i am ni – MK Bozeman

Poem and sketch inspired by the senior exhibition.

 

my name is ni

i like to hide

with only darkness

as my guide

i never go

outside my hole

i use the earth

to warm my soul

 

but for one day

i go outside

into the light

and then i tried

to catch the warmth

from the soft sun

its warmth is new

and lots of fun

 

i came upon

an empty place

all walls of white

filled up the place

my dirty hands

left marks around

i did not know

what i had found

 

for in that place

so crisp and clean

i made my own

artistic scene

my dirt and mud

left hands behind

my mark for someone

else to find

 

i left that place

to go back home

but as i walk

my thoughts still roam

i wont forget

the things i did

the time that i

no longer hid.

MK’s review of the Senior Exhibition

The senior gallery exhibition was a unique atmosphere bringing high art to a sense of commonality. Maria Welch’s work focused on dirt’s relationship to her experience with grief and loss. The connotation of dirt being a free material brought a sense of familiarity to the work, yet it was unusual to bring a mess into the gallery. The tactile nature of her work required extreme attention to detail while allowing for audiences to interact and create individual meaning for the often ambiguous pieces. Ninette Hickey brought performance into the exhibition, showing the process of creating a character from scratch. Each minute of the performances brought a new aspect to light. As she worked, audiences observed her method, gaining insight to the process Ninette uses to develop roles, starting with fully understand the personality that creates dimensionality to her costumes. Each student brought insight of their experiences, allowing viewers to engage with their process and interpret personal meaning.

“Modified Print: Breaking the Rectangle,” a review by Maria Welch

One of the last panels I was able to attend while at SGCI was as student panel, meaning all of the representatives were graduate students, titled “Modified Print: Breaking the Rectangle.” All of the students discussed the various ways their printmaking practice was going beyond the traditional rectangle format, works varied from animation and cut out prints to installation. I was particularly struck by the print installation work of Mizin Shin. She began by discussing the two different ways we normally encounter artworks: one to one experience and multi to multi experience. As Shin defined it, one to one refers to an experience like viewing a painting, you look at the one thing and you are not interacting with those around you. Multi to multi, however, is more akin to an installation where more than one sense is often being engaged or the eyes are taking in many different things, and there are often others in the space experiencing it with you. Shin discussed her recent MFA thesis work that consisted of a few full room installations in which she covered the rooms from floor to ceiling in prints. As viewers progressed through each room the imagery and narrative changed, but they were all covered to the same degree. I really appreciated the way Shin framed her work and I thought it was an excellent connection to our class, and I would be interested to see how she would approach an even more immersive installation that moved beyond visual experience.

“Clay Collagraphs,” a review by Maria Welch

In addition to the many panels at SGCI there were also demonstrations by various artists, and one of the ones I got to see was “Clay Collagraphs” with Edwin Mighell. Mighell works primarily in ceramics and his approach to collagraphs is vastly different than my own. The process through which he makes his plates is similar to my own, but other than that his process differs greatly. Mighell cuts shapes and forms out, adheres them to matte board, and impresses them into clay to create the positive space in each image. He creates mostly ceramic tiles and the impressions the collagraphs produce allow him to fire multiple glazes at the same time. Ordinarily the piece would have to be fired multiple times because color glazes would mix on the surface, but due to the difference in surface heights he is able to put one below and one above. It appears that the incorporation of collagraphs into Mighell’s work is more about efficiency than it is concept. I was disappointed when I went to see the demonstration, on time, and the artist was not there, and he had just left samples of his work out on a table. I wish I could have heard him speak a little bit more about his reasoning behind incorporating collagraphs, or printmaking techniques at all, into his ceramic works. Despite all of this, the idea of printing two different colors, one on the surface and one below, intrigues me. After this experience I have been wondering if it would be possible to ink a collagraph in two colors in a similar manner, and then using really damp and soft paper print it.

Oscar Munoz- “Aliento” connection to our reading “Men Explain Things to Me”

In reading this article I was also reminded of the work of Oscar Munoz, particularly Aliento, because in this piece he references the “disappeared” of Colombia. I was intrigued to learn more about similar issues in Argentina through Solnit’s writings and lens of individuals being silenced. In my research of this issue I have focused on memorializing those who weren’t even given the right to be declared dead, but it was interesting to see from Solnit’s perspective how that relates to those left behind to live in fear of “disappearing” next. She talks about this group of individuals on pgs. 68&9.

Below are images of Munoz’s Aliento, the photographs on mirrored discs only become visible through viewers breathing on them. The photographs are of people that have be defined as “disappeared.”

See the source image

See the source image

“Work it!! Talking about Professional Practice,” a review by Maria Welch

While at SGCI I attended another Inkubator on professional practice in the hopes of learning more about how to market myself and my work after graduation. I was disappointed to find when I got there that those in attendance were mostly students like me. This was disappointing because the goal of an Inkubator is networking and having conversations with other attendees. While other students are helpful, we were all there with the same goal of learning from professionals. The group I ended up in consisted of three students, one professor, and one practicing artist. Each group was assigned some aspect of professional practice to discuss and then share our findings with the group, we had marketing. Through the lens of marketing we discussed websites, social media, artist statements, updated CVs, and so on. I was surprised when I mentioned things like CVs and artist statements the professor in the group perked up and commented how she hadn’t thought of that before, which seemed odd to me. Our group spent a lot of time talking about social media, with we three students primarily leading that conversation. The one practicing artist said that she had a website but didn’t use social media and didn’t think she would because it felt like too much effort. The professor said she had considered using Instagram but hadn’t because she had not had the time to figure it out. I think the other students were equally shocked by these responses and it really highlighted the generational gap between the two groups because we don’t really have the option to not engage such platforms if we want to be recognized.

“Printing Outside of the Edition: Are we still printmakers?,” a review by Maria Welch

At SGCI there are sessions called “Inkubators” in addition to traditional panel discussions or lectures. These sessions tend to be smaller groups of people gathered to have focused discussion on whatever the topic of the Inkubator is and there is a leader or organizer as opposed to a lecturer. One of the Inkubators I attended was “Printing Outside of the Edition: Are we still printmakers?” organized by Grant Benoit. During this session we were broken off into groups with people we didn’t know to consider the role of the multiple in printmaking practice. My group was relatively mixed between practicing professionals, educators, and students, and we began by discussing our individual practices with emphasis on any experimental aspects. I was surprised by how my group members were stretching the definition of printmaking, many discussed sculptural processes like mold making, some talked about furniture construction, and others wall paper. Within this group, my practice was probably the most traditional and I was a little intimidated by all of these new approaches. As I spoke more about my work though I learned that there were other members in my group that were also using traditional working methods but were considering the ephemerality of those working methods like me. One person, as I was discussing the importance of repetition and the build up of materials in my work, suggested I explore animation or gifs. I agree that the idea of limitless repetition of this medium could be really interesting, but I think I would miss the physicality of materials because that is such an integral part of my books.

“Embracing Limitations in Creative Practice” a review by Maria Welch

Last week I attended a panel discussion titled “Embracing Limitations in Creative Practice” a part of SGCI’s annual conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. This panel featured four different artists discussing various road blocks or difficulties they encountered in their careers or creative practices. During this panel I was particularly struck by Heather Huston’s talk about hinderances in her practice due to her own physical ailments. Huston began by discussing the way that those suffering from various illnesses are often perceived by others, and she particularly highlighted the way she has often felt her own persona has been reduced to her illness. Huston framed her work within this lens and then proceeded to discuss how her own illness impacted her studio practice. I was particularly struck by the way she discussed her own body as “a site of slow disaster.” This phrasing reminded me of durational or ephemeral art, but also was a curious way to think about one’s own body. Much of Huston’s work deals with the inner workings of the body and her work often juxtaposes the clinical and the personal through different imagery and hospital records. Huston described her practice post-illness as making her more aware of the physicality of the medium and has inspired her to incorporate that into her work more. My largest take away from her talk was the idea of an “embodied memory.” Huston discussed this idea within the realm of medicine and bone marrow, but since hearing this talk I have been considering how that language can apply to my own work. I think there could be intriguing opportunities to incorporate more of the literal body into my work with respect to this idea.

MK’s response to “Men Explain Things to Me”

Rebecca Solnit’s “Men Explain Things to Me” is so relatable it’s sad. In the essay, she provides evidences of moments when men who know very little about a topic tried to explain said topic, under the assumption that she must also have not known much about the topic, when in fact, she very much did. Her diction made light of the subject in the beginning, but as the essay went on, her words became serious, referencing domestic violence, rape, and thousands of female deaths at the hands of insecure men, afraid that if women have a voice, it will become apparent just how irrelevant they are.

In the first section of the essay, Solnit references the psychological tendency for people to sort information into boxes. This is a universal phenomenon, yet Solnit only attributes it to men. Is she claiming that men are more likely to cling to their boxes, despite opposing evidence? The reason prejudice exists against any group is because people are sorted into boxes that they may or may not fit into. Later in the essay, Solnit addresses the fact that her essay included several generalizations, and she provides evidence of #notallmen, however, it is nearly impossible to discuss the topic of gender inequality at length without making assumptions of a whole gender based on the majority’s experiences.

The second half of the essay focuses on the distribution of power between the sexes. When Solnit address inequality in the justice system, she says, “Violence is one way to silence people, … to assert your right to control over their right to exist.” Where is it said that anyone has the right to control another? This right is assumed to be a man’s privilege, yet why do women have no claim to power. Men’s desires trump women’s needs over and over again, yet progress is agonizingly slow, and every day, women pay the price with their lives.

It begs the question, how did this power imbalance come to be? Evolutionarily, it makes no sense. In many hunter/gatherer societies, men hunted for food while women raised children, but why were these roles assigned? To put it simply, it is because until recent technological advances, men could not care for young children in the same ways women can. A woman could just as easily hunt a deer, but a man cannot provide milk to a baby. Yet as society advanced and these roles became less necessary, discrimination grew and women were forced into a position of inferiority.

All my life, I have been told to stand up for what I believe in and to take ownership of my ideas. We teach women to be on guard against men and to fight back against their arrogance. But what is being taught to young boys about the importance of women’s ideas. Textbooks are still dominated by the history of old, white men, breaking from the mold only for black and women’s history months. Rather than teaching women how to deal with discrimination, why don’t we take preventative measures and teach all children to treat people different from them with fairness, respect, and equality?