Monday, April 11, 2011

Georgia Russel

Georgia Russel is another amazing book artist. I really like the way that she has transformed books. She looks at and makes them seem as if they are a new species all in their own. The ‘specimens she creates are absolutely jaw dropping!

 Memoire, 2002
As you can see here, she has put the ‘specimen’ into this clear dome as if it was found and placed into a museum to be kept. Most things in museums that are put in these is because things are very old and fragile and of course to keep nasty stuff away from contaminating them; and I really like that aspect of the works that Russell does. The curvilinear qualities of this piece are absolutely mind blowing; this is a book! How can you make such fragile lines out of this? The beauty on the ‘face’ of the object has pieces removed and it is just fascinating. This piece really keeps your eye moving and I think the word she chose to leave exposed was a good choice. It plays into the idea that books have memories and stories and share a history.            

Wild Waters, 2009
28 x 30.75 x 2.5 inches
Here Russell has changed a book into a landscape. It is almost as if she drew it. The fact that it is 3D is just outstanding. Just by seeing the detail and the amount of thought that went into this piece just makes one respect her book art even more. The linear aspects of her work can still be seen in this piece. How she made paper look like water and bushes and rocks is just incredible. I do not quite understand how she was able to make the value changes, I am assuming maybe with some sort of pen or just the text itself! I also really enjoy the 3D nature of the parts on the edges. I think it makes the picture form in the middle seem to sink in a little more.

Hachette Dictionaire Francais Anglais, 2009
29.5 x 12 inches
This one is like the first picture shown, but has different linear qualities and different formal qualities. This ‘face’ is different than the others; here I feel there is a little more representation of the top being a face. I really like the linear bottom, because to me it references a spinal system. She has turned this book into animal, a difference species, an alien, a beautiful transformation that is displayed for the entire world to see. I think it is absolutely incredible! After trying to do my own book project, one can see how much time and effort and planning and care goes into something this extravagant.

Portrait ii, 2008
24.5 x 20 x 3 inches
When I first saw this piece, I was absolutely blown away. She uses this pattern a lot in her work but here she has used it to create value and movement by using line. Again thought, I do not know how she was able to achieve the value changes. If the face looks a little fuzzy, just step back from the computer for a moment and you’ll be able to see it better. The detail and form and chiaroscuro she was able to create is outstanding! All with the pages of a book!

Harmony Hammond

Harmony Hammond’s lecture, speech, reading, amazingness, whatever you wish to call it, was incredible and I am so fortunate to have been able to attend. I could tell she really loves to lecture and tell people what she loves to do and she even turns her writing skills into a way to show this; the way she explained her work through a previously written work was very beautiful, and even her voice was entrancing and beautiful to listen to. I think her journey from New York to New Mexico was an important part of learning who she was as an artist and a writer, and I was glad to get that specific background. I was so glad to see and listen to her reasonings behind her work because it really pertained to Art 108 in the sense that she uses many found objects and transforms them and takes ideas of original context and new context.
 When she showed us the wrappings that she did that had an internal skeleton of wood and many outer layers, I was really intrigued. It was one of my favorite parts of the lecture. This was following a theme of working from the inside-out. She really focused on the idea that things and even people, and the body, are made from the inside out. Some she did for this traveling show that showcased women’s rights (which is also a theme in almost all of her work). Many of her wrappings began to look somewhat like ladders which she really felt had a lot of symbolism, mostly to a body.
Hammond rarely does political work, but when she does venture from the subtly of her normal work, it usually makes a very big statement. There was one specific piece called Inappropriate Longings that consisted of a triptych, a tin water tub, and the words “God Damn Dyke” carved into the first panel. And when she was talking about this piece she told us it was really really difficult to carve into the latex rubber that she used; she told us the funniest story about one of the curators, I think, who came up to her and told her that someone had vandalized her piece! But then I realized it wasn’t so funny…she believed that it was more probable for someone to get a chair, have a razor blade, and carve into something that would take a very long time, without anyone seeing, than to have the artist put it there herself.
I also felt very lucky to have attended on this week because we had recently been given a project to do book alterations. One project she did was in response to a vandal at the San Francisco Public Library where staff began finding books, carved with a sharp instrument hidden under shelving units. Over 600 books relating to issues of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals as well as AIDS and women's health issues were vandalized. Eventually the vandal was caught and charged with a hate crime. The damaged books were given to artists to create works of art, thereby transforming the destructive acts. She was able to do a couple of these books and transform them; she really took to heart what the vandal did and played upon that for her transformations. I was glad to see this because it gave me possible thought and direction to our new assignment.
She is an amazing artist who focuses on gender roles, lesbianism, political aspects, and much much more. I really enjoyed her lecture, and I hope she is able to come back again. I now look at her website often!