visiting Artist Reflection: Janine Antoni

Andrew Davis

Visiting Artist Reflection

ARTH 3539

Janine Antoni primarily uses her body as a sculpting tool. Janine Antoni opened her lecture by showing and discussing a work titled Ween. This installation was an early work in her career and explored objects that seemingly defined humanness through culture. It was a series of horizontally adjacent relief molds into the wall. From left to right the dialogue began with a mold of her breast, then her nipple, three separated baby-bottle packaged nipple reliefs (maintaining a horizontal presentation) and a last relief of the bottle nipple consumer packaging. This sculpture questions the transition concerning consumer products replacing natural processes. I was particularly interested in the conceptual presentation of this idea. The artist as a mother, experiences first hand, the convenience of the industrial world and products that both mimic and relieve humans from maintaining traditional evolutionary necessity (such as breast feeding). The point at which these inanimate objects serve animate purpose is interesting. The composition as a whole maintains a balanced presentation.  Janine Antoni’s breast is the largest relief. The packaging relief is a little smaller, but visually challenges and relates to the size of the artist’s actual breast. The three bottle nipples reflect a very similar size and shape to the artist’s nipple. However, more attention is drawn to the deeper values of shadow within the multiple industrialized nipples. The simplicity adds to the complexity and I was particularly drawn to the meaning behind this work.

Lick and Lather, produced in 1993 was another playful piece done by Janine Antoni. This project involved a series of self-portrait busts, cast out of chocolate and soap. Janine Antoni proceeded to bathe with the soap busts, and lick away the chocolate busts, physically altering the appearance of the casts. This installation and process speaks to how everyday activities such as bathing and eating shape our lives. Simple concept and technical execution attribute to the beauty of Janine Antoni’s art. Her work explores the transformative nature of the art process, physically and mentally involving her body in the development. Her choice of media was specific for this project, providing opportunity for change and conceptual depth.

My favorite piece of hers was Tear. Tear is presented as a battered wrecking ball accompanied by live video and sound. The video consists of a blown up, close up recording of the artist’s eye. The process involved a soft lead wrecking ball destroying a building. The sounds of impact were recorded and synched to match the video of the artist’s blinking eye. It is a conceptually layered installation. The wrecking ball speaks to an oxymoronic quality of being destructive yet vulnerable to the damage. The word tear is a play on meaning and pronunciation. On one side tears from eyes serve as a defense mechanism and reaction to emotional stimulation (Tears are used to protect the eye as well as express emotion). The wrecking ball symbolizes a destructive object but yet bears the scars of its destruction. The viewer serves as a subject in the piece too. By understanding the influences of destruction in relation to a human response, viewers can relate to and understand the meaning of tearing (as an act of deconstruction) and tearing (crying) and the many correlations between the two acts. I found her lecture very inspiring. Her use of paralleled ideas and media to support concept, represented a full cycle of thought that was both intriguing and relatable.