This past week one of my professors assigned something that I immediately began to dread, gathering books from the library. The actual library, not the online interwebs I love so much, but physical books from within a physical building. My mission was simple, get five books; three that relate to something you're interested in, one that is completely off topic, and one that you just happen upon and "found". I put it off until the day before class because I personally don't like the "idea" of going to the library and searching for books...or at least I thought I didn't like it.
After just over two hours of exploring the "N" section of the Henderson Library at Southern, I'd gathered up seventeen books. Yes you read that right, not just the meager five, but seventeen books ranging in topics from ceramics and their glazes, to theory and how to critique contemporary art. I was a kid in a candy shop. I'm still not sure what made me feel such distaste for the assignment to begin with because I ended up having a very good time searching for things to read and pilfer through. I've had them for a couple of days now and I'm already preparing to try out new glaze tests, make a porcelain clay body, and read up on how to show your art when you don't know what your art means. And the best part is that the books aren't due back to the library any time soon because I am a grad student. Lucky for me, I get to keep them for the rest of the semester until May, unless someone requests them (which I doubt will happen).
Aside from the book adventure, my friend Jessamy and I took a trip to the local saw mill on Thursday and saw the complete process of lumber production from start to finish in the Claude Howard Lumber Company mill. We submitted weeks ago a proposal to paint Statesboro's Eagle Nation on Parade plaster eagle, and we won the proposal! So the whole week was spent planning our pitch, meeting with Mr. Howard, and then actually seeing the mill. Now we have to come up with proposal #2 for our next meeting and incorporate all of the things we saw at the mill and what was discussed in our meeting. It might sound a little odd for someone like me, who does sculpture and ceramics to want to paint a giant bird, but I'm down for a challenge. I painted multiple murals before my time here at Southern so I'm not a stranger to painting, but this will surely be a challenge. Once we begin the painting job I'll be sure to mention our progress briefly here in the blog.
Sadly I missed the very famous Carrie Mae Weems give her lecture at SCAD this past week. She presented her work Considered at the Trustees Theater at SCAD through the deFINE Art 2016 program. My fellow grad Carrington who did get to attend gave me a brief run through about the lecture, and how Carrie Mae Weems touched on her appropriated pieces from the Harvard Library. We went over these the day before her lecture in class when we were discussing appropriation and what it's limits are within art. I think it's crazy how Harvard originally was trying to sue her for the image use, but when she accepted the lawsuit and said that people needed to hear about these images, and see what was being "studied" Harvard dropped the case. A few years later Harvard invited her back to give a lecture and exhibition about those very works. Simply amazing! This prompted me to investigate the history behind the photographs and Art21 has a great video on Appropriation and Borrowing. I found out that the people featured in the images were treated like experiments, and specimens. The professors at Harvard wanted to prove that the black man was inferior to the white man, genetically, physically, and mentally. Weems brought these images to light, and I'm looking forward to seeing some of her works on display in Savannah when I visit this weekend coming up. I plan to kill two birds with one stone and take a side tour to SCAD while I am at m conference for the British Commonwealth Liaison Program.
Overall this whole week was centered around stepping forward into knowledge and not fighting it so much. I have a tendency to get overwhelmed with task management and assignments but this past week I really focused on just going with the flow. I didn't want to go to the library but once I accepted that I had to go, I really enjoyed myself. I thought the saw mill was going to be a waste of my time but in fact it was a huge eye opener for me. I never would have known that this city was actually built around the mill originally, or that they supply 90% of the building materials for the city of Statesboro. Plus the process was so cool to see from start to finish and it's definitely gave me ideas for when we begin to paint the eagle. And finally even though I did not get to go listen to Carrie Mae Weems lecture in person. I took it upon myself to do a little searching and read up on what she is currently doing as well as a little history about her work. I really believe the seventeen books I gathered up will help me finally get an idea about what my ceramic pieces mean...maybe. Now I just have to get to reading them!