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.
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.
May 1st the graduate studio class had its last critique of the semester. I had done a semi-quick small painting for this critique as I really only had about two weeks to start and finish the piece. It was a 30x30 stretched canvas and I was working with the same subject as I had in a previous painting but with new techniques I wanted to try out in this one. I focused my use of yarn within the boundary of my own land and still kept paint textures and marks throughout the whole painting. I wanted subtle marks and obvious marks in this piece, as well as many layers. I would go over the painting with a wash of paint, probably about five times for this one. Overall the feedback for this painting was the best thus far, everyone could see the confidence (as one of my professors stated) in this piece that had been missing from the beginning works of this semester. It was a hectic and mind-bending semester to say the least. The dramatic experiments I went through with my technique and paintings really gave me a vast amount of information I had been searching for and trying to discover for awhile now. The professors tasked us with challenging assignments that really only helped us discover more about our art in the end. We will finish the semester next week with final presentations about our art. Ready for the summer and to have a little time to breath before getting right back into the paintings.
Gearing up for the final week of the school year, sooo close to summer. There is a lot to wrap up in this final week of class before actual finals. My own classes as well as the classes I am graduate teaching for, two drawing 1 classes. In my studio classes I have some work days and then the last critique of the semester that will span over two class times in order for everyone to show their most recent work. In my elective, higher education law, we have a last discussion reading as well as a research paper. Finally in my two drawing classes the students are finishing their reflective assignment and will partake in their last critique as well. So plenty of schoolwork to get my hands into and work on completing. On top of school, just getting ready for summer making sure things are in order with various events and affairs will take up my time as well. Two more weeks to go...
The following week after full faculty was somewhat of a blur. The art department had two visiting artists that week among other events to prepare for like Arts Fest. My studio schedule sort of turned into everything but actual creating new work. Monday in my studio class time we had a questions assignment that lasted all of class and over, which I have already discussed but I am still working on. Tuesday I helped a fellow masters student stamp out 600 clay animals for Arts Fest. Wednesday was designated research time to answer those questions that kept leading to more and more questions. Thursday was the artist talk from the visiting artist, a hectic week to say the least. I also had a studio visit from those visiting artists, so on top of all the full faculty feedback, the questions of my own work, I received even more opinions from those artists. It was really a lot of opinions and information to digest, picking and choosing what I agreed with and what I wanted to disregard. I chalked it up to this past week not being a waste since I didn't get a new work started but as more of a reflective week. I have processed all the hectic-ness and new information and now I am looking to move forward with my next piece which I was able to start on this week.