Artist research: Susan kae Grant

29/30 June 2017. Taking a first look at photographer and bookmaker Susan kae Grant’s (USA, *?) work makes me feel at home somewhat, much in line with the effect the charcoal animations by William Kentridge have on me. Her representative, Conduit Gallery (n.d.), describe her work as ‘a significant collaboration of artistic and scientific inquiry into the nature of dreams, memory and the unconscious’. On Vimeo she explains her technique working together with a sleep lab and models and the ideas behind her work – ‘what if you could enter the dreams at the moment you are having them’ (VERVE Gallery of Photography, 2014). I do think, however, that on me Kentridge has a much greater impact, because his direct way of transporting emotion by drawing feels absolutely straight and genuine. Grant’s approach overall appears more theatrical, which I believe is intentional, because dreams might probably be seen as a ‘theatre of the mind’. I also believe this will work on other persons in the same way as Kentridge’s approach works on me. Grant’s shadow photographs (Grant, n.d.) remind me of paper cuts but at the same time remain vague, at times uncomfortably so, about the portrayed dream persons and situations. Here I can see why Kentridge’s work has more appeal to me. No matter how beautiful the arrangement and emotionally gripping the story, I keep feeling that photography is an indirect means of transporting messages. I would rather be a witness to the fascinating experiments or be allowed to walk into the set Grant creates on the way to the final piece of art than seeing the latter. As always I may be totally wrong, but it is a feeling I cannot ignore. I do like her means of becoming aware of shadows existing in the world, though, and capturing them on two-dimensional surfaces. For my work on Assignment 2, which at this stage I would like to become a collection of shadows of items existing in my real life, but casting a shadow on my soul, I would like to return to the above, but then paint them using the semi-abstract techniques discovered during Part 1 of the course.

 

References

Conduit Gallery (n.d.) Artist: Susan kae Grant [online]. Conduit Gallery, Dallas. Available from: http://www.conduitgallery.com/artists/susan-kae-grant [Accessed 30 June 2017]

Grant, S. k. (n.d.) Shadow Portraits [flash photo sequence] [online]. Susan kae Grant, Dallas. Available from: http://susankaegrant.com/flash.html [Accessed 29 June 2017]

VERVE Gallery of Photography (2014) Susan kae Grant Artist Video [online]. VERVE Gallery of Photography, Santa Fe. Available from: https://vimeo.com/97842571 [Accessed 30 June 2017]

 

 

 

 

 

Following me round like a shadow: dedicating my course to a subject

3 April 2017. It is a very good thing that I had a lot of preparatory work still to do for POP assessment, before I am now ready to start UPM properly. This way I had the opportunity to reflect on my previous progress and advice given by my POP tutor. She had pointed me to the fact that it would be extremely advisable to carry over to UPM my interest in shadows and to research and experiment widely in that respect. With this advice in mind I asked my UPM tutor, whether it would be an option to have shadows as an underlying theme, like a red thread, to accompany my exercise and assignment work in UPM. She was happy with this, provided that a main emphasis remains on experimenting with and developing technical aspects.

While I am thrilled by my subject, I also think that for me being subject-bound will allow me to focus better on my main areas needing development, well-thought-out and well-documented experimentation. If I am given total freedom I will always jump into the new experience head first as a consequence of being uncontrollably curious. The self-imposed limitation will hopefully keep that aspect at bay. As a side-effect I may be able to produce some coherent work suitable for the creative challenges lying ahead of me. Artist research, study visits as well as (scientific) background research I will carry out in a way to fit in with the general direction of development. Will see if I will be able to make the best of what I think is a great opportunity.