I just returned from Boston fulfilling the last requirement for the summer residency, namely a presentation and workshop. There is a lot to process but it came at the end of a very busy seven days and the quiet time that followed was so welcomed.
Some of the art documentation work I do never gets much attention outside of applications for grants or faculty reviews. This morning I got an email from Ohio State University Professor Suzanne Silver that an image I took of one of her drawings will grace the cover of Michael Swartz’ book, The Signifying Creator, and will include a photo credit. I love her drawings and look forward to continue photographing her work in the future.
Here is an installation view, photographed by Bridgette Bogle, of Rose Red Pajama Pants which is on view at Sinclair Community College’s Triangle Gallery. It is on view “sometimes”, if one is willing to open the black curtains. This is an idea I appropriated from a traveling exhibition of William Henry Fox Talbot’s Callotypes and paper negatives on view at the Museum of Photographic Arts in the late 1990’s. There are hooks on either side to keep the curtains open so that viewers can step back from the work to get a proper view. In borrowing the Chinese proverb “the faintest ink is more powerful than the best memory, I will substitute fugitive or transient. Given enough time and exposure, these transient pigments will become the faintest of inks and may then be hardly better than the best memory.
Here is pants party number #2 which is an interesting creature. Part failure. Part discovery.
The yellow flowers I chose, Rudbeckia Hirta, surprised me. I had expected an image of a pair of pants in the bright yellow color of the flowers on a light ground. I got an image of pink pants with light folds and a medium density ground.The pigment faded to some degree and also changed color. There is also evidence of a negative image which is visible in the folds of the pajama pants and the less layered areas of the garment. The three areas of density are: the folds which are the least dense. The midtones which are mostly the bleached-away ground and the darkest areas which are the least layered areas of the pajama pants.
See the detail image below.
Last night I did a bit of art documentation including a painting by Bridgette and lots of the anthotypes from the residency. Here is one of the more successful pants anthotypes made using rose petal emulsion on Arches Cover. The exposure was about 13 days (it came down on August 17th, a day before I left Boston).
Male art (I used ken doll bathrobe) or, more accurately, mail art is a fitting end to the residency. As part of an exchange with friends left back mostly in Ohio, I promised handmade postcards if they put together a mixed CD of what they were listening to. I got beautiful compilations from Dayton, Columbus and Baltimore which went a long way to making the tedious task of grinding plant pigments or meticulously washing Vandyke Brown prints more pleasant. I was at a loss for ideas. What should I send my DJ’s back in return for their contribution. Initially the postcards were going to be small Vandyke Brown prints, then it became anthotypes, and then I just ran out of time and good sunny days with which to expose. Artists don’t solve problems, they make them and sometimes, if they are lucky, they get someone else to solve the problem.
I sent my three collaborators a rose petal emulsion coated piece of Arches Cover covered by taped on transparency of an image appropriated from an Ebay auction. The image is a Ken doll bathrobe (in keeping with my somnambulist theme).
The mail art cards are a work in progress to be completed by the three recipients. They all need a little bit more exposure before the transparency is separated from the anthotype coated paper. Maybe another week in a sunlit window. Perhaps one or more of the three recipients will elect to not put the anthos in the window and not separate the transparency from the paper. They could be done, after all isn’t completion is in the eyes of the receiver?
Last night Bridgette and I got back into the big D (Dayton) after an art pickup detour in Columbus. It’s all a blur from trying to get onto I-90 from the Fenway in Boston (my rudimentary navigating skills) to finding a motel in Bath, NY to the truck accident traffic 90 miles north of Columbus. We did get a chance today to visit the members show at DVAC on its last day. David Crowell’s framing of “Apple” looked fantabulous especially the cream color of the support to which he floated the image. If I didn’t say it before, I wouldn’t have been in that exhibition if it hadn’t been for the dogged effort of Bridgette convincing me to enter a piece, taking it to Custom Frame Services, and carting it over to DVAC (twice).
A couple of days ago I hinted at a discussion of the grass anthotypes or a least some better images of the two I made. I still need to properly light and document these pieces but below are the initial attempts at documentation.
The first image is the grass emulsion brushed onto a cold press, heavy weight paper from Marco’s dollar annex. I did push the exposure a bit far so it really reads as a ghost of an image, more drawing than photograph. The anthotype is of a Victorian sleeping dress.
Green Grass Emulsion and Victorian Sleeping Dress
The second grass anthotype was made by pressing wet clumps of grass (poultice) onto the paper. It is a contemporary mens’ pajama top.
Green Grass Poultice and Men's Pajama Top