Monday, February 24, 2014

Joyce Hankins Writ-Crit

The work in Joyce's studio is a combination of some of her longer term, time based works and a the newer projects she has been delving into. The oldest piece is the ongoing scarf, installed in the same way as our final crit last semester, but longer. Three prints showing accumulations of marks created from carbon paper setups beneath the stools in other studios are hung vertically on the wall. The major new work is a series of etchings of sidewalk cracks accompanied by a taxonomy of black and white printouts featuring natural phenomena including spider webs, geodes, crystals, honeycombs and other clustered structures.

The presentation of Joyce's work is very clean and tight as usual; the most curious and in process area is the taxonomy of pictures. There are five etchings of sidewalk cracks that correlate to five black and white images of sidewalk cracks that sit outside the taxonomy. The organization of the reference photos follows a linear pattern that is reminiscent of Joyce's mind maps; the images neatly reference their neighbors in form – displaying a kind of cinematic movement or zooming into the patterns. However, the association of the images seems to be limited to the general category (“nature”) and the form, rather than any association with the processes. For instance, octopi to crystals and trees to spiderwebs. This section of the work appears to be the most mid-sentence and perhaps the most lucrative in that sense. The carbon works are interesting turns of process but present messily and without much depth; the marks on the paper don't contain the richness of the accumulative car seat etchings. I would be interested to see if a different sort of ground and a thicker transfer medium could yield better results. The scarf is growing so long! But while it is growing longer, it's form hasn't change much. The installation of the scarf doesn't feel very different despite it's greater length.

I do not have Joyce's artist's statement, but from what I know about Joyce's work she is interested in accumulation as a record of actions and accumulations also forms of organization. These ideas bring into question ideas of ritual, history, and habit. In many of her previous works, and in the scarf and carbon pieces, the frames of reference have been aspects of the everyday; the works focused much more heavily on the imposed structure than the subject – the structure became the subject of the work. I am interested in the turn to the natural subject and scientific phenomena. But I see a divide in some of these phenomena, for instance, sidewalk cracks that mark degradation and wear from use differ greatly from honeycombs, which are built for an animal function, which in turn feel very different from crystals. There is the tension of time – the super ephemeral spiderwebs vs. geologic time or the time of tree growth. The taxonomy here assimilates and flattens these differences in subject to only focus on their similarities of form. The subject of nature brings up a huge breadth of cultural and philosophical ideas including transcendance, change, life & death, time. The work at the moment, although it beautifully highlights delicate and impressive structures, doesn't seem to consider these points as part of its scope.

The etchings are also very logical and systematic steps in relation to their images – they have an exacting one to one correlation in size with the photographs. The delight of the scarf is in part its growth and its restlessness in relation to most of Joyce's work. The scarf, although still in progress, has this capacity to overwhelm with its uneven stretching and dangling strings. The scarf seems closest to communicating the feeling of being overwhelmed by a self-imposed structure. 

 There are a few moves in this studio that I am really really excited about. One is the gesture towards the outside, both in the natural references and back in the pin piece. These pieces are using structures and systems that are already there and that have a depth of meaning to them that extend past the artist. I would like to see the work explore its assertions in terms of subject in that way. I am also excited about etching, which is not a new process for this work, but in process has the potential to echo some of the accumulative processes that Joyce is interested in.

Questions for Joyce

What does turning these images to etchings do? In what ways can the etching process enhance or express the types of accumulation and degradation you are interested in? What happens if you print them on top of each other, or multiple times on the same paper?

When you go to a museum and see work that really inspires you and makes you want to rush home and make art, what about it makes you feel that way? What kind of work is it?

What is the 'subject' of your work? (rather than the form, or concern.) How does nature function as a subject?

What are the etchings desiring of? Why are they made and what do they tell us?

Some artists/theorists:
Mircea Eliade Myth and Reality
religious theorist who asserts that myths provide the explanation and backing for ritual. What is the myth behind your rituals?

Ghada Amer
working with a layering and accumulations with similar form, but with really explicit subjects.

Marina Abramovic “Art must be beautiful; Artist must be beautiful”
I kept thinking about performance art in the way that your works incorporate repetitive structural movements and actions. I do not know a lot of performance art but this is the piece where she is brushing her hair over and over again.

Cat Mazza
knit artist whose work is decidedly different from a lot of elevated craft knit works out there. Still very concerned with knitting as a craft and also the discourse around   women's work, but you still might like her stuff. It is not kitschy.

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