Monday, March 7, 2011

Ann Porter

Ann Porter is a contemporary artist. She earned her BA in Portland Oregon and her MFA in sculpture at Washington State University, and she has taught at North Idaho College and Washington State University; I think it is important to note this because I am from Post Falls, Id which is extremely close to both WSU and NIC, and I really enjoy researching an artist that is in close proximities to my home.
Right now she is working with painted and fired stained glass, video monitors, altered video stills, and cast polychrome sculpture as her media. She confronts the communication that we as humans try to have with the natural world around us and the sort of domestication we feel we can have over any nature.

Preaching to the Birds (Grace)                                      Preaching to the Birds (Pearls)
Painted and Fired Stained Glass with Video               Painted and Fired Stained Glass with Video
24” x 15”                                                                            24” x 15”

Not only is her stained glass something of beauty in itself, but she has taken something so beautiful and well known for its messages, and turned it into something new. The faces in Grace and Pearls are communicating to the birds in the glass and in life. These pieces are part of her newest collection called Preaching to the Birds. She is confronting the ideas about human communication with nature itself. She said that her interest came from how different the stained glass and video was, but then found a way to relate them together in order to tell a story to her viewers. She enjoys that they both require light in order for its function to be seen and that both can relay a message to their viewers.  Messages between media, nature, and humans are something she confronts in this new work.  In Grace, the message is clear that the human is preaching to the birds about grace; grace is elegance and beauty of form or nature, and the fact that a human is trying to preach this to nature who already has a knack for grace is ironic and yet symbolic of what we as humans try to domesticate. Pearl can sometimes represent purity; I also think this is ironic for a human to be telling nature to be pure because if already is as pure as can be.  The linear and geometric qualities that encompass this work play into the video feel and the stained glass look.

Scratching Dog(red)                                                 Scratching Dog (white)
Polychrome, Cast Hydrostone                                 Polychrome, Cast Hydrostone
Lifesize                                                                    Lifesize

These two pieces are from her new works called Twins. They incorporate a human baby with the body of a dog. Here she is again confronting human relation to nature. Dogs are the most domestic animals we have in our human lives, and I would say most people treat them and feel that they are their children and a part of their family. What Porter has done here is taking that idea to the extreme. When one first looks at these, it does look quite creepy; the head is truly molded in such a way to look as if it is a real part of the dog. The necks are even human form and the shoulders and arms are quite human yet dog like when you look at them from the paw up. Giving these ‘babies’ the dog like characteristics, like scratching and itch with your back leg which is a paw, really makes these two become one. Porter feels she has linked a mutual pursuit of household and animal pleasures. Making twins from what a human knows best was very brilliant. And the fact that these are lifesize would make it even more of an impact when seen in person. This is a picture of her installation:

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