Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Best Kind of Limitation

Often I talk with my students about how limitations and constraints can be good for an artist. They can increase creativity by reducing the sometimes mind-numbing thousands of directions and options. At least, that's what they often do for me.

This science-and-art project that focuses on the processes of management, regrowth, and ecology in the Long Term Ecology Research sites at the Paul Smith's College VIC is a challenge. There are so many organisms, microhabitats, seasonal changes, and management types that making art to interpret any of this can feel too big and too complex.

I worked through various styles and formats for making artwork of my own for our exhibition, and I could not settle on what I wanted until a perfect collaboration occurred to me. The professor teaching the class that is organizing this project is also a poet - my friend Craig Milewski. When I realized I wanted words to combine with my images, the poem Craig is writing about this place and its ecological processes seemed like the right fit. And Craig agreed.

What you see above is a try-out of several pieces that will be layered to make one of five for the show opening on April 24th at the VIC, one for each of the parts of Craig's poem. The perfect and best kind of limitation - and collaboration.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Regrowth, Energy, Mystery

Photo of the clear cut plot with the March snow. 
Printed on the textured and painted background. 
This image reflects the regrowth, energy, and mystery I feel at this place, completely cleared of trees about 15 years ago.
Last season's bird nest in a red maple above the "Plot #2 - Clearcut" sign. 
The architecture of this young forest holds and defines the life here.

Today I am working with questions.
  • what format shall I use for the final artwork?
  • what do the colors I use say about the meaning of the work?
  • how will I incorporate data, maps, other images?
  • can I use some of Craig's poetry with the images?