Saturday, November 02, 2013

PAFA MFA 2 Fall Week 9: A Final Step in the Count Down to Graduation

 Halloween week has come and gone like a mere waft of spookiness this year. I partook in none of the merry horror with all of the horrific deadlines I had this year. I had to turn down the party offers and sat ignoring any trick-or-treaters running up and down the rain slick streets of my neighborhood. I gave out no candy or comics this year as I just didn't have the time to sort through comics to find the appropriate ones to give out--if kids would even want them. Of all fall semesters since being in school this, my final has certainly been the busiest one, and maybe that is fitting as a big sendoff and countdown begins in full to leaving the world of academia behind as a student.  I also registered for my final classes a critcs for my last semester in the MFA--and boy was I happy to do this. It's like watching one of those hoses on the Apollo that caries some kind of power or fluid detach in the count down. I'm so happy to never have to go through registration again, or the FAFSA, etc. I am very excited to leave Planet PAFA as a student and see where the art rocket will take me.

I was a guest speaker last Monday at Arcadia University which featured my best bud and Grand Poobah of cartooning, Jamar Nicholas. It was a great honor and a lot of fun to talk about comics and World Building on the panel with Jamar and the host, Matt.  This took place to kick off the exhibit featuring Jamar's work which is up at Arcadia through Feb, 2014. You can watch a video of the talk here on youtube.

 This last Friday was also the latest 8th Floor Gallery opening which features art by the various students on the 8th floor at PAFA. I have been too buys to either submit anything nor have I been asked of chosen so far, but I popped down to eat some cheese and ginger snaps and yak for a few minutes. Most everybody went out to gallery hop for First Fridays, but I went back to the studio to paint for a few hours instead. It would be nice to go out, and maybe I'll make it about to see some of the new shows over the next month---but painting must be served!! I didn't even submit anything to LaPelle's winter show, even though I was asked. I just didn't feel I had something I wanted to submit and there is plenty of my work in the gallery already. I'm looking to make some moves too, so I am keeping my work back for a bit to see what changes might happen in 2014.


This was the first painting I did yesterday, and its based on a very small section of a picture I shot with my iphone while driving to Lancaster a few weeks back. the section of the picture was probably less than an inch in size and I cropped and blew it up and liked the composition I saw. The fact it was both a hazy morning and the digital grain of the picture was there added a lot of atmosphere and possibilities to interpret what was there. I was also ruminating on my last crit with both Noel and Denise Green. I was think that how paintings of nature, of the beauty of nature  are never really questioned I the way it is currently popular to critic the male gaze of female beauty. Its there a male gaze of nature? A Female gaze of nature? Denise liked my little study of a nude male you can see in the picture above. I put a male in a position like one of a young girl in a painting by Balthus. I don't really intend to go any further with this, though Denise thought i could explore painting this as a series of paintings of transsexuals. OK, sure. Except I am not interested in sexuality or gender issues as a painter, not at all. I like the beauty of the human form, but I am not wrestling with any identity issues myself. The idea of painting a tranny like Jennie Saville might sound like a interesting ideas, but for me it would be more akin to doing an illustration than a painting I have a feeling about in some deeper way.

So the idea of painting that would not be of any interest to me but it made me thing of how people react the idea of gender, to the beauty of mother nature in my work and how we almost always think of "Mother Earth" or Mother Nature" and refer to the Earth or nature in feminine terms and nobody ever seems to bring up a negative feeling about that. I'm sure out there somewhere there might be a feminist who actually does object. A feminist with leg hair as thick as the densest pine forest who objects to the objectification of nature. But it got me thinking about how often I feel in school you are defending things, your tastes, your choices in subjects, mediums,  topics, the politics of your art which might be the politics of gender or seen through the modernist or post, post, modernist lens of sexual orientation. I feel I am a defender of skill, tradition, beauty, history and the connections they all have from the past to now--to me. I really kind'a hate the word contemporary now. Like the word Genius, I think its should be struck from usage for a long time. Its I feel like the N word for art. It's loaded. It can be a term of admiration, support, an insult, a put down. It seems certain people use it too much and its a way to segregate artists and the validity of their work.

So this, the second painting I did yesterday based on my photo I shot during a morning commute into Philly to head to school--is this a "Male Gaze' picture of nature? Would a woman do this different, even not choose this scene at all? if so--how so? Can you tell its made by a male painter if you looked at it without knowing it was me who painted it? I think I might be chewing on this idea for a bit.

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