Saturday, May 03, 2014

One Week to Graduation

This time next week I will be waking up on Saturday morning as a graduate from PAFA with a Masters in Painting. It has been a long trip, which started in 2008 with me taking an anatomy class in the spring and then entering the undergrad in the fall in the certificate program. I think exhausted is the word of the week for just about everyone I know. There was also a bit of panic for some as well which is typical for the last week of school and the last few days of hanging the ASE. Many spent late nights writing papers or trying to finish paintings and sculptures fighting last minute disasters and brain frying all-nighters.

I unpacked my jeep and then laid out the arrangement of my wall on the floor with Alina's help.That went pretty quick and then Will and I hung the wall in about 2 1/2 hours--a new record. Having hung a lot of shows in the past few years really helped speed this up, as well as having two extra sets of hands.


  I cannot say how great it is to have such a group of good friends at times like Will and Alina, and I think they were actually more excited than I was about my wall and me graduating.

I suppose its a certain numbness one gets too at this time, the numbness from a lot of work and I think sometimes a mix of conflicting emotions, maybe in the weeks and months after I am done and moved out of and settled in away from school I will be able to better reflect back on the end of the MFA process and my time as a student.

I very happy with my ASE  wall and have a great spot right by the stairway and food, so I should get plenty of traffic and that will hopefully lead to sales! My friend Barb Young who has been framing my work for several years now did an outstanding job matting and framing the pieces and they look great. I feel I can actually relax now and enjoy the rest of the ride out the door even if I get kicked in the shins on my final review. For now it feels so good to be basically done with the whole thing except for my final crit in front of my wall. The last month has been the busiest one I think I have ever had between PAFA, teaching and commercial assignments. Its a grind I would never want to repeat, but its paying off now and that feels good.




I think the pieces hang well as a group, I am really happy with the way the wall looks and having two extra pairs of hands made the process go much faster and a lot more fun. There were  a few fellow students hanging their work on Sunday when I was hanging, and that meant the big rush would be coming in the next few days as the deadline to hang the work was last Wednesday afternoon. Brian Boutwell and Mike Gallagher who were in charge of running the show kept a tight ship and these guys really do an awesome job helping prevent disaster and meltdowns. There guys deserve all the kudos and cold brews they can get!























 I learned in the undergrad that getting done as early as possible was the best choice for your ASE wall, so you buckle down early in the semester, bust your ass and that makes the last few weeks easier when you have all of the papers and other things hit you almost every day. If any perspective PAFA painters are reading this (and I know you are) that is my advice. Work early and hard as it will make the end so much better and more enjoyable. I know 30 years of handling deadlines as a pro also help me here as I have learned to live by the deadline and pace myself. Time management is key here, something we all struggle with.
















It was fun to walk through the museum and the two floors the rest of the week (Undergrad on the first and MFA on the second) and watch the show go up and see the work by a lot of undergrads I don't know and those that I do. I also pitched out when I could and helped some fellow artists get their pieces done. I enjoy that part of the process a lot, and I think that is something I will miss. I had my final talk with Judith Schaechter in front of my wall for the end of my seminar with her class. Judith banged my writing again in the class as a whole, but liked my landscapes. She also didn't like the draped or hooded female figures, like most of my teachers, yet time and time again I had my fellow students tell me how much they liked them as I received comments on my wall all week. Interesting, it really seems to be a generational thing with those paintings.




My new business cards and post cards to hand out at the show also arrived this week and that was the last detail to check off the list.


The MFA1 crits were this week as well and I did manage to catch the last day of them to see what the first year  artists were up to. Some were kinda' so-so-straight forward and one was a bit more contentious. That's good as it shouldn't all be just nice hand shakes and co-signs. I made it to my friend Gabriel's crit despite the terrible traffic, the result of the torrential flooding ran we had this week.

The crit process is always a mix of feelings for us more representational or figurative painters in the program. I feel its a lot more frustrating for us as painters despite the resurgence of figurative art in general outside of school. The undergrad at PAFA is still pretty traditional but in the MFA program its just not the cupcake of choice.

Clint Jukkala the head of the MFA program texts away after the last crit of the MFA1 years.

I often felt kinda' alone in many regards as a painter doing the figure or landscape, though there are a handful in my class also doing those subjects. The idea of what is "contemporary" or what is good painting just baffles me!


 I cannot disagree more about these esthetics and choices after two years in the MFA program. Two years dealing with modernism and post-post-post whatever has only steeled my convictions and tastes.

 













I also don't want to hear the word "contemporary" ever gain, or at least for a long while! I think its the most overused and miss-used or applied term in the art world.














I can also see the school or the MFA programs shifting before my eyes. My class will be the last  graduating class from PAFA to do a thesis. There are other changes coming as well in the next years and I think the program will be very different in tone and maybe even thrust in the coming years.




My final crit in front of my wall is Tuesday afternoon, right after lunch, and then Thursday is the Women's Board Preview Night and graduation on Frday and the public opening of the ASE. This will be a busy week and one to celebrate!

1 comment:

El Vox said...

The art looks great! Thanks for sharing.