Monday, February 25, 2013

So here I am in the home stretch of my final semester in the CCAD master's program.  Wow.  How can this be?  It means that I have a mere 6 weeks before the work needs to be done.  6 WEEKS!!!!!!  Excuse me a moment while I go freak out...........

Ok.  ***deep breath***


The project has taken a slight turn, in that I am no longer thinking of the meditation aspect as a large part of the concept.  After studio visits with Byron Kim and Tom Burckhardt it became clear to me what it is I want the final install to look like.  Both Mr Kim and Mr Burckhardt, in our conversations, pointed out that if I want this to be a meditation -- and be seen as a meditation -- I should consider narrowing my focus to two or three mediums, used repetitively.  This absolutely made sense.  However........ it felt wrong.  My gut said that I do not want this project to be seen as meditative by the viewer.  I want it to feel frenetic and desperate and, well, quite frankly a little crazy -- really, the opposite of meditative. 

It's not that the work isn't still meditative on a personal level, it's just that it's more of a mountain climbing sort of meditation, rather than a focused, quiet breathing meditation.

Last week I had to write my artist statement/bio for our exhibition catalog.  I think it pretty much sums up the nature of what i'm doing:

Amy Cubberly-Yeager grew up in a small community just outside of Toledo, Ohio. She earned her BFA from Bowling Green State University with a dual specialization in Drawing and Painting. She also studied for a short time at Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy, where she was deeply inspired by the Renaissance masters. 

Cubberly-Yeager’s work explores the issue of identity, both general and personal, through portraiture and self-portraiture. Utilizing the same banal reference image as a starting point, her aim is to make as many iterations of the image -- herself -- as possible. The mediums range from the traditional (oil, charcoal, wood-cut) to the unexpected (wool, coffee, beads). Much like a child plays “dress-up”, trying on various costumes and assuming different identities, these works are infused with a sense of play. 

The repetition and redundancy speaks to the phenomenon that occurs when a word, repeated over and over again, begins to sound utterly bizarre and completely lose its meaning. In this act of repeating, Cubberly-Yeager breaks down identity in a similar manner -- to separate and see the strangeness -- in order to reconstruct and be able to see the reality. 

So, there it is, folks.  Wish me luck.  See you in 6 weeks! 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

working working working and not feeling like i can take even the smallest of breaks, yet i feel like i'm not getting nearly enough work done.  how can this be? 

on friday i had a studio visit with byron kim.  it went very well (though it is incredibly intimidating to have a studio visit with an artist you are referencing in your thesis, let me tell you!).  he was very thoughtful and kind and gave me many new ideas to ponder and play with.  thank you, mr. kim! 
for those of you who aren't familiar with his work, kim is a painter and has explored seriality often in his work.  the pieces that speak most to me -- that are most relevant to what i am currently exploring in my own work -- are 1991's synecdoche (a collection of more than 300 small paintings of as many peoples' skin color) and his sunday paintings (a series he began in 2001, making one 14" x 14" painting of the sky every sunday).

byron kim, synecdoche, 1991

byron kim, sunday paintings, 2001 to present 

as far as my own works goes, i have several pieces in progress currently.  i have a hooked rug made with hand-dyed (with kool-aid!!) wool, a collage, an oil painting, a nail and string piece, a marquetry piece (which i technically haven't been able to actually start, as i'm still trying to figure out the technical aspects of cutting the veneer into the tiny pieces i need), and a low-key charcoal drawing that i finished last night.  i am also working on a piece which i started back in early mid-october where i am doing one 3"x3" graphite drawing every day.  the same image as my other pieces is being used and all are on the same type of paper with the same two pencils (an "f" and a "6b").  by the time the show goes up in april i should have approximately 120 of them which i am super excited about.  i am loving the way they're looking together and am fascinated by how incredibly different they are from each other, even in their sameness.  i'm also intrigued (though not surprised?) by the fact that i don't even have to look at the reference image anymore, as i have it memorized.
here's what everything looks like thus far:


oh!  i'm also making a few mandalas in the 12"x12" format.  since i will be doing the large mandala/portrait hybrid on the floor, i've been trying to figure out if i should somehow tie it together with the portraits that will be on the walls.  i decided to make a few and see how they look mixed in. 

so, that's where i am mid-november.  april is fast approaching and i feel panicky about the fact that i feel like i'm not making enough.  just keep swimming, just keep swimming................

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

ok, i've been promising this for weeks now.  those of you who keep asking about what i'm working on for my thesis, this is for you.  enjoy!  :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

sooo.....  it's been a while, it would seem...  nothing like going 8 months between posts!  guess i've got some catching up to do.

i suppose i should start with a brief synopsis of last semester, since the last you heard i was just beginning the semester!  the project i had proposed last january went well, in my opinion.  i ended up displaying a total of 40 self portraits, most of which were 12"x12" in size.  not nearly the number i was hoping to produce, but a worthy number, still.  this is what it looked like:

i came out of the project with a strong feeling that i was beginning to touch on some issues i previously hadn't really been thinking about -- particularly the issue of identity.  to make it easier to explain, i'll go ahead and post my artist statement from the end-of-semester show.  here it is:

Amy Cubberly-Yeager
2nd Semester - Statement

How we approach identity is a challenge.  Each of us, in many ways, fabricates our own identities in order to present a certain image to the world.  This is usually not our authentic identity.  The curious thing is that what we attempt to “put out there” is rarely what the rest of the world sees.  We make assumptions about a person’s identity based on trivial observances.  How strange, this idea that we think we “know” who a person is.  Is it possible to ever really know?  How many times do we hear about someone being deceived by another person who presented themselves as something they weren’t?  (“But he was such a nice man....”)
So the question for me is: how necessary is it to portray a sitter’s “real” identity in a portrait?  As the artist I have the option to create an identity for them --- essentially lie to the viewer.  The viewer, after all, is going to make their own assumptions, their own story, for this person they’re looking at anyways.  Why, then, should it matter if what I present is “real”?

This project is an exploration of that idea.  It is an attempt to discover how the materials can aid in presenting meaning in the portrait --- how they can be used to tell a story, not only by how they are used, but by what they are.  For example, painting on a baby blanket tells a completely different story than painting on a canvas.

this is where i left off at the end of last semester in may.  since then, i have moved the pieces back into my studio and have re-covered the walls with them.  i have had time to live with them, look at them, step away from them, and contemplate them.  quite honestly i didn't do much "making" over the summer -- spending every day with two very energetic little boys in the summertime for some reason doesn't allow for much art time, believe it or not.  what, exactly, did i do all summer, you ask?  (besides hanging with aforementioned boys?)  honestly?  mandalas.  lots and lots and LOTS of mandalas.  i colored them obsessively.  all day, sometimes.  i ate through countless colored pencils in the process.  it felt a little crazy doing it, but in retrospect i believe that after all the intense insanity that was last semester it was an attempt to reset, regroup, and refocus.  at the time i felt like i was just wasting time --- after all, i had to think about what i was going to do come the end of august when i was going to have to decide on my THESIS!!!  what the hell was i doing coloring?!??!  seriously, though.  i needed to do it.

it seemed to have worked, as just about three weeks before school was going to start, i finally started to get some sparks of thesis ideas!  (after spending all summer in a panic over the fact that i had NO ideas)  hurray!!  nothing completely formed, yet -- just the sparks -- and i wasn't ready to talk about them, but hey!  it's a start, right?!

so now, here we are, one week in, and the first semester of my second and final year of grad school is in full swing.  no warm up, here!  after talking over my fledgling ideas with several people around/up here, they are quite quickly beginning to take shape and i am more than pleased by this.  i won't go into it just yet, as i'm still working out the details of articulating it, but by next post (within this next week, i promise!) i hope to have a comprehensible draft of my thesis proposal finished so that i am better able to explain it here.  stay tuned!  =)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

the second semester is now in full swing and i turned in my project proposal yesterday, so, without further ado i present it to you....

"You are lost the instant you know what the result will be." - Juan Gris

(i discovered this quote while doing my theory & criticism reading the other day and fell in love with it.  it shall be my mantra for this semester.)

I plan to investigate two issues in my portraiture this semester.  The first is to experiment with my photographic references -- playing with composition and even the way I take the photos.  Possibly even the idea of combining multiple photos into one reference image.  

The second is taking the suggestion of Chris Yates (who will be my faculty advisor/mentor for this project), I intend to explore an exercise of using one image/face and working it over and over again.  I will create several iterations of the chosen source image, all using the same scale, and giving myself a new set of strict rules for each.  For example:  this one will be only black and white; for this one I will use only red and green;  this one will be rendered very tightly;  this one will be very loose and gestural;  this one with very strong contrast;  this one in oils;  this one collage… etc.

I intend to use my own face as the image I am working from, allowing the project to manifest in a series of self-portraits.  The reason being that if I were to use someone else’s face, the project has the potential to become about that person rather than about the exercise of exploration it is intended to be.

My goal is to take what I learn from these exercises and incorporate it into 2 or 3 finished pieces by the end of the semester.  I have no idea what form these pieces will take because it will depend on the direction the journey ends up taking me.  This semester is about the journey and allowing it to guide me to make the necessary changes in my work.

Monday, December 5, 2011

i have recently fallen in love with the still lifes of claudio bravo.  i don't know how he eluded me until now.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

my work is coming along quite nicely.  finished drawing of amy s. (i think), finished a small study of liz m. and working on a big one, and almost finished with kristin b.  i've been continuing with the watercolor bases and using a grid to lay down the initial sketches.  the first couple attempts with the grid (amy & kristin) were less-than successful, as even after erasing the grid, it still "ghosted" through when i applied the watercolor.

this was particularly frustrating because i am really REALLY liking the look of leaving the watercolor backgrounds as they are, without bringing the heaviness of the pastel into them.  (these are photos of the works in-progress, by the way.)  i spoke with watercolorist and ccad faculty member, carol griffith, in hopes that she might offer some advice and she helped me work out a solution.  (thank you, carol!)  she also suggested that i try laying down my cool tones with watercolor and then laying down the warm tones on top in pastel.  i tried this in the small study of liz (it's about 10"x10" -- a far cry from my usual 30"-40" range!) and loved the results!

i am now using this method in the larger one of liz, hoping that it works equally as well.

i can not believe that there are only a mere 2 weeks left until the end of the semester.  craziness ensues.