Tent-ing

There's something I've always liked about fort-making and tents and quilting. So, this Fall, I've been doing all three in what I've been calling my "Tent Project".

 Sewing it up!

Sewing it up!

The idea behind this project isn't only aesthetic, of course, but I've also been wanting to talk about what it means to be inside or outside and if that delineation can be questioned within the context of a gallery. In doing so, I'm also wanting to talk about what it means to be an insider or outsider of catagories or groups of people. Can you be both at the same time? Are the boundaries ever steadfast or can they be permeable?

 The tent at it's current, stretched out size of 25' x 12'-- me for scale.

The tent at it's current, stretched out size of 25' x 12'-- me for scale.

 Barnwood scrap flooring. I'm gonna add some obvious plywood copies of some of these pieces in here later.

Barnwood scrap flooring. I'm gonna add some obvious plywood copies of some of these pieces in here later.

I've still got a lot of work to do, but my goal is to get the majority of it all sorted out before the end of the year. In the meantime, I've got a pretty nice studio fort.

 

 The interior of my tent when it was about half the size it is currently.

The interior of my tent when it was about half the size it is currently.

Artist Statements

I've always had mixed feelings about artist statements. Sometimes, I understand their function; they can help clarify and prepare the audience for things that they may not have much knowledge about. Other times, however, their purpose can seem as if it's to cloud already amorphous ideas so that the artwork appears to be "smart" or "complex". This is usually done by using obscure usages for uncommon words. It drives me crazy.

 John Baldaessari's   Terms Most Useful in Describing Creative Works of Art  (1966 - 68)

John Baldaessari's Terms Most Useful in Describing Creative Works of Art (1966 - 68)

Last fall, I read this article about the phenomenon of bizarre language in the contemporary art world. It's well written: funny, interesting, informative, and surprising. I highly recommend reading it for those who are frustrated with the current confusing language in art, or for those who are simply just curious.

So, here is my attempt at creating an artist statement that I think fits the content of my work, but is also an attempt to work conceptually with my art:

On Baldknobbers: Truth, Fiction, and Construction

Taney County still holds the name of those men who sat up on Snapp’s Bald in 1883.With flashing lights and TV commercials, Branson gives a nod to the folks who swore to protect life and property from bushwhackers and Cole Younger’s gang. Though they’re not the same sorts of folks that are seen today. The Baldknobbers that reside in Branson are old men who sing songs about teddy bears and apple blossoms and the delta that they’ve never seen. They make faces where they suck in their lips and puff out their cheeks. They snap their neon suspenders and say things like “aw, shucks”. Those new-age, old-aged Baldknobbers show no sign of hoods or horns or fire. They don’t show the group of vigilantes that first protected, then grew too large to control and went far beyond the punishment of Matthew 5:38. In an attempt to bury the past, the stories of the Snapp’s Bald vigilantes have muddled truth with fiction. Now most of what’s heard of them is a group of bumbling old men, sold to tourists that come to the Ozarks for some comfortable taste of “redneck country”.

It's certainly not perfect, but I think it starts to point towards becoming art in its own right, which seems far more interesting than creating something that's confusing or dull or both.

Studio

I doodle a lot. Sometimes I'm thinking of specific memories or stories, other times, I just try to make something that I enjoy making, without worrying about the final result.

 Sketches and notes from a lecture.

Sketches and notes from a lecture.

 More sketches and notes from the same lecture.

More sketches and notes from the same lecture.

So, in an effort to make work that feels less stifled, I've decided to bring in some of this sketching from my notebooks into my work while also going back to collage, which I love to do.

They're certainly not all there, yet, and I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with this new work, but I'm enjoying it regardless.