Friday, December 3, 2010

The Turning (it's finally here)

My final show is up! We (me and my cohort of friends and family who have donated hundreds of man hours in my behalf---thank you, thank YOU, THANK YOU!) got it all done in a day. A very long day.

After Mikey and I put the tools away, picked up the garbage and packed up our boxes, I realized how my entire body was throbbing. I'm pretty sure I hobbled all the way to the car.

But it's up! (and will stay up through the 14th of this month).

And you are all invited to the opening reception tomorrow night, December 3 at 6.








And to whet your appetite, here's a sneak peak at what we did yesterday . . .

Our magic car with all 25 paintings, 3000+ hexagons, tools, odds and ends and everything else all inside. It's sort of like the Barney Bag.


Even if Santa isn't real, his elves are. Here they are in action, stringing together the 20th generation back on my dad's side. (Side note: Someone asked me if the paper was a bracket of some sort. Retrospectively, I wish I would have answered, "yeah, it's all the possible outcomes for March Madness. I'm sort of a super-freak.")


You've got to see it in real life. And smell it. And look closely at the names. And listen more closely to hear them.

Hope to see you tomorrow night!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

things keep moving

Today I have spent 5 hours writing inscribing the names of my ancestors on wax hexagons. The hexagons that I spent all last week making. The hexagons that half my family came over to help punch and tie (bless you, bless you, bless you...)

And now I can't feel my middle finger.

I noticed that I was writing slower and slower. I punched out a generation and a half before lunch, and I've barely done one since. I remembered this whole blood sugar when you're pregnant thing. And drank some orange juice. It's Mikey's special. (Thanks dude). And I'm feeling much better.

I planned on doing my hair today but it has been in and out of several buns, pony tails, and braids all day. Maybe not doing my hair isn't saving me time in the long run. Isn't that how it is with everything though? You think you save yourself by shirking something and end up having to deal with it later (in a bigger, more tangley way).

After this show is hung I'm declaring a personal holiday for the following week. Do you think I can get my professors to go along with it?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

i'm taxing my whole family

Cassandra Barney came a gave a lecture in my Business Practices for Artists Class. She said several things that impressed me. She was articulate and smart. Savvy, even. But one thing she said stuck out in a major way. She said, "My schedule affects everyone around me. If I’m over booked, it taxes my whole family.”

 I almost laughed out loud because Tuesday night half of my family was at my side helping me cut out hexagons, punch holes, and tie them together. We tied over 500 hexagons. This installation project is much bigger than I had anticipated (and I'm blaming in on Typewriter Grandma's sister who is busy-as-a-bee--pun intended--finding more progenitors) and I think I've brought on a case of The Worries among my family members. (Sorry guys).










I'm confident I can finish (or, we can finish...) and I'm hoping it will be as powerful as it is time-intensive.

Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

in progress

i've got over a dozen paintings in progress. it feels good and it's nice to think that i'm making progress, but at the same time, mikey's plea to "just finish a piece!" is ringing increasingly loud in my ear.

here are photos of some of the "in progress" paintings.










i was critiqued in class today and it went really well. they felt (as do i) that so far my installation is more successful on several layers, but i'm working on getting my paintings up to speed. they need some tlc.

after i went straight to my studio and a kid from my class came in a little while later. he told me he "appreciated hearing the dialogue on my work" because before he thought i was "painting for the marriott"

i asked him, "the marriott?"

"yeah, like hotel art"

and then he meandered off and i wanted to throw my paint brush at his head.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mmmm

Some more yummy images...


Monogold by Yves Klein

Thursday, May 13, 2010

currently inspired by...

the installations by Chris Burden:
Reason for the Neutron Bomb, 1979
All the Submarines, 1987

the sculpture of Jackie Winsor:
Bound Grid, 1971-72
the scultpure of Ibram Lassaw:
Kwannon, 1952
the sculpture and installation work of Eva Hesse:
Sans II, 1968
the sculpture and installation work of Louise Nevelson:
Sky Cathedral's Presence I, 1959-62
Untitled, 1961
the collages and paintings of Robert Rauschenberg:
Mother of God, ca. 1950

Thursday, April 29, 2010

individual v. community

Where have I been?

Making a bunch of studies, most of which I'm not happy with, and generally feeling discouraged about what I'm doing. The last month of my studio practice can be summarized by unrealized goals.

But.

Already this week I'm feeling more encouraged about what is going on. I'm still plugging away on a few paintings. Patterns have taken over my life. But I'm also exploring other mediums--I have started working on an installation with thousands of wax hexagons, began research for an audio (maybe video?) piece, and am continuing to refine my ideas.

I feel constantly inspired. I feels like everything relates to my ideas about connection and ancestry; the weightiness of being connected to humanity through a family.

I'm taking a contemporary literature class. After two days I already love it. In fact, when I left class today I was sad that I had to wait until Monday to attend again. It's that good. Seriously. Our professor is inspiring and brilliant. A girl turned to me the first day and said she had her class last semester and now wants to be our professor she grows up. Now I feel the same way.

We read an essay about universalism, how post-moderns view the ideal of universality or absolute truth as hard to swallow. I'm right there with them to some degree. Aside from beliefs that are directly tied to my religion, I find very few things that have a sense of universal truth. Regardless, this is a tangent...

The essay talked about how we as American's can't fully understand African literature even if we speak the language, know the history etc (and vice versa). It mentioned a story about a girl who was born into a family that worked as servants/slaves/maids to the French (imperialists, but that's my word). The family she worked for moved to France, so logically, she went with them as their hired help. She found herself disenfranchised by two cultures, she wasn't African, she wasn't French. Eventually she committed suicide to release herself from the slavery her family helped to perpetuate by essentially enslaving themselves.

The American sees this as a tragedy because she ended her life. Yes. True. But this is only part of the problem. To the culture in which the story was written, she has only temporarily released herself. She has trapped her ancestors, broken the cycle of life, and, if she is an only child, she has ended the family lineage. She has, in short, committed a terrible abomination, and the African reading is horrified by what she has done. the religious overtone relating to ancestral worship is completely missed by the Western reader.

After reading this essay I realized that my work is in part about this. We are connected in a community. The modern American society so much emphasizes the individual, the freedom of choice. But what it overlooks is the consequences on family, on community, on ancestry and lineage. We are connected deeply. Our choices affect those before and after us.

There are ideas about individual verses community at play in my head.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

pound it

after a few critiques and a meeting with a professor i think that what i need most of all is just to create. i need to make stuff, whatever stuff comes to mind. i think this will help me in a variety of ways. the problem that i face is that i'm often driven by a "vision" of what i want a piece to look like before i begin. this gives me direction as i work. but i feel a little bit like i'll be creating in a vacuum without this sort of foreknowledge of what my piece will look like.

i think collaging was good for me for that reason. it's hard to conceptualize what it will look like, but it gradually takes shape as you continue to piece it together.

i don't think i'm going to give up chairs completely. and i've started really focusing on patterns as a way to describe "the stuff between." i think they do bring a form to ordinances, sacred connections, connections that are so significant that they tie into our personal salvation.

today at the university forum the president of the united states catholic cardinals spoke, francis cardinal george. before he spoke a faculty member lead the congregation in a prayer--catholic style. before praying she explained why they feel it is important to pray together and how it ties into their theology about salvation. she said something to the effect that, "although we believe we are all loved and known individually, we believe that we will be saved as a community." i liked that idea of connection, of one affecting another in an indirect yet direct way. though i don't know my ancestors directly or personally, their salvation affects mine.

there is something interconnected with saving ordinances. i thought much about this as i was sealed to my husband and pondered how i am now sealed to him and his family, as well as my family. i visualized a complicated web of connections that bound all of us together. it's as if everyone will be bound and together, humanity will be saved through the connections that we have to eachother.

so i'm going to make. i'm going to spend one month (until the end of march) just creating whatever comes to mind (while i think about my ideas and ponder on the universe). i'm excited to do this and see what will come of it.

maybe nothing.

and if so, i'll pick up at the end of march and keep making until i make a break through. but i'm going to back off of my ideas, try to not contrive my work, but let it come out of more organic processes. i've been pounding my head too hard.

it needs a rest.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

the stuff between

i've been pondering for days about what i'm talking about in my art. a long discussion with my husband a few nights ago has got my head spinning.

at a glance it's about ancestors. surely the piece i'm doing for the Education in Zion is about individuals, a way to sort of honor their legacy left on my family, a way to learn about them, feel a connection to them. the purpose that the stories serve in my process is helping me to feel a connection. but the art itself isn't meant to be about them. i don't want to do "chair portraits" per se, i want to talk about the stuff between.

what is between? what is between me and my fourth-great grandmother ellen? spirit, tradition, honor (thank you byu cougars), ordinances, strength, connection, legacy . . . intangible stuff.

so that is my challenge is just that. paint intangible forms. or, create a form that describes the stuff between. do i leave chairs completely? are chairs and i at an impasse? i haven't decided yet, but i do know that i need to figure out a way to give a form to these ideas that, right now, seem completely formless.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Visual AIDS

I entered a work into a show months ago and was accepted. That was pretty cool. But even cooler was that my piece was purchased.

Here's an excerpt from the letter I received:
Dear Paige Crosland Anderson, 

We write on behalf of Visual AIDS to express our heartfelt gratitude for your submission of artwork to the 12th annual Postcards From The Edge benefit for Visual AIDS held January 8-10 at ZieherSmith. . . As you know, all proceeds support the work of Visual AIDS. . .

We are happy to report that your piece was purchased. We requested buyers to provide this information in order to share it with the donating artists. Your artwork is in the collection of: Roger Braimon. . .
It's good to be able to put another show on my resume, as well as feel like I could help out in some small way through my art.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

we feel fine

"we feel fine" is an exploration of human emotion by jonathan harris and sep kamva. it is completely incredible. i've spent way too much time looking at it.

i was first exposed to the project through a ted talk. so cool. watch the video. (even though it's 20 minutes long)





i feel like it has helped in my personal concepts about just the masses of people, how we're connected, how we affect one another. it may be a bit of a stretch, but it was completely inspiring to me.

power v. importance

i've been thinking a lot lately. i've been thinking about what i want my art to look like. i've been thinking about how it would be received in a larger context, how it would fare in the contemporary art world. i've been thinking about why art is important.

i remember last year hitting a wall and thinking, "what am i doing?! i am an object maker in the latter-days!" it seemed insane then. sometimes it still seems insane that i invest so much time in something that may end up being completely insignificant.

(is the only way to make art significant to make it a big deal on the "art scene"? there are a lot of things happening in contemporary art that i don't want to have stacked against my work. there's a lot of shock art, immoral art, art that propagates ideas that i find irrational or offensive. i don't want my art to need to compete with that.)

maybe a better question, rather than "is art important?" would be, "is art powerful?" i don't think that is even disputable. so how to i make my art powerful? if my art is powerful could it transcend the current art practices that i dislike and still be competitive? will it be important because it is powerful?

do power and importance equate? is something powerful inherently important? is something important inherently powerful?

Friday, February 5, 2010

photo concepts--they constituted my universe

I spent more time photographing yesterday. I took some thumbnails I've been working out and then set up the still life. I think I've figured out how I want to attempt the painting of Ellen, Hortense and Helene. I already know the title of the piece. It's going to be, "They Constituted My Universe."

 
sketches


from left to right: Ellen, Hortense, Helene
I gathered things that I thought could represent these women or stories I've heard of them. I think the chair on the left looks like Ellen. Hortense was a church historian, so her chair has books like Jesus the Christ, Articles of Faith, the Book of Mormon . . . anything I could find that was old-looking and church related. Helene was a musician and my mom actually has her sheet music (the green books under her chair). I think they are the most beautiful music anthologies I've ever seen. You can't see it here, but they are tied closed with a green ribbon. I choose oranges to signify their settling in California as well as thoughts relating to "by their fruits ye shall know them" or "fruit of their loins" things like that.

 
I included a lantern (that actually came from my great-grandparents farm in Oregon on my other side) in some of the photos. I imagined Eliza R. Snow leading Ellen to the endowment house by the light of a lantern the night she got married.

these women i can seem to get enough of

Ellen Lundberg Goddard

Hortense Christine Goddard Ottinger

Helene Ottinger Crawley


Helene, Peter and Micky

Peter, Helene, Micky, Emerson (and Pal the Dog)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ellen Lundberg Goddard

I have been working on researching three of my ancestors for an upcoming group show in March. Their names are Ellen Lundberg Goddard, Hortense Christine Goddard Ottinger, and Helene Ottinger Crawley. Helene's son, Peter, is my grandfather. My grandfather says, "Those women constituted my universe, and I was the center of their universe. I mean, those ladies raised me."

The three of them lived under one roof most of their life. Grandpa Pete told me a small vignette that he says typifies each of them.

He said at dinner one night his father told a joke, not a bad joke, but one that had a "slightly earthy component." Helene, his shy wife, blushed, Hortense, the most pious of the group, frowned, and Ellen, resident ham, fell on the floor laughing.

I have become fascinated by these women and their lives. It makes me feel so connected to the legacy of women I am connected to.

I did most of my research yesterday on Ellen's life. She was married at age 19 in 1882. At the dead of night on the seventh of April she was summoned by Eliza R. Snow and taken to the endowment house to be married to Joseph Goddard. He was 20 years her senior and she was his second wife. The two married, but immediately went their separate ways as this was at the height of what Mormon history deems, “The Raid”—a period of time following the 1878 Supreme Court decision that declared polygamy was not protected under the Constitution—where polygamists were rounded up and put in jail. The Goddards were forced to lead a life of secrecy. Ellen took up residence in Salt Lake City under an assumed name, "Ray.” She was visited periodically by her husband who spent much of his time in hiding. She had three children, Frederick, Hortense, and Percival.

I am captivated by her story. I think of the woman grandpa describes, one of spunk and humor. Grandpa said she was "the best salesperson of the group" (at one point she sold chocolates Hortense made to make ends meet in the mid 1900s). She seems fun-loving. And yet look at her history! She was married at 19 in the middle of the night to a man who was almost 40 years old. She lived under a fake name. She raised three kids basically on her own.

Did her personality come out of her hardships? Did it take a woman of humor and spontaneity to take courage and marry this man so young and so secretly? Why did she marry him? Did she know him and love him before? Was she aware of the life she would lead because of her choice to marry a man in hiding?

And yet, she emerged from her youth as someone who seems to have unbeatable spirits. Maybe a little wild? From the stories of her life she seems to have emerged full of joy and laughter.

She amazes me. I want to know her. And I hope that through making a painting about her, and by reading as much as I can about her life I can.

Friday, January 29, 2010

chair symbols

My ideas for the chair series center around connection, ancestry, and family. I've found that chairs are a useful symbol in portraying these ideas (I just haven't found the best way to do it yet)

The following are my associations and thoughts regarding the symbols in my work:

Chairs
- for families or individuals
- chairs can be stand-ins but still ambiguous about identity (not about identity)
- they have arms, legs, seats and backs
- Mary as a throne for Jesus, how mothers are thrones
- “no empty chairs” (Elder Maxwell)
- “mercy seat” or “throne of God” how we can become Gods, our own thrones etc.
- judgment seat
- D&C 69:6 "For the land of Zion shall be a seat and place to receive and do all these things"
- A seat prepared at the feast of the Lord
- Ether 12:37 "And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore, thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father."
- Reference to domesticity, women in the home etc.
Patterns
- Temple work
- Patterns in our lives that parallel the patterns in others lives
- The pattern of our lives that leads us back to Christ
- Patterns created in ancestry
- As a reference to quilting, domesticity, pioneer heritage
- Sacred geometry
Repetition
- Reference back to patterns
- Monotony, mundane, arduous, endurance
- Little things make up big things, being a part of something bigger

source photos

I spent a few hours last week shooting hundreds of photos. I learned a lot when I started to paint from them. While I like the look of the blurred edges and ambiguities, I think it will be better to set up the chairs almost portrait-like (with controlled lighting , bringing in other objects etc) and interpret the lines and shapes with my eye rather than making the lens do that. I do like many of the compositions however.

I started a few studies from them. We'll see how it goes.




chair concepts--a launching point

This was my brain dump from a few months ago. It acts as a launch point for my ideas.

What is my art about? What drives my chair series? What questions am I getting at? It seems to me that the answers to these questions have become rather unclear over the course of the semester. My pieces lack definition conceptually. But the concept is still there; it just needs a bit of unburying.

The concept for this body of work has been curing in my brain for years. It all began with a comment made by my German teacher in high school while we were in Germany on an exchange with students from another school. I was invited to go with he and my mom to Prague for the afternoon and of course I jumped at the chance. On the way back I was reading Lectures On Faith and somehow we got into a conversation about temple work and ancestry. Stefan made a comment that has stuck with me since. He said that he thinks there is a lot more significance to ancestors than we even realize; they play a more vital role in our lives and the Plan of Salvation than we realize…something to that effect at least. I remember how true his comments felt. It closed my eyes and was overwhelmed by how vast it all seemed, but how powerful the numberless people could be. I pictured all of these links, and then I thought of the scripture in D&C 128:18 that says:
. . . It is sufficient to know, in this case, that the earth will be smitten with a curse unless there is a welding link of some kind or other between the fathers and the children, upon some subject or other—and behold what is that subject? It is the ebaptism• for the dead. For we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect. Neither can they nor we be made perfect without those who have died in the gospel also; for it is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fulness of times, which dispensation is now beginning to usher in, that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time. And not only this, but those things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent, shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times.
I felt like in that moment I caught a glimpse of how important temple work is. We say that it’s important and obviously we believe it or else we wouldn’t do it, but I feel like there is so much beyond the why’s and how’s it important that is too big for us to comprehend. There is something more.

_______

Last summer I started a project where I interviewed my grandparents about their lives. We started at their birth and talked about them growing up, their parents, their interests, dating, meeting their spouse etc. It was an incredible experience and I’ve never felt closer to them (which is saying something because I have lived in the same city as both sets of my grandparents for my entire life). I felt a connection to them that I had never felt before. What was amazing were all of the parallels in my life and their life, or the lives of their parents. I was also stunned at the same sort of emotional problems or characteristics that I shared with my grandparents and great-grandparents. I was impressed by their strength and courage and entertained by the stories of their lives.

For the past year or so I have had many reinforcing experiences that tell me the importance of our connection to each other. Especially our connection to our families.

And it all sounds so cheesy. But nevertheless, I feel like it’s been in my head for so long, I just needed to spend some time getting it all out, and the experience has been good so far.

At first I drew solely on stories from my grandparents to make paintings for this series. My mom’s mom told me about her mother who was so much of a neat freak she would put newspaper over her newly polished floors for days so they wouldn’t get dirty (grandpa asked why she didn’t just save herself some time and put down newspaper instead of bothering with waxing it since they never got to see it shine). She had the straightest drawers. Grandma said that her mother was always after her for not having straight drawers herself. As she was telling me this all I could think of was my own compulsion to tidy drawers, straight lines, neat stacks and rows . . . I felt this connection to my great grandmother that I never had before. My grandfather’s mother was a singer and she wrote songs. I’ve done a bit of songwriting and took one of her lyrics that I found in a dusty box in the basement and wrote a tune to it. I felt a connection to her.

So I made a painting about straight drawers, but it felt too contrived and forced and just not very good. Maybe it’s because this was the first painting of the series this semester. But either way I didn’t like it. I searched for another story and became fascinated by the one my grandpa told me about his mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who, as he said, “constituted my universe.” They lived under the same roof nearly all of their lives. My grandpa only says things of utmost praise and admiration for these women. What a strength they were to him.

That painting was better, but still didn’t convey what I want it to. But what do I want it to convey?