I made a new video on Memorial day this week, taking footage from the parade in Johnson, VT. This little parade for me brought up ideas of American identity, loss, memory, and militarized culture (which is nothing new, though maybe taking new forms these days).
Time has been flying by up in Vermont, sort of. It goes by fast, but it goes by slow too. We have made some excursions out to a few great swimming spots, in various rivers, brooks and a reservoir to jump off rocks, swing off rope swings and generally attempt to get accustomed to the cold, cold water. As many know, I have a great love for water, especially entering it at high speed from tall places. And I am very much into rivers, brooks and all that. Luckily Johnson has plenty of that.
As far as the art production goes, I have been simultaneously working on a few projects. A couple of videos, a couple of drawings in preparation for a wood sculpture (maybe with video?), and a little bit of sound editing.
The drawings and potential sculpture revolve around my current fascination with the hexagonal column structures of basalt found in several locations around the world. One example is at Devil’s Postpile at Mammoth Mountain in CA – where I went a couple of summers ago. Another is Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. Not sure yet where this project will go, but I have been doing a hand-sketch drawings and a measured drawing of the hexagonal forms so far. I hope to cut out a bunch of wood hexagons this week, if I can get the right wood posts for a reasonable price.
In the video department, I have one small projection on drawings that I have completed, using the nearby waterfall and the transition from laminar flow to turbulent water for inspiration (here is a pic of the set up without the video, video documentation to come).
The other video is a called Still Life (Red Flag), and consists of several long shots of compositions I found interesting around the area my studio is in. I then took the audio from these shots, heavily processed it, and created a soundtrack. I also added in a little Etta James (as one day I was driving around with Harlan from the sculpture dept. and it came on the radio). The mood becomes eerie, and reminds me of hot, bored yet anxious summer evenings. I recommend headphones and full-screen HD when watching it.
To wrap up the post, here is a photo of a newt. We have been seeing a lot of these, some in the orange phase some in the olive green water dwelling phase. I believe its the Eastern Newt, or Red Spotted Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens). They have some sort of compass sensing in their brains, but more about that later.
This month, and into the first week of June, I am doing a residency at Vermont Studio Center way up in Johnson, VT. That’s about two hours south of Montreal, and pretty much out in the country. It is rather beautiful. VSC hosts 50 artists every month of the year, making it the largest artist residency facility in the country. I have spent the last few days setting up my studio, getting settled in, meeting everyone, and even getting a little work done. I ran around a bit shooting photos on my trusty Yashica, and staged a video installation on the back of my studio building. I don’t really have a good title for it yet, so lets just call it Waterfall for now.
River soundtrack in the video is provided by the actual river, which is right behind where I shot this.
My studio is across the Gihon river from the mill building (photo at the top of this post), in the Barbara White studio building. Sharing the first floor with me are several printers and a photographer, and there are a slew of painters upstairs. If they let me, perhaps I can post some of their work later in the month.
Barbara White building.
VSC hosts writers as well as visual artists, and there is a pretty good mix of people working in different media so far. Tonight there will be artist slide talks, for those who want to share work, which I am really looking forward to.
I will try to keep on a regular posting schedule while here, so check back for more in a few days!