don't know what I want, but I know how to get it

I'm not usually one for punk (I'm not a hippie either), but I've always liked the song "Anarchy in the UK" by the Sex Pistols for some reason. For the longest time I thought the line went, "I know what I want and I know how to get it," which, of course, has a slightly different meaning (late 80s/early 90s feminism à la you-go-girl, maybe?) than the actual line, above, which pretty accurately describes how I feel after my recent review board and at the end of my first year of grad school...now that I've had a couple of days to decompress.

My review went well in that I was given full credit and passed on to the second year, but initially, at least, I felt a bit discouraged. It seems form and content have moved even further away from one another in my work, meaning what I claim I'm interested in addressing in the work isn't usually at all what the viewer's getting, if they're getting anything at all other than a sort of visual play. Which is groovy in and of itself - one comment I got was that I seem more competent with the media I'm choosing to explore - but in all honesty I had hoped for more. So about halfway through, realizing I couldn't really defend why I was treating subject matter like death, loss, absence, memory, childhood, etc., in a graphic, "design-y" way, one of the faculty on my board commented on how productive this conversation was, how "well" my board was going. Say what? You can be having an absolutely traumatic time and everyone else there, who hasn't spent the past four months with these precious objects, thinks it's going well.

But by the end of the review, and even more so in the last couple of days, I think I see what she was getting at. Like maybe, for now at least, the way I'm working is more important than the subject matter and imagery I'm using, and, frankly, imagery that I've been using for awhile. So in a weird way, it was actually kind of liberating - I felt like, perhaps, I needed "permission" to explore this way of working, and working on projects that are outside what I thought was my "body of work." I guess it's okay if I set all that aside for awhile and just explore. So I don't know what the end result will be, but I think I know how to get there.

Anyway, here's a virtual tour of the gallery space where my review took place. Starting in the left corner and making our way around:

And continuing with projects from my screenprinting class, along the back wall (you can see some small prints - on postcard-size paper - from my last project in that class, on the table in the middle of the room...you might also notice on that table some equipment for projecting my very first video art which incorporated scans of these small prints, a video piece which I might put on my website for your viewing pleasure...or discomfort, whichever the case may be):

Making our way around the next corner we come to the first three of the five paintings I worked on this semester:

And two more:

This project originally consisted of eight paintings, the first batch of four started in acrylic. I started working on the second batch in oil and decided to scrap the first four, re-painting one of them to bring the total up to five. They started out as more formal exercises to get comfortable with painting again, and about halfway through I decided to collectively title them - you know, just for fun - "the five stages of grief, in one room." Turns out applying meaning and content in the form of the title only doesn't work so well. But, ultimately, I feel like this was all work I had to do - resolve, in a way - before I could move on.

And somehow, all of this is going to mesh nicely over the summer months with my recent interest in architecture - my summer reading includes Robert Venturi's "Learning from Las Vegas." So, you know, I don't know exactly what I want or how this will all turn out in the end, but I think I know how to get there. Thanks, Sid.

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