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."


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.