One artist's journey

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2nd Thesis Critique, Friday, Feb 18th

I have come up with some new ideas for the layout of my installation and I shared this with my group on Friday. I want to create a shape similar to an industrial salt dome (see image below) because I feel that this shape is a very strange one; it looks almost alien to me. I still want the outside to be reminiscent of the slightly translucent plastic and wood frame from Kabakov's Palace of Projects, the only problem is, will the shape still read the same way? When talking to my group I didn't really envision exactly how it would look, but creating that type of shape with the Palace of Projects structure, it might not read like a foreign place. However, even though the salt dome looks very alien and out of this world, it still reads as industrial which is a big part of my overall work.

I am now working towards incorporating industrial buildings or aspects of these fixtures that have become a part of our everyday life, especially in New Jersey. Plants, mining, and electrical towers are everywhere, and it is not only their industrial qualities and their cause of pollution and environmental problems that I notice them, but also the status that they have in our way of life, in our culture. I have found that electrical towers remind me a lot of totems and statues erected in the ancient world, people all over the world created ways of worshiping the Gods they believed in, and it seems as though the over bearing, tall, arms outstretched towers represent the electricity gods that we bow to, the oil gods, the cell phone gods that loom in the background of our towns and cities, highways and local roads, trailing off far into the distance but constantly a reminder. How easily we forget that they are there, how easily we can forget how they have completely changed our landscape.
I realized through talking to my painting teacher that when I used to take a lot of photographs of night scenes, tree lines, or even mounds of sediment, rock, or anything that I found to look romantic in a way, but yet strange at other times, industrial or not,  I often wanted or liked having the bright orange cones of construction or caution to be lingering at the bottom of the photograph, or bright strips of light from cars rushing past. I looked for the industrial that was so invading my life, I wanted to be reminded of what I was really in front of me--no longer is it just a tree line, no longer is it a vast forest, but a new world, a new place filled with wires, currents, and construction, constantly building, taking down, and putting more cones on the ground and more cars on the roads.
I found an artist, Edward Burtynsky, who photographs oil refineries and other industrial areas like this:
I want to bring together the wires, the structural elements and the qualities that they remind me of from the ancient structures.

Also artists like Brice Marden and Suzanne McClelland are becoming greater influences in my work.


  1. I definitely think that showing us pictures of the kind of structure you plan on making was helpful. It was a little harder to imagine exactly what you were thinking of making before. I think that making the structure into two halves is the best way to make and transport the structure in and out of the gallery space. I am a little concerned with using the cardboard material in your structure because it's harder to bend and curve cardboard and it seems like you are looking towards a more bulbous shape. I am curious about the lighting for the structure, I know you mentioned its going to be big enough for one person to be in it at a time so maybe just one light in the middle or a few small ones lining around the inside. I love that you want to create this alternate reality with the structure and the paintings inside. I'm visualizing it as sort of a prehistoric yet futuristic cave with paintings in it which I'm not sure if that's your intent but I think the idea is really nice. I would start making small models of the structure and just eliminate things that don't seem to be working. I like how you use elements of collage in your paintings giving another layer of texture and I hope to see that in your thesis work.

  2. Dear Ilana Rose Cloud

    It has come to my attention that you have used my image:


    (originally published on )

    on your web page:

    As I do not have any record of having issued you with a licence to use this image, I should be grateful if you would provide me with any evidence that you have in fact been authorised by me for such use.

    Failing that, it would appear that you have breached my copyright and moral rights. I will therefore require you to provide me with information about where you obtained the image, the length of time that you have used the image, and any other usages that you may have made of it, or any other image that you may have reason to believe may be mine.

    Unless you have a licence from me, I require you to remove the image immediately, and will be requiring payment for use of the image to date. If you would like to make use of the image for the future, any such future use would only be permitted subject to negotiation with me of a separate additional licence and payment of a licence fee at my rates.

    Yours sincerely

    Graham Stephen
    gastephen AT