Visual Journal (J.A.)

This week I went on a post-election photo/search-for-beauty walk. I've been inspired by textures that are formed by the relationship of elements within our natural and manmade world. Here are some treasures I found that are a byproduct of these intersections. 

 Electric box. 

Electric box. 

 tow truck I

tow truck I

 Tow truck II 

Tow truck II 

 vines on concrete. 

vines on concrete. 

 Rain and wattage. 

Rain and wattage. 

 puddle

puddle

 freak box top. 

freak box top. 

 decay 

decay 

 hood

hood

 oil spill. 

oil spill. 

Audio (Prepared Piano- Erin Dalton)

For the past three years, I have found myself on the edges of undoing, toeing the lines of new personal musical territory. After years and years of feeling very rigid in my approach to writing, I finally allowed myself to just listen. I wanted to feel the freedom of experimenting without the fear of failure (whatever that means). Would it be okay if I tried this unusual chord progression or, dare I say it, attach objects to the strings inside of my piano and just see what it sounds like?

Looking back to my undergraduate days, as one of those oddball music composition students, John Cage's works for prepared piano had always sparked an interest. I, too, wanted to expand the bounds of what I had previously understood to be the only sounds one could procure from a given instrument. 

I created this piece last summer in my tiny living room with my piano, a field mic and some basic GarageBand effects. My goal in this was to piece together my affinity for simple, chordal harmony with the contrast of the rougher, mechanical-like prepared piano effects.

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Visit www.erindalton.com for more of Erin's work. 

Visual Journal 4 (Ice Storm-JA)

This year Jan we were all landlocked for a few days because of a massive Ice storm. I got out several times to see what winter textures I could find. Enjoy

Visual Journal 3 (Joanna A.)

Here's my visual journal from a lovely day spent with Sarah D and her sweet boys. We decided to go on a brisk rainy day walk to see what textures and  treasures where to be found. So naturally that meant trespassing onto the golf course. We wanted to make a fire to warm back up. While Sarah  was in the store getting supplies I experimented with her prism while waiting in the parking lot. I  finished off our photo sesh with a few embers and flame. It was a wonderful day full of wonder, delight and good good company. 

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A Winter Beach in Film

“The person who sees participates in life; the person who merely looks does not”

— Christine Paintner

A few years ago a good man gave me an old 35mm camera that he hasn't used in years. I also let it sit for it's own dusty years on my shelf, hoping one day to get back to shooting film and wondering what secrets the camera held. I finally took it down from it's quiet place over Christmas and put it to use. I have to wonder why I let it sit so long, why I wasn't ready to see with slower eyes. I do love shooting digital, but there is something about film that raises the experience to another level. You take your time, you carefully consider what you see and why you want to capture it. You have no idea if it really worked, and you have to wait a good while to find out. instead of  time spent editing hundreds of almost identical images to pick the right one, you get that 'one' and that one alone, to sit with, in all of its faults and beauty, without an invitation to retouch or change or edit edit edit - it simply 'is'. Shooting film invites into 'being'. What a kind invitation. 

These shots are from boxing day 2014, where a South Carolina Christmas beach invited my children and I into an unusually warm reverie. 



Fugjimura's Truth Bomb

Makoto  Fujimura is a visual artist that I've been following the last couple years. Not only do I admire his stunning work but also adore his writings and thoughts on art and faith. 

This post is a reflection of one of his writings titled "Art, Love and Beauty: On Art, lecture 1". In it he tackled the ominous question "what is art?"

He writes: 
"Art is a faithful way of knowing the world. In this way, art and sciences share our journey toward knowledge.  Science recognizes the boundary of the closed natural world, and then attempts to understand the mechanics of how things work.  Art, in some specific ways, goes beyond those boundaries.  When Carter Ratcliff notes that “art is inexhaustible,” I think he is referring to art's role in breaking open boundaries, a core of art experience that is truly generative.  Art can substantiate the “invisible” realities, beyond what the data shows.  But both art and science can begin with a commitment, and a faithful covenant, to knowledge.  Therefore, both require an ontological base of faith as the starting point of this journey."

I love this because it focuses on the tangible and intangible. I find myself needing to attempt to describe the tension, marriage, and relationship of both. I find much of the art I see in galleries and museums is restrained within either boundaries of our world or within ourselves. And I find much of the focus in the art market and academia is resigned within the stifling cell walls of money, showmanship and ego. 

Fujimura says,"If we are going to ask it at all, I suggest we need to ask it from a more human perspective. We need to link “what is art”  to the greater question of “what is life?”  And for such deep inquiry, we have to be willing to suspend our 'lust for certainty' (Bruce Herman) and be on a faith journey toward a mystery of our being. "

For me, the art I love has an illusive quality, an distinct lack of certainty, and a touch of etherial and concrete. It mimics nature but also nods toward 'the mystery of our being.'  And this, I believe takes a long time to be able to do. And it requires both patience and tenacity.  You can see some of these things described in Fujimura's work. I love the way he describes his process: "in my studio, I stalk.  Or better, I wait.  I wait for my art to show its face above the murky waters of the art world, my own assumptions and my own ego. "

Being able to step outside of our own self imposed cell of certainty and anxiety is a very tall order. I hope that I will be able to keep the question "what is life" more at the forefront as I'm wading waste hight in the creative process in which also swirls the concrete of bills, fear, ambition and pride. I hope I find the boldness to wait and let the mystery of our being rise above the immediate and find realities beyond just what data shows.

You cand find  Fujimura's full article here and he speak of these things much better than I: http://www.makotofujimura.com/writings/art-love-and-beauty-on-art-lecture-1/. 

Posted by Joanna