Art Basel

ATL vs NYC

Two blogs in one day! Who would have thought! This particular blog is going to be the actual blog recap for the week, like standard in terms of my usual blog posts. Rewind and Explain, the blog before this was the recap for New York and really for me was just a collection of the places I went now online in a solidified place so that I can come back to it later and do more research. This weeks 'Atlanta Weekend" is the culmination of a weeks worth of stress, chaos, and a bit of a crazy harebrained idea on my part for what happened this week in the studio.


This weekend I made my way up to Atlanta to stop in at my fav galley in town as well as drop off one of my pieces for a small pop up down in Midtown called Materials and Craft. It may just be one of my small ceramic mugs I made earlier in the semester, but it's still worth it to me to make the trip up here and kill multiple birds with multiple stones. And here's why...

First of all, Atlanta is a relatively close (to my current location near Savannah), huge hub for the art world, coming in behind New York and then Miami in terms of places to network in the USA. It is easy for me to come visit because most of my high school, and undergrad friends now call the city home. Plus I am familiar enough that it isn't a huge expenditure every time I visit.

Second, the galleries up here are right on par with places in Miami and New York. For one, I have noticed that a number of dealers that I saw in Art basel, and just last weekend in New York, have galleries in Atlanta too. Why? I am not sure but it is something that I plan on asking my professors why I see them next week.

Third and most importantly- it's the closest place to where I am at right now that I could see myself actually living and working in. I mean technically New York would be a dream big or go home kind of deal, but Atlanta is actually attainable in terms of financial reason too. It's not out of my price range right out of grad school. So maybe I can treat Atlanta like a stepping stone and jump to NYC after getting in the door in the ATL. Or---do both?


As for this week in the studio I really pushed the envelope to get things done. Friday was our first all faculty critique of the semester, meaning we needed to all have work down and ready to show for the past two months worth of time we'd been on classes. I hustled and came back from New York with a strong idea of what I wanted to present the faculty so I hit the ground running glazed my work in an orderly, painterly style. The final five pieces I intended to present were in the kiln on Tuesday for the final glaze firing and I was set. Or so I thought. Unfortunately, the problems with the kilns (if you have been following my blogs I have mentioned the issue before) are still rearing their ugly heads, and I ended up not presenting any work at all. You read that correctly, I, Courtney Ryan, did not present any work. Not presenting work, is not-I repeat, is not, something that I do. It was hard for me to present at the critique the way I did, and I don't intend to rehash the order of events here because it is irrelevant in terms of my blog post. Just know that I really had a hard time doing the presentation that I did and I really hope that I don't have to do it again. I felt like I let my fellow students down, like I was taking a pass on the critique for not showing. But more so, I was sad at myself. Which is why coming to Atlanta this weekend to get away from the studio and just put my work out there in a different kind of way was needed.

As for artists I am into this week- I had intended to talk about Annabeth Rosen, whom I have seen now in three different cities...New York, Miami, and now Atlanta. Zemer Peled and my Instagram relationship of following her work as it progresses in relation to my own skills and techniques. Xu Zhen and his use of the icing piping for his paintings, which I saw in New York and it inspired me to get larger frosting tips for my own ceramic pieces. And lastly Hieronymus Bosch and his maximalist aesthetic, which visiting artist Claire Ashely re-mentioned to me last week during the studio visit I had with her.

Below are some images of these artists work and I think that the visuals alone show their influence on my pieces, which are seen, bisqued (the first firing in the kin) and unglazed above.

Here is also a clip from Zemer's website, showing how she works in the studio. I relate to her work the most out of the artist I have talked about today just because she is such a personable artist, despite her fame. (And for her obsessive tendencies, which can be seen in this clip.)

Film by Eric Minh Swenson. Zemer Peled utilizes a process of creation and destruction to make sculptures consisting of thousands of handcrafted porcelain shards resulting in works that can be read in relation to art historical tradition, outsider art, and natural phenomena. The sculpture’s narrative impulses lean to encounters with the otherworldly—like complex topiaries marking a not-so-distant land--yet they remain distinctly tied to earth’s patterns. This conflation of the foreign and familiar creates a frenzied dislocation in the work. Inspired by migratory habits of birds, a sweep of feathers, and cycles of change, the works spiral outwardly in rhythmic patterns, interpreting not only the dynamism of nature, but also the startling strangeness of a life lived in transition. Using white and colored porcelains, Peled transforms sharp slivers of porcelain into feathers, petals, leaves, and spines that describe objects of unknowable origins: seductive but untrustworthy. The forms are complexly ordered from the inside out, often bulging or spilling over with textures both delicate and severe. In some works, large scale-like ceramic pieces appear airy, delicate, and fluffy, as if one's breath might break it. In others, Peled's fragments are geometric barbs that mysteriously take on an alluring form - offering a sense of softness despite a sharp actuality. The forms are never static; the visual dance of sharp ceramic parts conveys a sense of constant movement. Like a murmuration of starlings, the sculptures appear to shift shapes as you move around them, an identity becoming and unbecoming in front of you. The act of making for Peled is a feat of endurance, improvisation, and adaptation with the aim to embody a fleeting but fundamental feeling of mystery. The construction of her sculpture parallels negotiations any outsider makes in encountering a new world as they delicately construct a self that is both adaptable and resilient. Peled (b. 1983) was born and raised in a Kibbutz in the northern part of Israel. After completing her BFA from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design (Jerusalem), she earned her MA at the Royal College of Art (UK). In recent years, her work has been exhibited internationally, including such venues as Sotheby's and Saatchi Gallery (London), Eretz Israel Museum (Tel Aviv), and the Orangerie du Senate (Paris), among others. The artist currently lives and works in Long Beach, CA. 
 For more info on Eric Minh Swenson visit his website at thuvanarts.com. His art films can be seen at thuvanarts.com/take1 Eric Minh Swenson also covers the international art scene and his writings and photo essays can be seen at Huffington Post Arts : http://m.huffpost.com/us/author/eric-minh-swenson/

 

 

 

Already Existing, But Still New

One week into the fourth semester of my grad experience and despite it being the repetitive process of coming to class on time, doing the assignments, and not binge eating at all hours of the day...its still all around a new experience.

So yes, lets take a moment and bask in the glory of the newness of things. Much will be changing in 2017- to include a new president of the free world for better or worse, a solar eclipse that hasn't happened since 1918, a march of women on the White House, new gym memberships that will get at least some use, technology will continue to evolve, conflicts shall arise, and we will all get a little older. But let's get real, all of these things have already been happening in the world for who knows how long, and yet with each new year they magically become new again, and the bit of hope in our own existence is renewed.  It's a cycle, endless as it may seem, the only things really that come with a new year are realizations of what was not accomplished in the last.

Therefore I want to talk about some things that I did not accomplish and what I learned that I intend to apply to 2017 moving forward. They are less resolutions and more so just board concepts I hope to apply to myself as we circle around this bright star.

1. Understanding- What I mean by this is that I honestly just want to take the time to understand better. To listen to what someone has to say and before I give my option, take a moment and reflect on what was just given to me and then and only then respond if it is actually worth my two sense. Often I noticed last year I had a tendency of letting my strong personality dominate others. I am strong willed, a leader, and have a extreme confidence which is great for what I want to do in life, but not so great when it comes to actually taking the time to understand those around me who are less confident or who have opposing ideas/personalities. Understanding is not a resolution, it's just a better way of going about my day in general.

2. Knowledge- I will, at all opportunities, look into and read up on things suggested to me. In grad school its not uncommon to have ten new things you'd never heard about thrown at you in one conversation. This year I intend to look into all of them on some level. Knowledge is more than understanding, which is why it's number two on my list of things because it's being able to take what you know and apply it through understanding as an application, a tool.  Reading essays on art theory will boost my own art process as well as my teaching in the classroom. Plus I'm sure we could all use a little less social media, television, and internet for a change and actually get into some literature thats been around for decades.

3. Health- Now this last one also builds on the previous two in a way. Over the last four semesters here I have taken it upon myself to be mindful of my heath while in school. It is easy to lose track of an eating schedule (especially when you teach a class from 11-1:30...the prime lunch hours) and then consume low quality, cheap food. Grad school does that to you. The lack of money, time, and energy is begging for health problems down the road. Therefore health is a combination of understanding and knowledge. Understanding that I need sleep, water, and exercise, and knowing that I can educate myself on bettering my daily life through research into a healthier lifestyle.

Understanding, Knowledge, and Health-what do these have to do with a grad students art blog you might be asking? Well they all already existed but now I am giving them priority over the smaller things in my life.  I can already see small changes in the way I am going about my day now that I put a focus on these three broad concepts. For instance I did some significant digging on how to throw larger ceramic pots without hurting myself and came across an immense amount of information that I didn't even know was out there. This interest was spurred on by somewhat of a failure of mine from last semester in that I limited the scale in my work and gave in to gravity.  This year I am changing that for the better I hope. I've got quite a few things going in my studio right now in terms of larger thrown pieces but I can already tell that just after this first week and the few discussions I've had with my professors that I need to sit down and draw out my plans. At this point in my program I can't go about my work so intuitively, and I need to develop my sketches of my ideas further before I begin actually making. Of course the work will evolve as I make it, but I need an end goal in mind before I begin.


As for artists that I came across this week while looking for inspiration and technique ideas, I found Bryan Yerian. In looking for a youtube video on composite, or coil throwing I found this artist and then realized that his artists statement is actually quite referential to my own. Here is a snippet of his artist statement:

I view art as a byproduct of a process; the pursuit of preserving a moment in time. My artworks are reactionary artifacts inspired by life experiences and memories. Objects, materials, colors, and patterns are the vehicles I use to communicate the striking contrasts I observe in everyday experiences.

Mold making is a symbolic process of capturing and preserving an objects likeness. By utilizing molds to replicate objects I am able to transform objects into symbols meant to evoke a sense of familiarity, as well as unknown. The objects I choose to replicate carry inherent meanings I associate with contrasting themes such as mortality, vulnerability, comfort and safety, and real and surreal.

I intentionally use archival and timeless materials as a method of preservation and transformation. Clay and glaze are unique materials, in that they can easily mimic other known materials, such as metal and fabric, and are simultaneously densely archival, yet extremely fragile. These are characteristics I intentionally exploit in my art.
— http://www.bryanyerian.com/artist-statement.html

His work looks interesting but I don't see the relationship with the words in the statement to the actual work, which is my exact same problem so I've been told. Connections with the concepts to the actual work is the struggle we all face as artists but it's really the struggle of a graduate student and the ten or so professors critiquing work. I've got to connect the ideas in my head to the work in my hands at some point, or at least get closer than I am now. The video on composite throwing surely helped me though. Already in the studio I have three new vessels working, and a forth made from building together thrown donuts and hollow bowls. Here's hoping that will pan out a bit more.


I know that the goal of these blog posts is for use to research artists and get involved in their work on some level, but I take them more as a stream of consciousness in terms of whats happening within my studio and then with myself in the larger art world. I was bad and didn't post a single blog post last semester. So much has happened to me since I last wrote back in April 2016, that I feel a brief but elaborate recap is in order.

First of all I went to Ireland for five weeks as the resident assistant for the European Council Water Ireland Program and had the time of my life. Learned how to direct 44 students in a foreign country and did my job well enough to be offered a return position for Summer 2017 as the single resident assistant.

I went to conferences. A lot of them. Specifically I attended SECAC in Roanoke, Virginia with my friend Cyndy Epps and presented on a panel titled Letters to a Young Artist. My paper focused on the "artist on their phone" and how media is interfering wth their working process in the studio. I also presented at SLSA in Atlanta, Georgia on a senior panel for theory in art regarding "object-ness". I was the youngest on the panel, and also the only graduate student in a group of four other well established professors across the country. At SLSA I also presented a poster on the Inherent Qualities of Clay and was one of four art students in the entire poster session of art historians and theorists, which was over two-hundred in number.

My show Trifecta, which I curated with my friend Jessamy McManus was a great success over the summer at Augusta University in Augusta, Georgia. It had eighteen artists from across the state participate, and highlighted the three public master of fine art schools in the state- Georgia Southern, Georgia State, and University of Georgia. Trifecta prompted a connection to within all three schools and has since developed a "show swap" within the universities as well as Trifecta 2.0 happening this summer at the GA State campus. So that was an enormous success in my book!

In December the graduate group went to Miami again for Art Basel 2016, and this time brought along a few deserving undergraduate seniors as well. The trip brought about discussions of art and the art market as well as the context of the fairs and their purposes.  Places like Pulse and NADA, who have more so emerging artists verses the big names like Art Basel who focus on the well known and the classics.

I also taught that dreaded 2-2 load at Georgia Southern that I mentioned in my previous blog posts and it in fact was not that bad at all. I actually really loved it.  I ended up teaching 2D Design and 3D Design Monday thru Thursday in addition to taking my own classes, and am currently doing the same thing again this semester. Teaching I feel is what really got me to the point of my three new years goals/concepts.  It put myself into a bigger picture and allowed me to see myself in a new light. So I have immense gratitude for the opportunity given to me in that respect.


As for 2017 so far, I have kept up with myself but it's too early to tell what will happen this semester. Jessamy and I bought out tickets this week to attend the CAA Conference in New York in February and thats about as much excitement as I can muster at the moment. I intend to continue presenting at conference, want to get into more shows, and am in progress of trying to establish opportunities elsewhere for myself. Just have to keep pushing forward and things will happen.

Thanks for the read if you made it this far and welcome to 2017, the new year, new semester, and new opportunities!

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