Post-Critique Reflection

Questions and responses: 

How am I planning on sourcing materials to make art supplies from? What is the best way?

I hope to follow experts into the field and achieve some sort of land restoration as I harvest materials under proper guidance. In this way, it is my belief that I will learn histories of the land and people, and follow in the footsteps of others while making sure to understand the context of them and how my footsteps fit into an emerging continuation of stories that stem from the practice. 

I have thought about creating figures. Why? How do they relate to my research and the body of work I will develop?

Figures, bodies, body of work, figurative work, literal work, literal bodies, littered body of the land. Why am I thinking about figures? As walking is a large part of the research involved, my own body is a major site of accumulation of ideas, energy, and materials. I will be physically affected by this journey, as well as collaboration with other somebodies. I was inspired by Lee Relvas bent wood figures at The Lumberoom, and the paradox between their emptiness and implied action. How can my actions be full, make sense on a plotted course, and move beyond their space and time to influence my future? As a figure in the landscape, I hope to represent healing, restoration, artistic influence on unsustainable thinking about land, and I would like to charge figurative work with these characteristics visually as both a record and a map for the future. Looking at the connections between the black soap works of Rashid Johnson (recommended to me by Pat Boas) and his experiences and understanding of the world will keep me aware of how I am treated by people whose advice I seek, and reflect on how my physical presentation affects others reception of me. I will express my feeling about this through process and product. 

Is my art products? Are the art supplies that I make, the art itself? The art of supplies and the failures that I reap along the way?

I am not sure. Only time will tell. Ideally, I will make materials, and subject matter for drawings, paintings, and sculpture will reveal itself along my journey and join my writings and research as visual components of the project. 

I am interested in the burn area from the Eagle Creek fire. What about visiting it? 

Right now, some of the areas are still closed. The forest service expresses that it is urgent for people to stay away from the site in order to let it heal, and for personal safety. I will consult artist Gary Wiseman on visiting the site, as he has worked extensively with making art supplies and works from burn sites on public lands. Currently, logging companies are lobbying to clearcut the area, even though most of it is actually fine. I found information in a recent article by Katie Herzog:

"Right now, Oregon Representive Greg Walden is attempting to pass a bill that would expedite salvage logging (aka clear-cutting) on 10,000 acres of the burn area with no community input or environmental impact assessment. If Walden's bill passes, it could do more damage than the fire itself, according to Michael Lang, conservation director of Friends of the Columbia River Gorge, a group that works to protect and preserve the area....

Portland filmmaker Trip Jennings took a helicopter over the Gorge with John Bailey of Oregon State University's Department of Forestry, and Bailey's assessment from above was surprisingly optimistic. While the Eagle Creek fire was certainly large, only about 7,300 acres of the burn area were "highly burned," and nearly 27,000 acres (or 55 percent of the total fire area) were barely burned at all....It's just not that big of an impact," Bailey said. "We need to get beyond our fear of fire and the sense that fire, when it's out in the forest, is unnatural and it destroys the forest. Yeah, it destroys trees and behaves in ways we don't like but ... most of this was actually good fire. 

   Katie Herzog • Oct 9, 2017 at 1:24 pm, Tulu Dinagde, Teasha Karrell and Michael Tamayo, & Savage, D. (2017, October 9). Good News! Oregon's Eagle Creek Fire Wasn't That Bad After All. Retrieved October 29, 2017, from

Pat Boas suggested that I look to Mark Dion and think about how his work is organized for presentation for installation inspiration. 

Mark Dions' work is presented in a scientific manner. He is quoted on his website as saying, “The job of the artist is to go against the grain of dominant culture, to challenge perception and convention.” Appropriating archaeological and other scientific methods of collecting, ordering, and exhibiting objects, Dion creates works that question the distinctions between “objective” (“rational”) scientific methods and “subjective” (“irrational”) influences.

I feel this is very true for me. There is an article called, The Marfa Stratum in the book, Art in the Anthropocene, that unpacks the relationship between art and rational thinking, which left me with a better sense of how to articulate my practice. A passage that suggests that we toss the definition of "rational" imposed upon us by modernity first asserts that any rational thinking is just a carrying out of dominant ideology and ends with a call to rationalize that thinking is indistinguishable from a certain kind of doing. In this way, art is thinking, and making art while ingesting the world will reveal the thinking that went into it. Art absorbs thinking. The hands synthesize context and content, and solidify feelings. This is very much needed in a time where our "rational" thinking has become a platform for industry to continue to steal the futures of many through control of resources and subversive, mind controlling marketing. 

Add in from 10/31: 

Pat, “How do you know what it is that you are thinking if you are not making work?”

Science always tells an orderly story - mapping out journeys in select steps that are meant keep the attention of the intended audience and prompt them to discuss it or argue about it, and wind up looking either nice or meaningless, or maybe harmless, or threatening to those who don't understand it. All content that is presented is carefully thought out for the audience and context of where it is seen. In thinking about my work in relation to science, and Dion, I will attempt to take accurate ongoing notes and documentation along my process in order to have plenty of information to select from to tell the final visual story in the way that will best suit my audience and exhibition space. Since my intention is for this work to be site responsive, I would like for it to be partly experienced by the audience through site specific interaction. I love gallery spaces, and the clean, lab like format they offer, as well. I hope to be able to further research the work of Ryan Pierce to help me understand how audiences can react to this type of situation, and seek solutions to a multiple site exhibition that takes viewers site seeing and fully engages their senses and sense of belonging to the work. 

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