The Kitty Cat with Lasers and my Notebook

I know this is an art writing blog but I felt compelled to write about my (art) writing process. It’s simple: I journal (everyday).

That’s right, folks, I still journal. Or, keep a diary. I’ve done this since January 2006.

I love the act of writing organically. With technology, the mind processes many bits of information per second. Writing in a notebook may prove difficult if you’re in front of computer for hours every day (like me – that’s right, I have a 9-5 desk job) but it’s cathartic (even if I’m writing gibberish)!

Naturally, I need an outlet and that’s the reason why I journal as much as I can. It’s where I jot down all the ideas I have for essays and write-ups I want to pursue. If I’m roaming through a museum or gallery, my phone is my handy dandy note taker/keeper/recorder but soon after, I dash off to closest cafe and write in my journal. Some ideas get the boot while other musings garner a bit more attention. As the subject line states, posting a day has really forced me to look at my current writing process and what I would like to do to improve it.

For instance, not worrying so much about what the reader is going to think. Much of my fear, like anybody, is that the reader likes what I’ve written. This is not guarenteed and I’m not always going to write something people agree with or particularly enjoy. As a writer, especially in the Arts, I’ve have to accept this fact and move on. I’m starting to realize the more passionate I am about what I write, it shows.

With the artist’s reception in a large Budget rental truck, accompanied by a performance piece involving libations and black lights, “Proliferations Part 2” was both provocative and engaging. Viewing the show itself meant being escorted by minivan through a security gate to a roll-up-door storage unit, which was brought down once participants had entered. Viewing works in close proximity not only invoked a strong sense of anticipation, but a participatory aspect to the actual exhibition. “Proliferations Part 2” comes from the curatorial collective OFF Space, which is composed of artist-curators Kathrine Worel, Elyse Hochstadt, and Emmanuelle Namont Kouznetsov. The exhibition included works by Alexis Arnold, Alicia Escott, Michael J. Ryan, and Erica Gagsei. The pieces exhibited were constructed from man-made objects, transformed into organic shapes and forms that were then deliberately set against a wooden backdrop.

With their technologically based pieces, artists David Stein and Peter Foucault utilized this confined location to illustrate the dichotomous nature of excess and lack within a space. Michael Kerbow’s Meat Map simulated a pull-down wall map, thus creating a simulacra of memory based on grammar school geography classes.

In comparison, a viewing of “Proliferations Part 1” at Rhodes & Fletcher Wealth Management offices congruently emphasized the various ways in which environment plays a role in our perception and reading of art. Although no special code was needed, “Part 1” required permission in the form of an appointment to view the works. In “Part 1,” there was a clear distinction between art and venue, whereas “Part 2” drew heavily from the environment to provide the viewer context. Artists from “Part 2” palpably incorporated the environment to have each piece function and become experiential. Although extremely different settings, both sites obligated the viewer to engage in a process of perception and valuation. This engaging was as much a part of the exhibition as the work itself, though that might not have been the original intention. Overall, it would be difficult for a viewer to ignore the environment in these exhibitions, as they are so different from the typical gallery setting we have become so accustomed to.

Originally published to Art Practical for Shotgun Reviews March 2010

Photos from Proliferations-Part 2

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