It's been one week after the spring break and here is a section of my conference style paper in which I refer to the big artist statement. This paper discusses the contemporary sublime in relation to Micheal Fried's essay, as regards to the notion of presentness and presence as he discussed in his argument art and object hood. Let me elaborate in the paragraphs below.
Presentness and Presence in relation to the contemporary sublime
Can one acknowledge the contemporary sublime as Fried’s notion of Presentness? What if the contemporary sublime is substituted as art, well it is art as well – technological art, and yet it cannot identify as presentness because it requires a physical contact to engage an individual. Michael Fried in his essay art and object hood, Pg. 832; In referring to Presentness as Grace he defines the later as ‘this continuous and entire presentness, amounting, as it were, to the perpetual creation of its self, that one experiences as a kind of instantaneousness. In the light of this, the contemporary sublime is not presentness because it cannot lead to the perpetual creation of itself, and one that cannot be experienced as a kind of instantaneousness. Thus, absorption is sacrificed and mindfulness cannot manifest because of an individual’s awareness of the viewing process and theatricality prevails. In correlation to my art objects, it is presentness and thus the function of this object is strengthened by the presence of the beholder.
What is the Contemporary Sublime?
Literally, the sublime can be described as an experience of grandeur greatness. Going back to the 18th-century formation of the art of the sublime, philosopher Immanuel Kant in his book The Critique of Judgment, established an argument based on Burke’s notion of the sublime as an experience incited from terror and pain. Kant argues that an experience can be terrifying and thus, sublime, without the beholder been afraid of it. In my opinion, our contemporary sublime is terrifying, without the contemporary beholder been afraid of it, especially the technological sublime. Eugenie Shinkle in her essay video games and the technological sublime argues that “Present-day formations of the sublime are routinely linked to the idea and appearance of technology. The Marxist literary critic and political theorist Fredric Jameson suggests that technology can only be theorized through the category of the sublime.
Technology, he argues, represents contemporary society’s other; it is a shorthand for ‘that enormous properly human and anti-natural power of dead human labor stored up in our machinery – an alienated power … which turns back on and against us in unrecognizable forms and seems to constitute the massive dystopian horizon of our collective as well as our individual praxis.’”
The technological sublime is a cultural condition; it is a banality which Eugenie Shinkle identifies in her essay video games and the technological sublime as the existential and material corollary excess. Bound with the material processes of commodity production, the banal goes hand in hand with superabundance, consumption, and waste… the alliance of the sublime and the banal is a consequence and a reflection of the ambivalent position of technology in contemporary culture. Technology is both a post-human other and a part of everyday life. For this reason, the individual becomes so attached to technology and this lessens mindfulness in the contemporary society. The next section will explain how my art objects become a getaway place for the contemporary sublime.
Presentness and presence in relation to my art objects in relation to the space of the viewers
Michael Fried states in his essay art and object hood that something is said to have ‘presence’ when it demands that the beholder takes it into account, that he take it seriously -and when the fulfillment of that demand consists simply in being aware of it and, so to speak, in acting accordingly. The role of my art objects is so that the beholder takes it into account. Because of the technological sublime, the traditional framework of painting would only strengthen the idea of the beholder’s attachment to technology, one that can be terrifying to the beholder and yet sublime. My art objects become a window where this attachment is disrupted, hence, there is mindfulness with Fried’s notion of presence.
The idea of presentness is inherent in the multiple layers of my art objects in relations to the space of the beholder within the context in which it’s displayed. Fried’s presentness is not dissimilar to my art object because presentness, as he states in art and object hood, is this continuous and entire presentness, as it were, amounting to the perpetual creation of its self- a condition that required continual renewal. From the inception of my art objects, every artistic decision is self-dependent in a way, whereby it functions as a window into our contemporary society.
In this paper, I have argued that my paintings function as a window considering the contemporary society -breaking down the barrier between beholder and mindfulness, which I believe is absent in today’s standards. This is because of the society’s attachment to the technological sublime which exists in our contemporary culture. Michael Fried’s notion of presentness and presence would only strengthen this perception of mindfulness in relation to the beholder’s presence in relation to the space of my art object, then the beholder can be mindful again.
 Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, London 1991, p.38
 Ibid, P. 35
Michael Fried, Art and Objecthood Essay, Institutions and objections, Pg. 822-833
Kant, Immanuel. The Critique of Judgment. trans. James Creed Meredith. Forgotten Books, 2008, p. 68-75
Eugénie Shinkle, 'Video Games and the Technological Sublime ', Tate Papers, no.14, Autumn 2010, http://www.tate.org.uk/research/publications/tate-papers/14/video-games-and-the-technological-sublime, accessed 19 March 2017.
Greetings everyone, it has been yet another week of partly low energy, exploration, and networking outside the four walls of my studio. My most recent projects are almost being resolved, also while working on that I experienced a new technique which could be intertwined into my next project. The results of this newly found technique can be described as having similar qualities as a print-makers work. Initially, I started the week with lots of excitement because I was going to make more image transfer, for some reason I was irritated by not possessing key tools for this progression. Thus, I needed a work surface next to the former so that I could visually represent my sudden frustrating situation. In doing this, I had strange vibes going through my nerves while making repeated not subtle and aggressive marks, the intent was not to make it representational but it turned out in between representational and non-representational. I’ve never given my paintings titles of the wall, perplexed myself, I immediately titled this piece ‘Red’ in my mind not because it was an easy title for my present mood but because the piece conceptually represents everything ‘Red’ is not. Red was created using black and white acrylic paint markers, ink, acrylic and led on canvas paper.
Upon the completion of Red, I shut my studio doors and retired to my bed because it was late anyways. Next morning opening my studio doors I realized I had done something interesting on the top right corner of ‘Red’, instantly I grabbed some watercolor pads and I took red off the wall for its initial existence was intended to be ephemeral and I recreated the most interesting parts of ‘Red’. Intermission, now I was myself again, excited. How I love to be excited. The new sketches on watercolor pads are still in a contemplative state whether to be included or not, depending on its success in newer projects. The sketches were created using watercolor and white paint marker on cold press watercolor pad.
In addition, practice only exists with its network outside the walls of the studio. This is an inevitable protocol of the mainstream. Last week on March 10, 2017, some colleagues and myself embarked on a gallery hopping trip in Atlanta, it was a long day though but the key word from this experience is ‘Network’. Network, network, network, a word I got from every of our conversation with the gallerists. Practically I felt enlightened because this is an ongoing conversation with Prof. Jason Hoelscher back in room 2016 in the art building at Georgia Southern University. Jessamy, Courtney, Cyndy and daughter Josie, and I started the day off at Atlanta Contemporary gallery where Lonnie Holley was on view. Lonnie’s work focused more on his autobiography and his reflection on the contemporary society, I was amazed by the artist's use of found objects which visually represents his ideas. Here are some of Lonnie’s work;
Next, we stopped at Hathaway gallery, in there it felt like a huge warehouse with big windows in the front, spectacular right! and the floors were shining. Here, John Folsom and two other artists were on display. I was intrigued with John’s landscape painting process, especially how the artist transforms his images through a digital software, in the end, the artist paints his manipulated image. Following this our next stop was Kai Lin gallery, where the ladies had a good conversation with the lady gallery employee, I could not help but notice how good looking she was…OMG! And did I mention I was the only guy in this group? The lady gallery employee here talked us through how interconnected the art mainstream is today. For instance, presenting a stage performance in a gallery setting, they all benefit both ways from one another.
Soon, it was time to get some food, as we all know the consequences if lunch was skipped. Lunch was about thirty minutes and the group had a positive feedback, delicious and the only not good part for me was the quantity of the food, not filling but surely good tacos and cucumber salad. The last part of the day was spent at the Whitespace gallery, here the group was including Courtney, Jessamy and me. Also, we had a long conversation with the gallery assistant Emily, in the middle of our conversation the gallery owner Susan Bridges briefly graced us with her presence. She had already stepped out of the gallery when Emily suddenly told us that was Susan. You all should have seen our faces but not to worry our lasting conversation with Emily reinforces our newly found relationship.
Have a great week. I will add more pictures of studio accomplishment in the next post.
The ambitious nature of painting can be very overwhelming. Sometimes I want to work so largely on my paintings because it reads about space, meditation, and the sublime and other times the practicality of these paintings in a tiny studio becomes the reason why my paintings are created within a specific size ratio.
Presently, I am working with image transfers and kind of find it difficult to create an archive of my momentary pause, which will be needed in the progression of my recent projects. I grow very unhappy with this challenge every day but this keeps me in the studio all day which is a plus. On days I got really stressed searching for images I just ignore the stress and read art books/magazines which mainly focuses on the contemporary art of today. Patience is key, a myth which I'm no longer pay attention to or maybe I am, clueless.
Jose Parla, Ashland to Baltic, Acrylic and plaster on canvas, 2015
This weekend, myself and some Colleagues took a trip to Savannah, a relatively close city in the state of Georgia. It's pretty much a tourist center and a place for the arts. More so, there is an art college situated within the city (SCAD) and also this college runs a museum know as the SCAD Museum of Art. It's a really inspiring location to get away from my studio drama -aka challenges with creating an archive of momentary pauses. One interesting work that got my attention was that of Jose Parla, a Cuban-American artist. Initially, I was familiar with his paintings but in a non-conceptual way. The non-conceptual way means my experience of his work was mediated through screens and books. I paid more attention to the artists surface through my conceptual experience of the artists work. I will describe it as a moment when everything makes sense, mostly especially the process in which Parla layered paint atop paint. It became a gratifying experience for me... wow! The monumental scale of Parla's project made me ambitious again, this made think about the role of scale in sharing one's opinion of time and place- this is the fundamental idea of Mr. Parla's painting.
Obviously, I'm not going to spend my time being a cheerleader.
This is the content of Jose Parla's project as he states in his statement,
"I then embarked on a journey to search out in detail the dialogue of decaying walls, the marks on them, and what it all means to me. This has led my paintings to become memory documents. As a result, these works are time capsules, mixed documents of memory and research; part performance, as I impersonate the characters that leave their marks on walls. Time is a part of these paintings as their creative process simulates the passing of time on city walls and their layers of history with layers of paint, posters, writing, and re-construction. This process, like meditation, affirms my everlasting devotion to art as a form of spirituality, which exists in the present and pays homage to those who leave their traces behind."
In my Opinion, I'm interested in the idea of how Mr. Parla's meditation-like process affirms his everlasting devotion to art as a form of spirituality. That is the key statement to comprehending his grandeur paintings.
Have a great week.
Hi there, I'm an MFA candidate at Georgia Southern University. I enjoy creating and when I'm not, cycling is the therapy. Have a good time reading.