Final Finals Week
Well the final week of my master's program is here and its time to wrap everything up. Ive got a few projects and assignments to finish up and submit but for the most part the major things were due last week. I turned in my revised complete thesis paper to the College of Graduate Studies last week. The whole experience is ending in a way I never thought it would, online...socially distant...no idea of the future. Im not really sad about missing graduation as I hadn't planned on walking but I thought I would have time to take in the last few days at Georgia Southern. Instead I have been at home for 8 weeks now, communicating my end of the masters program through emails and a few phone calls. I guess college really is you, your laptop, and your water bottle against the world. That is one of my favorite memes on the internet because it was true before the pandemic and even more so now.
I did do one final painting that was experimental. For my final piece I wanted to start exploring different forms of boundaries. The covid outbreak really brought to attention the way we are contained rather to our home, our land, and our county. All of this has shown how boundaries are prevalent in our lives. Moving out of my studio forced me to work smaller which I thought at first would be easier but it presented me with different challenges. The threadwork in my painting was easier due to the reach but the black and blue line work was actually more difficult on a smaller scale. The painting is a 14x14 canvas, the overall outline is actually the county line boundaries, I then put my plot of land in the middle of the county. I am not considering scale with this painting, focusing more on working with multiple boundaries. As for the color palette I wanted to keep things bright and vibrant, I think in part to my current mood. I didn’t want gloomy colors or anything subdued. As I said the threadwork was easier so I wanted to go pretty heavy with the threadwork and really fill in the blue plot of land with a variety of textures of thread. I think the back of the canvas is interesting as my plot of land it full of thread on the back as well as the front.
Working Through It
Two weeks out from being officially finished with school, its an odd feeling. Due to the pandemic my artistic approach has changed slightly with what I want to produce. I am working smaller due to the space I am in and really experimenting with a variety of boundaries. It is interesting because what I thought would be easier working smaller is actually just as or maybe even more difficult, many the line work. However the thread work in my paintings are easier with a smaller canvas as my reach is better, clearly. I am also working on finalizing all my other studio class work and my gta teaching work. It has been an interesting time to see how classes work online and how some expectations change and how some stay the same.
I never could have predicted that my artwork dealing with plots of land and boundaries that discuss ownership would be able to tie into a virus pandemic. Now looking at the world and how my art can adapt to the "new" environment it is in is an interesting challenge.. In a weird twist of events I am creating work about my land while being forced to stay within the boundaries of that land. Although it has been nice to be home and enjoy the warmer weather, constantly being able to be out and create a schedule that reflects more around outside time rather than class schedule. I am realizing how much time I am spending outside since I am lucky enough to have land that I can go out in rather being cooped in an apartment. A statewide "shelter in place" means one should stay in their home and only leave for essentials, limiting their contact with other people. This time has shown me how important it is to myself to have this land that create space between me and others, Im not really experiencing the "cabin fever" effect since I am being out in nature within my land. Regarding my art, I now see how the boundary aspect of my work is going to be enhanced even more and how lines are important now more than ever.
This past week I traveled down to Statesboro to retrieve a few things and supplies from my studio and apartment. As we were forced to move out of the art building, I had a lot of packing I needed to do in a little amount of time. I was able to get all of my supplies out but couldn't fit all my massive canvases in one trip, so I will have to get those later on maybe in May. It was pretty dang sad, rushing to move out my stuff, I was leaving anyways but to have it cut short after such a hectic yet successful first half of the semester, I cant help but feel the rest is a waste. However I know it not, its adaptive, it what we have to do in regards to what is currently happening, doesn't mean I cant be a little bitter about it. Im not going to get to see any of my students again or be present to help them with their projects, everything will be communicated through emails. My students will have 5 "extra credit" projects for the rest of the semester to help boost their already established grade. As for my own classes they are still pretty much the same just shifted online and a few different ways of approaching the expected projects. This Sunday is going to be spent prepping for the online week ahead. We will see how it goes.
WELL...Quite an interesting past few days it has been, to say the least. I was looking forward to a week off school (Spring Break), I had planned on working some, getting my hair done, and taking a much needed break. However the Coronavirus COVID-19 seems to have hit America overnight. Now I was well aware that there were cases popping up and yes I heard about all the hoarding of hand sanitizer and toilet paper but I hadn't fallen into panic mode yet. I already had plenty of hand sanitizer, being a germ freak from the get-go I had replenished my supply at the start of this semester so I was good on that. My Sunday was spent running to a few stores stocking up on food as I was about to spend a week or even two by myself basically in the middle of nowhere so I needed to go into town and get what I wanted for the "quarantine". So now it social distancing time, time to spend alone and get random chores around the house done. Im trying not to think about school for this week since it is actually my break but so many things have changed in school, when it starts back up, its going to be a big shift and probably fairly stressful. Until then I am trying to enjoy the alone time.
It has almost been a month since my thesis exhibition and defense took place. There have been a lot of various events going on since then, a visiting artist, a spur of the moment gallery show, and a two-night critique. I originally thought I would take only one week "off" to kind of catch my breath, yet it has turned into three weeks. I kind of have been avoiding my studio which feels odd since I was basically living in it for the first month of the semester and was able to bang out 2 fully completed paintings in a one month. I think I kind of burned myself out in the actual producing artwork department. I haven't totally been lazy though, I have been trying to get my written assignments and projects back in line and up to date. I have been looking at jobs and residencies and working on updating my website with new gallery photos of my work. Last week the MFA students had a two-night critique and then we managed to throw up a gallery show at the Rosengart Gallery spur of the moment that will be on view for the month of March, which is nice. So in the end, the past three weeks have been both very productive in all aspects except the physical painting part. This next week is Spring Break, and while I am looking forward to an actual break, I know when I come back I will be ready to get in the studio and sling some paint around with the new ideas that are in my head.
Well it was nerve wracking but I made it through last week. On Thursday February 20th, 2020 at 10:00 am, I had my Oral Thesis Defense. I was pretty anxious leading up to the actual defense, I took the first of the week to prepare and go over what I wanted to say in my defense and practice. I then received the news that around 70 undergraduate students were going to attend my defense, along with the already 15 fellow graduate students and an unknown amount of professors, I got pretty nervous. However given the space of the University Gallery it was suggested that only half of the students attend to avoid crowding of the space. The day came and I defended my work in front of 60 or so people. At first I was really anxious to start speaking, however after I few minutes I felt calm. The whole process took about an hour, the part where I talk, the questions asked by the professors and then their deliberation. I was told the good news and then this over whelming sense of relief came over me. It is kind of an odd feeling, that moment is built up over three years and it all comes together in a weeks time then in just one short hour, its over. There is plenty of stuff left to do and work I want/need to get done but last week was the bulk of it. So I am relieved, excited, and ready!
The week is finally here. My work is currently on display at the University Gallery at the Center of Arts and Theater at Georgia Southern University. Last week was full of finalizing details and meetings with professors to discuss my work. I am really excited for my show to be up and to finally see all the works together in one space. Thursday February 20th, 2020 is my Oral Thesis Defense so I am taking the beginning of this week to prepare for that and hopefully Friday at the reception for my show I can say I passed the defense. This week is really what all my time and studio hours have been leading up to, so yes I am nervous but I am also really enjoying the time I have this week and hopefully next week to reflect on my work. The title for my show is, Plot, as my work is dealing with land properties, I wanted a somewhat simply title that helps lead the viewer into the works.
Two Weeks Out
I am officially two weeks out from my thesis exhibition. I am installing my paintings next week on Wednesday with the help of the gallery crew and director, Jason Hoelscher. I am excited to see my paintings out of my studio and physically all together in a gallery setting. The process should take a full day or two, even though they are paintings which are relatively easy to hang, figuring out how to arrange all of them the way I want will take a few arrangements. My work will be in the University Gallery at Georgia Southern University.
My main goal this semester is to have a successful thesis exhibition and defense right in the middle of February, so I am a month out right now. My exhibition dates are February 17th-21st, with a reception on the last day. Currently that is what I am working towards and solely focused on, finishing up my art pieces, mapping out how they will be displayed and all-around prep for the show/defense. I want to have a total of 10 pieces completed for my show, with the option of leaving one out if I feel it isn’t up to par or just doesn’t work. I am hoping after February I can breathe just a little and make more time for some more exploration of my work and perhaps an experimental piece or two. I would like to produce 4-6 pieces of new work this semester. I am also already looking into job applications, one studio faculty position and a year-long residency, I have a few started and want to continue to look for more opportunities. I am on the tight rope of trying to wrap everything up but still wanting to stay immersed in my studio practice.