Posted: September 6th, 2009 | Author: Jessica Rosenkrantz | Filed under: inspiration | Tags: art, film | 4 Comments »
Today I watched Rivers and Tides, a film about Andy Goldsworthy. I’ve been putting off watching it for several years now, but when I saw it was on instant watch on Netflix I finally went for it. Goldsworthy is one of my favorite artists. I became aware of his work in college, right around the time I was beginning to consider pursuing art rather than science. He works in nature with nature and his works are ultimately about nature as well. Using water, rock, plant matter, and dirt, he creates site specific pieces that, at best, expose the inner working of nature. The works really explore the limits of the materials that make up the site and then reconstitute them into an artwork. He’ll take something simple, like how rocks or leaves vary and in color and transform it into something spectacular and surprising by carefully reordering them into a perfect spectrum. His pieces often fall into several categories: a rock balancing project, a spectrum piece, pieces that form perfect circles or twisting lines. The movie is intriguing because you get to know not only the work but also the man and his obsessions.
I find his ephemeral projects the most satisfying. For instance, Goldsworthy makes a chain of leaves held together with thorns. He then places it in the stream and watches it. As the chain flows down the river, it threads itself through rocks and riffles, when it moves through a pool it begins to spirals; ultimately it becomes a visible line we can read, a register for the forces in the water. In another project, he collects red rocks from the bottom of the stream and grinds them up into a fine powder. Placing the powder in the small neighboring pockets of stone creates shocking blood-red pools. A simple action, yet he draws many parallels between rock and life, the cycle of stone from sediment to rock and back. He exposes what was there but unseen.
Overall the film is slow paced but with excellent visuals and music by Fred Frith it’s a pleasure to watch. Here are a few screen captures I grabbed of the film.
Posted: August 18th, 2009 | Author: Jessica Rosenkrantz | Filed under: inspiration | Tags: arduino, art, friends, robots, SIGGRAPH | No Comments »
We were invited to SIGGRAPH this year to be artist’s in residence in the studio. Two of the other AiR’s were David Bowen and Philip Beesley. They both also had works featured in the BioLogic art gallery. It was interesting to hang out with them and hear them speak about their work.David creates simple machines which translate the movements of people, animals, plants or natural forces into other media. His project on view at the conference was called “growth rendering device” (pictured on the left). It functions like a ink jet printer, tracing the shadow of a pea plant, once a day over it’s entire lifespan from sprouting to withering away. The piece on the right, 72 stems, uses dried stalks of Queen Anne’s Lace as antenna’s to sense the almost imperceptible fluctuations of airflow caused by the presence of people. The installation responds to such stimuli by emitting chirping sounds which combine into a layered chorus as participants explore the gallery space.
Philip Beesley is an architect who, in addition to his architectural works, has been pursuing the idea of an architecture of geotextiles. These geotextiles would be fabrics / materials of repeating robotic units which together form complex ecosystems that function in numerous ways. (like perhaps harvesting power and structuring heating, cooling and ventilation). His piece on display was Hylozoic Soil, composed of many repeated units of laser cut plexiglass, with arduino’s powering reactive muscle wire limbs covered in ethereal mylar feathers, with some hyper-dermic needles throne in to add that menacing feeling.
Click on the pictures to check out their websites, they both have numerous other intriguing projects.
Posted: January 14th, 2008 | Author: Jessica Rosenkrantz | Filed under: criticism, thoughts | Tags: art, takeshi murakami | 1 Comment »
Thursday night, Jesse and I went to see the Murakami exhibit at the MOCA Geffen. At the time something about the exhibit rubbed me the wrong way. The work was pretty much what I expected. Nothing wowed me; overall my emotions were a cross between bored and superficially titillated. But I have been thinking about the exhibit for following two days and its impact on me has grown. The true measure of an exhibition is ultimately that it makes you think.
MOCA’s Murakami is an exhibition showing work spanning the artist’s career, showcasing large scale sculptures, paintings, animated shorts, and commercial products. The mix of work creates a complete spectrum from pop art to mass produced consumer products. Pop art itself has always been especially commercial, taking themes, styles and inspiration from “low” culture and translating them to sell-able multiple edition art works (think Warhol’s images of soup cans and Hollywood icons). Murakami takes things one step further by actually mass producing his characters as vending machine toys, stuffed animals, stationary and more. Where Warhol takes existing cultural icons and shows them in a new light; Murakami plays a similar game to those he is supposedly criticizing. While his early character DOB appears a Mickey Mouse clone (or perhaps bizzaro doppelganger) his newer works create completely original worlds of unique characters who are then used and reused, merchandised and licensed for advertising much like Disney or other commercial mascots.
But what do these mascots represent? Murakami’s worlds and their inhabitants are so cute that it’s sickening and sometimes so sickening that its cute. They are supersaturated both with color and detail. The works are high contrast and Technicolor. Their detailing has a fractal quality where each character or object presents us with a bewildering array of attachments, each with its own sets of eyes and even smaller set of attachments proceeding on and on to infinity. in this way they each form their own complete universes. in some cases the rooms of the gallery were set up to greatly intensify this effect. one room feature an all over wallpaper of his daisy characters, a huge circular painting of the same pattern but larger and then a spherical sculpture that was the 3d realization of these characters. Nevertheless, even when in 3 dimensions these characters were still 2 dimensional, just a relief on a spherical ball. The complete and totalizing nature of these universes is only reinforced by Murakami’s consistent stylistic perfectionism. Every line is crisp and every surface smooth; there’s no shading or blending.
hmm. seem to have lost my train of thought. But I would also like to note that there is a lot of religious symbolism/overtones mixed in with the psychedelic consumerism.