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Summer's End

My mind currently cannot comprehend the fact that six weeks have already passed. There is a slight feeling of finality that comes with completing the first semester of grad school, but I am supremely excited for what comes next. While I felt a strong sense of direction coming into the semester, there are certain ideas within my practice that have been and are being reworked and I believe that these growing pains are symptoms of exciting schisms that will transform the gentle rhythm of work into passionate exploration.

Since there was less reading to do this past week, I was able to dedicate more time to painting and made a great deal of leeway on the two paintings that I mentioned in my last post. Unlike my usual Mutations, which were in the range of 10-12” per side, these painting are 18”x24.” They are not very large, but they provide excellent contrast with the usual size of my paintings, which are small to suit my current studio limitations.

Already I feel a great deal of freedom in working at a larger scale. Using larger brushes also encourages a certain level of strategy and simplification and the physicality of the painting process is much more immersive at this scale. Over the past couple years I have found myself missing working with larger canvases, like the ones I used as an undergraduate student, but soon I will be returning to that scale.

Mutations 216 (left) and 125 (right)

As the photographs demonstrate, the paintings still require a lot of work before they will be completed, but I managed to get quite a lot done in the space of a week. Spending time in my studio always reminds me of why I love to paint with acrylic. The time sensitivity, the layering, and the plasticity of the paint are all appealing to me. My perception of time fluctuates while I work, making my studio a sort of haven where time is fluid. I have been pleasantly surprised by the ways that Deep Dream has encouraged me to adapt my style. The two images below are of the original paintings that the compositions for Mutations 125 and 216 come from.

Now that the semester is coming to a close, I am considering giving myself some space before the fall semester in which to rest and simmer on the concepts that we have discussed during this summer. This may mean that it will take me longer to finish my Mutations, but in the meantime I will be reading and considering concepts that will be essential to the next phase of my project.

Along those lines, Dr. Giovanni Aloi introduced me to the work of Ken Rinaldo and his Seed series in particular, which will be highly informative for me as I prepare for the next stage of my paintings, which will be aesthetically focused on seeds and conceptually engaged with discourse about the human cultivation of plants.

Ken Rinaldo's Prontay Seed Giclee print on paper produced at Centro Portuguese de Serigraphia, Lisbon Portugal (2013), Source.

Rinaldo’s Seeds are imaginative visualizations that symbolize the resilience and potentiality of seeds. These images were produced using 3D modeling software and were printed out for exhibition. I particularly like this quote from Rinaldo: “As an artist, I am interested in seeds as a strategy – I am obsessed with the idea; that technology is also a seed.” The connections between Rinaldo’s ideas and my process using AI seem very strong and I think there is a lot to be discovered in this area.

Lastly, while I was in the process of photographing my paintings this week I realized how much Mutation 125 resembles the nasturtiums growing on my porch and I wanted to share these images as a gift from my small corner of the world to yours.

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