I just passed candidacy, but at the expense of my sanity and grades for my academic classes.
I began the installation with work I did a year ago. It was based on some movement studies I did. The transparent qualities of the figures (the four on the left here in the first pic) represented ephemerality. I called them "Ephemerality studies".
Next I began to make work about group consciousness and the attempt to manipulate the world through our thoughts, prayers, hopes and intentional thought. I was also thinking about an experiment called the double slit experiment where it could be interpreted that a conscious observer effected the outcome of the experiment, at least on a quantum level. This further influenced my ideas on the potential power of consciousness. Group or otherwise.
I called this series Quantum Consciousness.
After last semester I considered loosing the characters in the1800's imagery ( I focused on the Spiritualists as representative of focused, intentional group thought), and focused on stencils I made of hands and arms reaching out from ephemeral fog of loose charcoal and ink.
I set up six chairs for my inquisition, oops I mean my candidacy review. I'm kidding, it was ruff, but really good also. Not because they were so nice, but because I had a real and honest, well thought answer for every question they threw at me. I was prepared and it felt good.
Here are some pics from a wall installation I did for the review. This is all new work from this semester.
I went on "pilgrimages" foraging for decaying objects representative of the endless cycle of decay and recycling of of energy. I also found some "Descansos", also known as Roadside memorials, these also represented found objects and the same cycle of decay, group thought, memorialization pilgrimage etc.
The red dots represent spots I went hunting for the found objects.
Some of these smaller pieces are from small parts of the Descansos I focused on.
I was told three and a half weeks ago I wouldn't pass Candidacy, I had long nights and days in the studio and my partners garage making panels to adhere 44 different pieces to. Yes, I made them all with Zak in his garage, in three weeks. He has been a huge help and I am indebted to him, and his patience and kindness during this time. I was crying thinking I wasn't going to pass, I was stressed, I was gloomy, judgmental, even short tempered on occasion, but he stuck by me every day and helped me make progress every step. I thank him, Zak Guigere, whole heatedly. Without him I probably wouldn't have passed.
I also thank myself for not giving up and pressing on. Even thought I came down with a terrible Flu two days before the review, and had been fighting it for weeks before hand! I made power points and wrote and re-wrote statements, it was a lot...of work. In the end It was all worth it, but of course my professors said I only passed because of "my research", apparently my work was shit, but I danced like a monkey to their liking. Its pretty insulting, but at least I passed. I have resigned to the fact that not one professor in the 2D department will ever, ever say, I like this, good work. No matter how hard I try. I also am beginning to think I shouldn't care either. Just keep working, get out of here, and possibly go home where I belong, the SF bay area. Where my friends and support are, where I don't feel like failure or an idiot, BTW, my artists statement was "horrible and repetitive", " the same thing over and over again". Funny, cause a professor re-wrote it for me and I went with all her suggestions for the most part, AND... she is a published author. Which only further proves they just will never give anyone praise for anything, at least not me. I hate it here sometimes and realize what a mistake I have made. But all in all, I will make lemonade from lemons.
That ended gloomy, so, I am happy I passed and the rest of the semester I can catch up on homework and papers that fell behind and make work that won't be under a microscope, at least for now anyway. I'm grateful for that!
My suggestion to anyone thinking of getting an MFA, get to know the school, ask people in the program what they think, try to get an honest opinion of that place, IN YOUR DEPARTMENT specifically. Try to see if people are happy, and don't go anywhere people throw money at you to go there, if it seems fishy, like a bribe. It seems silly to say, but if you can, don't let money influence where you go. Go to the best school you can with the best, most supportive faculty you can find. It will make all the difference in the world.
I have been incredibly busy this summer, I can't even begin to explain, but I was hired to do a mural with at risk youth in Amado, a small town 40 miles south of Tucson, I took the job, which lead to another job, working at the Youth Center itself and a slew of other fun things. Here is a blurb on the mural I wrote recently for a local newspaper:
" Kids from Amado of all ages have been participating in a project that boosts confidence and builds team working skills while keeping them off the streets and is also a lot of fun! I, Leanne C. Miller, along with Compass behavioral Health care, worked with the community in Amado and Green Valley and the other surrounding areas to select some visuals that represented the spirit of the area and it's people. After many meetings and working with the kids at the youth center, I came up with a final drawing which consisted of Elephant Head rock and surrounding landscapes, the Longhorn grill, the Amado Territory, the youth center along with native flora and fauna. Bob and Amy at the De Anza RV park in Amado donated space for us to paint in, and the painting begun after I drew on the images onto the wood panels. The mural, when finished will span 32 feet, and will be 6ft tall! We should be done mid August, just in time for school! When it's done it will sit at the La Sombrilla next to Kristofer's restaurant in Amado, Az. The mural will also travel locally, an exciting aspect that most murals don't have, it will go to local festivals and fairs all over southern Arizona. Keep an eye out mid August for an opening party for the mural we hope to have.
I think this mural is not on my blog, I did it in fall 2010 for the Haight street neighborhood association along with other artists having their own designated parts of the wall, with the likes of Jeremy Fish and Dose, and Mars 1
Leanne C. Miller
I have been investigating the idea of an in between, liminal space. The space at which you are neither here nor there, a state of change, a place of transformation.
These paintings are from actual experiences at sweat lodges in the desert under full moons, Solitary hiking trips, remembered scenes from those trips, moments spent in solitude.
A visiting artist came to my studio and asked rather pointedly, "Path huh? path to what? Change? Changing from what to what?" I said "I don't know, I ..I'm not sure,..." After weeks of thinking about this moment I realized that I was glad he asked that question, It made me realize it wasn't about what we are changing into, it's about the process. This work and what I am interested in lately is about the path, the current moment, not where it's taking you, but the journey it's self. We never really reach the end of the path, you are only ever in the present which suggests the next moment and the next, you just keep on that path, we keep moving forward, always in a state of metamorphoses..
This piece is of a Fire walker, someone who walks on hot coals. This is just the type of moment or experience that brings some people to that state of bliss or elation, a sense of invincibility. These moments allow us to feel or sense something beyond ourselves, a feeling of connection or spirituality.
I am beginning my second semester of my first year of grad school at U of A, very exciting. I wonder where and how far it will take me in a matter of months, change happens fast, it's like a pressure cooker for art. I love a challenge, so here goes!
Finally I have some new work that feels like it may be heading in a positive direction. I also finally have a little
time to write a new blog post, thankfully.
I'll just dive right in to these and do a little explaining later. I have been taking a figure drawing class to sharpen up my skills which was going pretty well, but lately I had a sense of restlessness while in that class. As a grad student I have the option to spend time in my studio instead of in class, so I took that option. these studies are what I produced. I had just seen an opening of Bailey Doogans figurative work, see her site @ http://www.baileydoogan.com/. Her Large black and white work were breathtaking. I took what I saw and did my own versions, and instead of only a figure I took photographs with slow shutter speeds and created blurrs, ghostly images, I felt very Francesca Woodman about it. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francesca_Woodman)
Slight detail here
Each one became more abstract.
almost Picasso-esque, which is funny, I dislike cubism aesthetically, the one below is a detail of the face.
To make these pieces I got loose charcoal and mixed it with gesso, I then drew onto the dried mixture (on paper) with compressed charcoal, and sanded into it with sandpaper, and added highlights with white Conte. I intend on making many more, both as experimentation and exercise, maybe it will lead to something great! But either way I have a final project for figure drawing!
Lots of funerals in my life this year, two paintings from some very sad moments in my life recently. The top is a study from a funeral I went to last month, my Dad was speaking but was so broken up he couldn't finish a sentence, he had to sit down and just cry, then my mother went up there, comforted him, and read his statement for him, it was the saddest, most amazing, touching thing I have seen transpire in my immediate family probably ever before.
I recently had the opportunity to help a talented and established artist, Gregory Lindquist, paint this mural for "Broken Desert" at the Tucson Museum of Art. He flew out from Brooklyn the week of Hurricane sandy, left the Chaos behind, to show his work, visit his Mom, Make new friends and show his paintings of landscape. http://www.greglindquist.com/
Gregs process for this mural is projecting parts of the image he reconstructed from a photo in photoshop one layer at a time to create the disjointed landscape. This image is of a distorted, slightly digitized picture of a copper strip mine, called the Lavender Mine south of Tuscon here in Bisbee Arizona.
You can see my name here, I helped Saturday and Sunday, totally worth it and fun. Greg is a very intelligent and informed artist. Having the opportunity to work with him was a pleasure and he is great to talk to about contemporary art.
Mr. Lindquists final piece, with a painting as a final touch. It was a great show. Its up till March 3rd on the U of A campus at the Tucson Museum of Art.