Tag: School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Self as Subject: The Twenty-Two-Year Decision to Paint My Chronic Illness

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The SAIC LRMFA program requires the completion of a 25-page thesis during the spring semester prior to graduation. I wrote my thesis at home in Roanoke and kept in touch with my advisor, Corrine Fitzpatrick, throughout the semester. Because of the subject of my paper, I often felt like I was journaling, so the process was actually quite enjoyable. I read a lot of great material as part of my research, including two books that have become new favorites: How to Write a Thesis by Umberto Eco and The Two Kinds of Decay by Sarah Manguso. If you’re familiar with the latter, you’ll see the influence in my paper pretty clearly.

I’m very grateful for all of Corrine’s guidance and for the helpful feedback and support from my peers Jennifer Chadwick and Malika Jackson. My plan is to continue developing this piece of writing and eventually turn it into a short book. The paper is accompanied by a visual timeline which outlines events in my life that have led up to the work I’m making today. Both the paper and timeline are available below as PDFs if you would like to read/view them. xoxo

Self as Subject: The Paper

Self as Subject: The Timeline

 

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Things Happened + More Things Are Happening

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Hello! If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, then you might know that the last few months have been hectic, exciting, and stressful. Very stressful. I think primarily two things kept me sane: the support of my loved ones and the fact that I really enjoy what I’m doing right now. The stressful part stemmed from having too much to do in too little time. At times I felt like I was spreading myself very thin and I was frustrated by my inability to dedicate an appropriate amount of time and focus to any one of my priorities, which all seemed relatively equal.

The spring semester officially ended last week, and even though I still have a lot to do, I feel like I can breathe again. The unfortunate (or maybe not so unfortunate) part is that my body noticed me relaxing and decided that now I was able to deal with some health-related obstacles. It sucks, but thank you, body, for not doing this to me when I was already struggling to stay afloat two months ago.

The past semester was incredibly challenging and, as most things go, ultimately rewarding. I was lucky enough to work with Janet Niewald, Corrine Fitzpatrick, and Sally Alatalo, three talented and generous women, who served as my mentor and advisors and helped me grow in different ways. In spite of distance, I have remained connected to many of my classmates through Skype, e-mail, and Facebook and I can’t wait to be reunited for our last summer together next month (!!!).

spring 2016 work

I mailed in my thesis last week, complete with a visual timeline, and I will share that here soon for anyone who would like to read it. My book is taking me longer to finish than I planned, but only because I love it so much and I want it to be perfect. Well also because I’ve been working on a million other things too. I’ve been sharing snippets of it on my Instagram and Facebook so make sure to follow me! You can find all the links to my social media accounts at the top of this page.

This summer, I’m traveling to Chicago again for my last residency (somehow it’s already that time). This last residency will consist of a big thesis exhibition in the Sullivan Galleries, thesis presentations, colloquiums, an art history class, a professional practices class, a class on how to do a thesis presentation, 3 visiting artist lectures per week, screenings, studio visits, and a one-night open studio event. Oh, and graduation of course!!

I dare say that most of my work for the thesis show is done, but anything can happen so I’m doing my best to prepare as much as I can before leaving. I will definitely share images once the work is installed, but basically it is made up of five panels of watercolor on Yupo paper that measure roughly 9′ x 9′ altogether. Over the next month, I’ll finish the paintings and prepare them for shipment to Chicago, where installation will begin as early as June 21st.

When I come home I’ll go back to work at the museum, get some teeth pulled (really), and finish preparing for my wedding. Clearly the excitement will not be over for a while! Thanks for reading and thank you to everyone who has been there for me during this crazy time, especially my fiancé and my family. XOXO

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Speed, Multiples, Density, Layering

I’m currently preparing for a new semester of classes, which includes preparing to write my thesis…which is crazy. At this point last year, I had no idea what my thesis would look like or if I would be prepared for it when the time came. When I compare all the work I’ve made in just the past few months, let alone the past few years, it seems as if I don’t know what I’m doing. And sometimes I truly don’t. At times I couldn’t decide which medium to use, whose advice to listen to, or what to make. What I’ve learned recently is actually something that I already knew. I had to work through all that uncertainty to get where I am now. I had to try out different mediums and follow up on advice I was given and make a bunch of stuff that I wasn’t satisfied with.  And now I feel a lot more certain of the work I’m making.

Anyway, the images below are documentation of one of those paths I ventured down. I experimented with layering, manipulating, and mechanical reproduction via photocopier. The process was incredibly satisfying and I’m very happy I spent last summer creating these pieces. One day I might return to them…we’ll see.

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The next few images were taken as I prepared for our summer open studios. You can see the number of pieces on the wall dwindling as I removed the less successful ones.

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I played around a lot with the density feature on the photocopier. And I say ‘played’ because it was surprisingly a lot of fun to just stand at the copier like a scientist adjusting different parts of the process and layering random materials on my drawings.

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Until next time! xoxo

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Fall 2015: Work

The past semester was a bit overwhelming–hence the lack of activity on here–but I’m so excited about the work I’m making. Here are some photos of the things I’ve been working on for the past few months. Next up: thesis!

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Blind Portraits

The visiting artists program at SAIC is really special. During the summer, we had two artist lectures per week and we got to be more involved with 3 of those artists over the course of the residency. We presented on one artist (as a gift to them), had a group critique with another, and had a one-on-one studio visit with the last. Whether I like the artists’ work (and/or personalities) or not, I learn so much from each lecture and each interaction. This summer, I did my presentation on Rodney McMillian, had a group critique with Eileen Myles, and received a studio visit from Alejandro Cesarco.

I’ve started to make blind contour drawings of each artist during their lecture:

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Yvonne Rainer + Gregg Bordowitz

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Wu Tsang

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Andrea Fraser

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Kira Lynn Harris

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Rodney McMillian

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Lynne Tillman

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Eileen Myles

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Josiah McElheny

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Warming Up

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During my second summer in Chicago, I spent the first few creative moments in my new studio drawing fingers. I drew them in continuous lines, as severed tips, with my eyes closed, with my head laying on the table, from right to left and left to right, slowly, quickly, and with a variety of pens.

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These playful drawings set the tone for the rest of the work I created this summer. More to come soon!

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Interwoven

Updated Interwoven FlyerIt’s been a while since this show took place, but I finally have time to write about it! Interwoven was a show curated by my ambitious friend and peer, Pia Cruzalegui, and it included the work of many (class of 2016) SAIC Low Residency MFA students. Our second six-week summer together began on June 13th and the perfect way to kick it off was with this show opening.

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The show took place at Throop Studios in Chicago and was designed as a pop-up show, which means it was only up for one night. A lot of work went into making that one night a success. Pia was able to find support from literally across the world in order to properly promote and organize this show. There were lots of emails and phone calls back and forth. Back in Virginia, I was responsible for creating a Facebook event page and making posts on our Facebook page every day about all the artists who would be a part of the show.

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From left to right: Kelly Long, Mohamad Kanaan, Janice Marin
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June 13th was a hectic day since I flew in that afternoon. I spent a few hours getting partially settled in and before I knew it, it was time to head over to Throop. The space looked beautiful (a team of awesome fellow students had set up the night before) and the reunion was emotional since most of us hadn’t seen each other since last summer.

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fatma al-remaihi
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From left to right: cathy pach, eleanor neal, jennifer chadwick, amy malcolm
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verónica casado-hernández

The turnout for the show included faculty, new students, family members, and other visitors. There were many conversations about events from the past year and the directions our work had taken. It was great to see new work from my cohort. Everyone was exhausted, but the show was a success. At the end of the night, it was time to deinstall the show and prepare for the next six weeks of craziness.

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I couldn’t include all the photos from the show, so please check out our Facebook page for more:

INTERWOVEN on FACEBOOK

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