Thursday, February 10, 2011

Writ Crit: Lyndsay Nevins

Lyndsay Nevins installed a mixture of prints, photographs, sketches, and objects, all incorporating found items. These works include recent sculptural installations, new prints, a couple works from the end of last semester, and plans for future projects.
The presentation visually flows from the harsh contrast of the black-and-white print, to the grayed-out collagraphs, and then the pieces that have a range of colors. This organization reflects a conceptual evolution in the work. All the pieces aestheticize found objects to different degrees and manners.

The inked up pieces of trash form a striking aerial-like composition, hinting at another world.
There is an balance of abstraction and recognizability of the objects used. On a wider scale the smaller parts transcend into a cohesive landscape. The actual inked-up pieces also give insight into the process and serve as another form of aestheticized found objects. Compositionally, the actual objects on the floor appear to flow out of the print, connecting these two different elements.
The collographs enlarge the used objects, beautifying and transforming them through scale and the minimal rendering. The scale brings one’s attention to a typically discarded object, yet the faint graphite color reinforces the transient nature of the wrapper and can. Both objects are also visibly used with the can flattened and a corner torn on the wrapper. This element of the prints signals a human’s relationship with the object, and through the rendering and nature of object suggests one of consumption and thoughtless discard.

The Reese’s print stills transforms a found object, but in a way that differs from the others. The
colors used, composition, and dissociated elements taken from the wrapper seem like more of a study than actually hinting an outside relationship. This piece does not fit conceptually for me as much as the other works because it is not necessarily a found object. Because the print analyzes the elements of the packaging, it could be a found wrapper or simply a Reese’s from the vending machine.

On the adjacent wall, the photos show a telephone pole covered with signs and staples. Through
the cropping of these photos the telephone pole becomes striking through the grayed-out colors and rusted staples. Also, the nature of a telephone pole suggests the interaction with and collection of materials from a larger community. It serves as a public announcement space seen by anyone passing through and paying attention. Also, the disintegration, cluttering, and overlay signal the passing of time and general chaos in this type of democratic space.
On the pedestal is an organized collection of objects roughly by color. Not all the objects look like trash, such as unopened medicine and a coiled belt. Rather, as suggested by the names some of the items, they are all from one person and look used or discarded. The sketches above the pedestal are for different possible sculptures made out of collected items or installations involving trash. The color in them is appealing, especially with compared with the monotone prints and the expansion into space is engaging.

Overall, the work signals a relationship to a person or community through aestheticizing discarded, found, or generally mundane objects. In the landscape print, the direct connection to an urban environment is visible with the landscape-like compositions. The work does not seem to take a stance that littering is bad or Americans are excessive. Rather, the message is more nuanced, revealing the knowledge on can learn about an individual or community through the discarded items - at least in the most recent pieces where the items our more visible in their original form. The earlier print abstracts the pieces so that they are almost unrecognizable except by their shape. Throughout the work, the discarded object in its found form is revealed more and more, through realistic depiction, photos, and using the actual objects.
Two important aspects in the work relate the significance of the items used. One is whether the items relate to an individual or a community and the nature of that relationship - discarded items or objects that are currently in use. This work as taking on a relational aesthetic aspect because it uses the object’s social context as a starting point for insight in the work and emphasizes the relations held by these objects. Another important aspect is the degree to which the objects are aestheticized or manipulated by the artist. The organization by color is visually appealing and still allows access to the objects. Through manipulation the objects can be obscured, emphasizing their purely formal aspects, or used in their original form - allowing for relation of the object to be more readily accessed. Using objects in this way does raise the question of where does the ‘art’ come in or how are the transformed. Is it simply through taking them out of context and putting them into an art space, organizing them, or actually manipulating them? Why make them more beautiful or bring our attention to these items? With using these types of materials in an artistic setting brings up of waste - just by the fact that they are used materials. As the work grows, I think it will be important to solidify what types of objects and why they are being used. The sketches provide an interesting direction for the work to take and seeing all the work together
One artist that has some similarities to Lyndsay’s work is Chris Jordan. He uses photographs to portray in mass consumption in visual form.
Also, Peter Menzel who photographed pictures of families with all the possessions from around the world.

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