Where have I been, where am I, where am I going?

As I finally sat down to do some writing on about my studio practice after what looks like almost 18 months, I found the start of a blog post (you can find it at the end of this post) in my draft folder which I started about a year ago.

The opening paragraph expresses a sentiment that is not entirely different than how I feel now.  In some ways, I feel like I have not really had time to process the workings on my studio practice since the start of 2016.  Since then, it has been an amazing journey with so many opportunities to share my work with people and to learn so much from so many people.  That said, I came into this nine day Golden Week holiday with so many expectations.  More than halfway over, I can say that I have fallen short of all many of those expectations.  I think my mind and body are experiencing a pent up case of post exhibition blues which I frequently ruminate upon.  I thought I would find more energy in the openness of my schedule and lack of pressing deadlines.  Beyond the first Saturday when a full day of activities made me realize the extent of my exhaustion, I have found myself sticking close to home and in most cases when at home, napping and sleeping.

Of course there are things that I have managed to accomplish over the days such as finally updating my website with all the images from all the exhibitions as well as cleaning up the look of the website.  I have also managed to return to regular updates for gallery and museum exhibitions as well as call for entry deadlines.  I made a list of exhibitions that I wanted to see during this time especially since the weather has been as perfect as I could ask for in Tokyo.  However, I have pretty much given up on any gallery and museum hopping until after regular life resumes next Monday.  I am succumbing to the hermit-like nature of this time off.  Exercise is another thing which I have not accomplished up to this point.  I write this on a Thursday night with semi-determined desire to resume a regular exercise program tomorrow morning.

As the exhibitions at Gallery Camellia and Jill d’Art Gallery wound down, I found myself thinking about what I wanted to write about once the exhibitions closed.  The idea was simple.  I wanted to take a look at how I arrived at each of the major works for my last four exhibitions starting with “My Everyday Life”, Art Nagoya 2017, “New Face!” and finally “Everyday Circuits”.  In the process of those examinations, I had imagined that I could find a path or two that my studio practice was taking and see where my work was leading as I began to work on my installation for the Nakanojo Biennale.

I still would like to do that because there were a number of important discussions that took place in regards to my studio practice as well as new avenues to explore.  But, for the sake of bringing things up to speed as much as possible, I want to work from the present forwards and backwards.

What that means is for me to share where I am with the work for Nakanojo Biennale at this point.

Back at the beginning of November 2016, I was asked to submit an exhibition plan for my work as well as three choices of venues.

Here are the documents that I submitted.

The idea for the project was borne from a desire to connect my Memory Walks Project and Daily Drawings Project.  The initial connection between the two projects came during discussion for “My Everyday Life” exhibition at hasu no hana.  When the project plan was submitted, the idea of merging these two projects and what it was that I was exploring was just being hatched.

As I look at these plans some six months later, I am surprised at how my current idea for my project is clearly reflected in these plans.  I had thought that the shape of the project was much much different than what I submitted.

I am jumping ahead.  So in early 2017, I received word that my project would be located at Sawatari Gallery which was on my list of venue choices.

Here are a couple images of what the venue looks like.


When I went to Nakanojo last fall to look at the different venues, we were not able to go into Sawatari Gallery on the particular day I was visiting.  So I have yet to enter the actual space.  One of the good things about the space is the amount of clean up and renovation required to make it exhibition ready is significantly less than what other exhibition venues might require.  As you can see in the above picture, the gallery is quite large and spacious.  This is at once exciting and nerve wracking.

Artists participating in the Nakanojo Biennale were able to visit their exhibition venues as early as this past April.  As I was busy with preparations for both the Gallery Camellia and Jill d’Art Gallery exhibitions, I could not schedule a visit until May.  I will be making my first visit to Sawatari Gallery from May 19 – 22, 2017.

Here is a map of the area to give you a sense of where Sawatari Gallery is relative to Nakanojo Station.

Sawatari Gallery is the green “40” pin at the top right of the map.

So what are my initial plans for my project at Sawatari Gallery?

One of my new projects “Memories from the Sky” at Gallery Camellia helped to clarify the initial shape of the project.

Each individual cell was created by sandwiching a hand trimmed inkjet print between two acrylic discs (each 2 mm thick) and then sealing the print in between by wrapping a 4 mm wide piece of bookbinding tape around the sides.  The result of the DIY process was surprising effective and elegant.

Over the course of the last six months, my idea for my project at Nakanojo Biennale has evolved from a convergence of the Memory Walks and Daily Drawing Projects to a singular exploration of the Daily Drawing Project.  There are a number of reasons for the evolution.  First of all, with the completion of the two iterations of the 2016 Memory Walks for Art Nagoya 2017 and New Face!  I felt like I reached a plateau with the Memory Walks Project in terms of a daily practice.  I am still interested in exploring variations with the eggshells that I started last year at HAGISO, but I am ready to step away from the daily drawing of Memory Walks on eggshells for a while.  A second reason for the change was the process of determining the form of my “Everyday Circuits” exhibition.  The original plans for the exhibition differed quite significantly from the final form of the exhibition.  It was through many discussions with Gallery Camellia’s director Naoko Harada and much thought and reflection on my part to see that more is not always better and less can be much better.  With those lessons learned (which I plan on elaborating more on, in a future post), I decided the trying to connect the two projects would be too complex with too many variables to consider.  This was especially true as I started to think about all the variables I could consider when trying to determine the relationship between my Daily Drawings.

My initial plan is to make inkjet prints of all my Daily Drawings from 2016 and 2017 and sandwich them between acrylic discs and install them in the Sawatari Gallery Space.  The current count of drawings is just over 320.  I am planning to make drawings throughout all my site visits and studio work days in Sawatari, so the number of drawings to be included could be over 500.  All these numbers are tentative as I think that I will have a better idea once I see the space take measurements and do some geometry.

I will stop here for now and hopefully start to work backwards and forward over the next few days and keep it up through the fall.

—————

This is the draft of a blog I started while my solo exhibition at HAGISO was ongoing last May.

Unlike previous exhibitions or events, I did not find myself with time to write about my studio work progress as it was moving along. More than a week into the exhibition at HAGISO, I have still not managed much more than the social media PR for the exhibition. This five month long process from concept to exhibition has added a lot to my base of knowledge. Some of which I achieved on my own with the rest of it coming through discussions with other artists and feedback from people who have seen the work at HAGISO.

I want to try and start writing about the process when studio work began in earnest. There were discussions in December, January, and February with HAGISO about the work that I would be making for the exhibition. Before the January meeting, I had conceived the idea of large installation of Memory Walk Drawings to occupy the bulk of the HAGISO space. It is a bit blurry as to when that large installation coalesced into the shape of a brain. I think it was sometime in February because I spent my free time at AIAV at the end of February beginning the calculations for the dimensions of the installation.

For the January meeting, we had discussions about combining the Memory Walk Drawings installation with flashing LED papier mache domes of my receipts. The concern during that discussion was that there would be too much going on in the space with flashing domes on receipts on the wall interfering with a good view of the installation. At the time of the discussion, I was convinced that given the four months that I had before the exhibition both large projects could have been conceived. Looking back on the whole thing, I have to thank HAGISO for talking me off that ledge.

I was still interested in experimenting with variations of the Memory Walks as a way to delve deeper into how the drawings on eggshells could better convey the complex nature of memory. This meant that there would need to be experimentation with how to paint out the previously drawn memory walks with gesso, white paint, or any other material. I also would need to see how feasible the idea of kintsugi would work with the eggshells. In my mind, I had envisioned something similar to Tom Friedman’s reconstructed Total cereal box using many boxes of Total cut into uniform squares. This should have clued me in on the difficulties ahead for me.

With the exhibition narrowed down to the theme of Memory Walks, I set about making a plan for studio work to make sure that the work would be done ahead of time. I also wanted to make the installation of the work as easy as possible so I also wanted the work as ready to hang as possible.

The first step was to calculate the dimensions of the installation and figure out how many eggshells would be needed for the exhibition. I managed to find a fairly complete collection of slices from the human brain which I used as the source to create the framework for the installation. I brought the data for the nine slices of the brain which would cover the entire brain with me to AIAV at the end of February and managed to do the preliminary sketches while I was there.

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