Friday, March 27, 2009

This is a super thick piece of copper that I will patina and hang from this 'tiny rope.' I think that the weight of this will really impact what the rope does, which will either be a wrap around ladder(necklace), or a net type necklace, which will be more chaotic looking. I like building these scenes for the silhouette. The body is the magical landscape where these can exist.
I am using this image in multiples for a brooch. I really like the gestures I can play with. It's like the wearer doesn't have to say anything because the jewelry does. This one is "Shh. . . look" I am cutting these out in copper and will patina them or paint them. I am also thinking about extending the lower half with a pattern, rather than the lower body.
This is two pieces of stainless steel, which will be connected to two necklaces/chains and then to each other. Still trying to figure out the connection. I really like the mirror quality of the steel and gives the idea of a silhouette a whole new meaning, since you can see yourself in them.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I'm going with silhouettes!

I feel the most connected to the art of silhouettes. I have always been attracted to the use of silhouettes by contemporary artists and feel that I can make them my own. The two dimentional quality of the profile relates to my background and love of painting and drawing. I am interested in bridging that gap between 2D and 3D art and see this as a great opportunity to do so. A profile of someone can say a lot about a person, their posture indicates if they are tired or alert, proud or shy. Their movement can be further exaggerated to accentuate the profile. A silhouette points out everything that can be missed in a regular portrait. The body says what the face does not. I plan to enhance my silhouettes with my own hand and make them my own through my narratives.
A narrative can be told through a simple blackened profile of a person or an object and I feel that this could strongly affect my work. Without pointing out a person's identity, the profile can represent the entire human race or only a part of it. By giving a figure to an expression, the meaning is more closely linked to us as humans, and more specifically to the viewer. Emotion is expressed differently through a profile than a portrait, which will be a worthwhile challenge. How much of the emphasis is put on the body, rather than the face? What is a profile's relation to the objects around it? Because the figure is unknown, will it make that person less important? If I do use a familiar face, will anyone recognize it? These are some of the questions I plan to explore throughout this process. I am still interested in the two words I discussed about my work, narrative and duality, and feel I can continue with these themes with the aid of the silhouette.

American Silhouettes

American silhouettes are an art form that was popular in the 17th century and took inspiration from the Egyptians and Greeks. Then, it was referred to as shadow or profile art. A shadow was projected with the subject and a light behind a screen and the artist would then trace the shadow from the other side. The shadow was then filled in with paint or cut out with black paper. There were specific silhouette machines that helped the prolific profile artist. During the Middle Ages, shadow art was not as popular because it was linked with the soul and tampering with it could cause bad luck or disaster. Silhouette art was also popular in England, France, Germany and Switzerland. Many silhouette artists would create small profile portraits for less money, and could be incorporated into jewelry or household objects. I have always been drawn to art that incorporates the use of silhouettes. Kara Walker makes very powerful work that demonstrates the use of a gestural figure and addresses aspects of racism. Banksy, a British graffiti artist uses the silhouette to make a powerful public statement. The silhouette points out the gesture without giving away a specific identity, which can be a powerful tool for telling a story or getting a point across.

Mexican Ex-votos

Mexican ex-votos or votive paintings, have been a long tradition for the Catholic people of Mexico. They are paintings, originally done on tin, that give an offering of thanks to the icon who performed the miracle. These paintings are often done by family members of the saved person, and not necessarily a professionally trained painter. The votive paintings represent the event that occurred and always include the icon, raised above the scene. The votives are usually small, averaging 9" X 12" and have very stylized figures and include an inscription at the bottom. The occurrences that happen in these scenes range from an illness to loss of wealth to violence. The icons are usually the Virgin of a particular area or a specific saint. I find these paintings very interesting because of their perspective and their narrative. The point of view is always as if the viewer is looking at the action, a very traditional format. The stylized figures and the scene tell an interesting story, based on the painter's point of view. Exaggerated features often tell a personal detail of the afflicted person. These little stories of thanks recap a usually horriffic event, but it is necessary to relive this event to give the thanks. I am not a religious person, but can appreciate the gratitude they give to their icons of belief.

Morocco- stucco carvings

Moroccan's design has long incorporated the use of stucco carvings. They are used in Moroccan architecture over doorways, called chemmassiats, and are a kind of false window, letting in light. They also can be found in archways or surrounding doorways. The carvings are highly ornate and reveal patterning seen in Moroccan textile and tile work motifs. Similar to the stucco, are carved wooden screens that are used to diffuse the indoor and outdoor in a house, letting in some light but creating a barrier at the same time. Moroccan furniture also incorporates this type of wood carving technique and patterning. I am interested in the beatiful patterning and the ornate use. Every doorway seems so much more important when it is surrounded with the carved stucco. Also, the window aspect of it, controlling the light through small openings is very attractive to me. They are able to use the light of day while staying protected.