The Show Must Go On

2011 is shaping up to be a very busy year indeed! In the past two weeks I have begun the illusive final semester of my NSCAD University undergrad, dealt with the retail world of post-Christmas gift returns at RW&CO, and am finishing the final preparations for the APC gallery opening on the 17th.

I am showing five out of the ten images from a body of work I completed here. My work, titled “Remnant” attempts to draw a correlation between objecthood, the photograph, and the referent -a latex relief that documents the surface of the body. The created object duplicates the surface of my skin and explores temporarility and challenges boundaries between realism and the copy.

The liquid latex is painted onto the surface of my skin and documents different sections of my form, such as my belly button that is on my invitation. Once dried and pulled away there remains imprinted on the reverse side a trace of myself, an object that like the human body begins it’s immediate decomposition. If left to the elements, these objects would in fact decompose at the same rate as an oak leaf. I have attempted to demonstrate this relationship as well, between photographs as memory and photographs as objects. By taking these objects and turning them into photographs I have preserved a memory, a trace of my form that will under the right set of circumstances remain long after my corpse. In Camera Lucida Roland Barthes summarizes the position of the photograph within the context of death and temporality- “For the photograph’s immobility is somehow the result of a perverse confusion between two concepts: the Real and the Live: by attesting that the object has been real, the photograph surreptitiously induces belief that it is alive, because of that delusion which makes us attribute to Reality an absolute superior, somehow eternal value; but by shifting this reality to the past (‘this-has-been’), the photograph suggests that it is already dead.” So then every photograph is already a reminder of death, but intrinsically it also preserves life.

The form the latex has documented and the camera has captured is already changing both as my skin and as the latex object. The surface becomes marred and deteriorates, while the photograph freezes something that was and is no longer. The power of the photograph is what sucked me in during first year, and is why I continue to use it as my primary medium to explore themes of temporality, memory, and more recently nostalgia. In my artist statement I said “Throughout my religious upbringing I consistently felt as though I was living a facade, continuously changing my thoughts, my ideas, and my identity. Remnant is a continued exploration of the temporal vessel while focusing on a different self representation – the objecthood of my body and the photograph.” In the more fitting and well composed words of Roland Barthes “What the Photograph reproduces to infinity has occurred only once: the Photograph mechanically repeats what could never be repeated existentially” (Camera Lucida). If only I could phrase my ideas so eloquently…

And so I start PHOT 4500 – Advanced Photo Critique part II, a class twice the size of the previous with a decidedly male presence that did not exist in our group of eight women. It is going to be one freaking amazing term! In less exciting news, my other two classes are both histories to fulfill the requirements for my minor in art historical studies. One is AHIS 1900 – 19th Century Art History that I have been putting off the past four years and the other AHIS 3455 – Advanced Topics: History of Collections which will be an interesting examination of how the worlds more notable museums have acquired their artifacts (colonization).

I am very much anticipating my alumni ring, which I need to order soon so I can wear it in my graduation portraits. Here’s what NSCAD has to say about this little beauty: “The NSCAD alumni ring celebrates a lifelong connection to your academic and creative achievements.” (blah blah blah) “Designed by Karen Konzuk, BFA 97, this stainless steel band subtly incorporates the official NSCAD colour with a side incision of purple powder-coated finish. Inside the band is an engraved Latin inscription of NSCAD’s informal school motto.”

The motto by the way is “nolo facere insipida” after John Baldessari’s lithography I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art which used to hang in the foyer of the Duke Street campus until it was recently moved “to protect it”. Last I heard this was the presidents office…hmmm. I will post images upon it’s possession…the ring that is 😉

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