Thursday, October 28, 2010

Special Topics: get 'em while they're hot!

Every semester the department has at least one offering that is a special topic, meaning it's not a regularly scheduled class. Art students will have the opportunity to take any (or all!) of four special topics courses this spring. These include:

ART 370: A Furniture Making 8:30-10:50 T/R am Graham

This course will be an introduction into the techniques and concepts of traditional and non traditional furniture fabrication. Areas to be covered will include but not be limited to wood selection and movement, hand tools, power tools, traditional and non traditional joinery, wood manipulation and finish work. Each student will complete the course with 2 designed and finished pieces as well as a physical lexicon on joinery with container.

ART 370: B Portrait and Lighting 1:00-3:20 T/R pm Kincer

A semester of intermediate photography focusing on ideas, issues, and possibilities related to portraiture with special attention to lighting techniques. For those with experience in photography, this course will address issues of technique with regards to camera control, set and location planning, model stylization, and specific lighting controls, as well as an investigation of numerous methods, styles, and concepts for capturing the human form. The primary method of production will be digital photography, with the possibility of exploring traditional photographic printing methods. Use of a DSLR camera is recommended, but not required. Prerequisite: ART 120 or permission of the Instructor.

ART 370: C Publication Techniques 3:30-5:50 T/R pm Shields

Students will learn skills and concepts necessary for publication design while engaging in a thorough study of composition concepts including grids, typography and color theory. Fields of publication may include newspaper, periodical, directory, book, or brochure design. Application and output will be explored with the examination of industry processes and methods. Guest speakers and field trips will enhance students’ understanding of methods and application in a real-world atmosphere.

Software Utilized: InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop

Prerequisite: ART 234

ART 470: A Modern/Contemporary Mexican Art 12:00-1:15 MW Ratliff
This course examines modern and contemporary trends in the visual culture of Mexico. The course will begin with a brief overview of the history of art in Mexico but will predominantly focus on works and artistic formations relevant to the debates around visual modernism and contemporary culture in Mexico: tradition and modernity; national culture and the indigenous and colonial past; the role of visual culture in defining & differentiating national identity; cultural and aesthetic mestizaje; race, gender, and representation; the art and politics of popular and avant-garde cultures; art by Mexican-American artists in the U.S.; and the effects of globalization and the art market on contemporary Mexican art. We will examine the dominant art forms of late nineteenth- and twentieth-century Mexico including post-revolutionary muralism and socially-concerned representational art in addition to movements, artists, and visual genre outside of the mural school including abstraction, surrealism, photography, print culture, film, and performance art. The lectures, class discussion, and readings will focus our attention on key topics and ideas that help situate individual artworks within broader social and art-historical perspectives that operate in Mexico. Prerequisite: One course in art history or permission of the instructor. Students with an interest in Latin, Mexican, or Hispanic cultures and civilizations are particularly invited to register for this course. For further information, contact the professor:

Feel free to ask faculty about their courses. You won't want to miss these amazing opportunities!

PS: Declare your major!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bookends or Lap Joint

Opening reception tomorrow, Thursday, October 28 from 5-7 in the Tuska Gallery at UK, located on Rose Street in the Fine Arts Building (next door to the Singletary Center for the Arts). The show will run from October 28-November 11. Click for HERE for more info.

I hope that you will have the opportunity to come to the opening, or at least see the show before it closes. This is a great chance to see your faculty exhibiting work that you won't want to miss. How often do you get to see your professors practice what they preach?

I have to say that this has been a fantastic experience. Daniel and I had so much fun collaborating and working together. And although it has been exhausting pulling this off, it has certainly been worth the investment.

If you're not aware of how the show works, Daniel and I looked back at our careers (all they way back to our first art classes in college) and created a chronological installation of pieces that stood out to us, culminating in eight collaborative works that we just finished yesterday. My earliest piece is from 1997 and Daniel's, 1998. You could say that there's 2.5 decades worth of work in this show.

It's a bit strange to look back over ten years of work that you've created. I couldn't have ever imagined this day when I took my first art class at Asbury. It's a little overwhelming at times. And I think that may be why this show will be so interesting to our students. They'll have a chance to see what we were doing in college, and, I think, view a lot of work that they've never seen. So again, I hope you get a chance go.

Note: my photos above are purposefully pixelated to protect the innocent (art works).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

William Kentridge, et al.

I caught a documentary on PBS recently that captured my art attention.  It concerned William Kentridge, a South African artist best known for animating his typically absurd and rather dark drawings.  I found an article about the film and attach a link here.

Kentridge is obviously brilliant, but what I found most fascinating about the film was the way Kentridge worked with other artists, such as musicians and singers.  The collaborative effort was both intriguing and rather difficult for me to watch because Kentridge remained in complete control.  The other artists on screen were not really experimenting as much as they were following his directions.  

I have spoken with a handful of artists who work collaboratively by choice; they prefer the process of working with others to produce a shared vision.  Two artists we know well have worked together recently and you can catch their efforts in a new show opening Thursday, Bookends or Lap Joint at UK's Tuska Center for Contemporary Art .  Closer to home, you can catch Professors Kincer and Graham's collaborative curatorial project, ImPrint, in the Anne Wright Wilson Fine Arts Gallery.  I was lucky enough to observe their joint decision making activities, see them execute their visions, and speak to them about their ideas.  I appreciate the learning experiences they provide.    

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Second International Furoshiki Design Contest for Students Design a Furoshiki (Wrapping Cloth) !

This contest information was passed on to us by Dr. Rich in the Japanese Dept.

Furoshiki, or wrapping cloths, are stylish and distinctive everyday

items emblematic of the Japanese tradition of wrapping things. Since they are

reusable and therefore do not impose a burden on the environment, furoshiki

have attracted renewed interest in recent years, both in Japan and elsewhere.

In 2009 the Japan Foundation held an Original Furoshiki Design

Contest, soliciting submissions from students of design in 10 countries. A total

of 373 entries were submitted, and three were selected to receive top prizes.

Furoshiki displaying the top prize designs are now on sale at museum gift

shops and other venues in Japan. Full information is also available on the following website:

The Japan Foundation, New York:

If you have any inquires, please send an email to:

Letterpress on apple

I stumbled across this on NotCot the other day and I thought it was a good and bad. Apple now offers a service of letterpress through iphoto, so you can print your own cards and such.  You can see the original post HERE.

 I really hope that people don't over saturate the use of letterpress and culturally burn through it as if it is a new fad or trend. There has been the obvious rising trend in typography and its process in the past few years and I get nervous that our current consumer culture will treat a historic process as disposable.  I know that the true letterpress craftspeople that hold, use, and teach this traditional process will not stop but I get nervous that their clients may think it has become to mainstream or think that the iphoto version will yield the same results. There are arguments in both directions of what this will do in terms of accessibility but also the de-marketization of the small print studio.  I also will wear sack cloth and ashes the day one of my students looks at letterpress work and says "oh yeah like in iphoto".

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Just brilliant

Watch the video HERE

I wont waste your time making you read my recount when you should just watch the short video and read what is on the linked page.  Knowing about his photographic project is worth a little bit of your time.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Texas A&M Commerce, Oct/Nov 2010

Boris Zakic: Recent Paintings
October 26th - November 19th, 2010

Answering the question

The University of Oxford is famed for its interview questions -- not because they are particularly difficult in terms of demonstrating intensive academic knowledge but, rather, because they engage prospective students in ways of knowing. Dr. Lynn Robson, lecturer in English and frequent visitor to our college during the spring Oxford interviews at Georgetown College, disclosed one of the typical questions asked of Oxford-wannabees: "Why do you think an English student might be interested in the fact that Coronation Street has been running for 50 years?" [For those who may not be familiar, Coronation Street is a British soap opera featuring stock characters (from a host of social classes) such as the busybody, war vet, and pensioner as well as youthful rebel and university student.]

On the surface the question seems mundane. It throws students for a loop because it's not a particularly scholarly question that might yield a demonstration of knowledge of the thousands of pages of literature with which the interviewee may be familiar. Yet, it is an interesting conversation starter aimed at seeing how people respond to known material. Robson notes that this question “first and foremost...brings popular culture into the mix and shows that techniques of literary analysis can be applied to other media. It could also open up discussion about things such as techniques of storytelling; mixing humorous and serious storylines/characters; how a writer might keep viewers or readers engaged; collaborative writing; the use of serialisation, and how writers/texts might move from being perceived as ‘popular’ (like Dickens, say) to being ‘canonical’.”

How would you respond to a question like this? Examples might include:

  • What is the most influential work of art that you have seen face-to-face (not through a book or reproduction)?
  • What work of literature would you give as a gift to a graduating senior and why?
  • Why do you think the Mona Lisa is considered one of the most famous works of art?
  • How does a work of art, any work of art, demonstrate evidence of the production of new knowledge?

As we bring the semester into its final third, consider these kinds of questions as you approach art, design, and research projects. Consider what your work offers to its audience. Consider its purpose, goals, and objectives. Consider decisions made at every step of the way. Are you able to articulate your thoughts about your own production and that of others? How do you see your work fitting into the larger matrix of work produced as a graduating senior, an art student, an artist, or any other identifying group? Feel free to stop by my office and chat about ways of knowing and ways of answering the question...whatever it may be.

For more information on the Oxford interview, see the Times Higher Ed article.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Position: Web Skills Required!

From Holly James, Calling and Career Center:

Client is in need for an intern to assist with

1) Revamping her website ( simplifying & organizing)

2) Assist with the completion of her 1028 application, writing her mission statement, business plan and creating a PowerPoint.

You can view her web site at Time commitment would be approx. 10 hours a week. Contact Holly for details.

Visual Acoustics

Back in high school and the earlier parts of college, I had ambitions of becoming an architect. I loved creating and designing spaces as well as drafting and building models. However, I ended up changing majors and schools to pursue other goals. And even though it's not my particular field of study these days, I still have a fondness for architecture.

An interesting film (documentary) that I saw recently was "Visual Acoustics: the Modernism of Julius Shulman." As far as architectural photographers go, Shulman was one of the most well known, creating some of the most memorable photographs of modernist style buildings, particularly in Southern California. The photograph of the Case Study House 22, pictured below, is one of his most iconic.

One of the aspects I enjoyed most about the film was Shulman's steadfast vision for how best to capture architecture. His understanding of composition was extraordinary, but even better was his comprehension of how to relate people to the spaces. Also underscored in the movie was his relationship to the modernist movement and direct connection to progressive architects, from Frank Lloyd Wright to Frank Gehry.

So if you enjoy architecture, photography, and especially architectural photography or if you're just a modernist at heart, I think you'll enjoy "Visual Acoustics."

Saatchi Online

Join this community of artists who have launched a revamped website devoted to showcasing young talent in a free and open landscape. If you're an art major or minor, consider sharing your talent with the Saatchi empire -- yes, the same Charles Saatchi who sponsored the yBas. Visit

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Position: PhotoShop Skills Required!

10/19/2010: From Holly James: There is a paid position at Wade Embroidery And Screen Print, at the Outlet Center in Georgetown. The posting reads, "We are in need of a part time employee that has some experience in Photo Shop. A work schedule is very flexible at this time and I would anticipate the hours to be around 15 to 20 a week. Send a brief resume or experience in Photo Shop can be sent to the email address: or contact Holly James in the Calling and Career Center for a phone number.

What's Doin'

Last week was a busy one for the art department! The horses left the barn, so to speak, but the race was on for ImPrint, the current exhibition in the Anne Wright Wilson Fine Arts Gallery. Thanks to GC graduate Hannah Davis for her assistance in the preparations! As co-curators of the show, Professors Darrell Kincer and J. Daniel Graham made some fantastic selections for your viewing pleasure as well as insured that everything looked absolutely fantastic for Friday evening's opening reception.
Dr. Juilee Decker and her curatorial studies class were also on the move, hosting a wonderfully received reception for By the Book: 150 Years of Rules, Regulations and GC Student Life on view in the Cochenour Gallery of the Ensor Learning Resource Center. The goodies were excellent, and the "goods" in the exhibits lit up the faces of both the curating students and the alums who perused yearbooks and memorabilia before donning their beanies and taking part in a delightful fireside chat.

Homecoming weekend saw more than 50 visitors to the Dr. Donald L. and Dorothy Jacobs Gallery (thanks to all the weekend gallery workers for their assistance: Mark, Kayla, and Miranda). Saturday morning Professor Graham made an "impression" or two with Dr. Rich and little Angelica, and, Monday we entertained hordes of visiting Laurel County middle and high school students--many of whom came by after their tour for a second (and even third) look!

Don't fret art fans, because more good stuff is on the way! Senior Cathy Frank's show, Command Z opens later this week in the Cochenour with a reception on Sunday from 2-4 p.m. Don't miss the continuing doin's of the GC Art Department!

Author and Scholar Lynn Nicholas at UK Tuesday

Those interested in WWII repatriation will not want to miss Lynn H. Nicholas's talk tonight at UK. For context, see an earlier post that I made on a critical issue of art history's relevance. Nicholas is one of several lecturers who will devote an entire week of lecture, presentation, and discussion to issues of ownership, access, restoration, and repatriation. See the full listing here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Imprint knowledge part two Lithography


Lithography has many processes within itself, paper plate lithography, stone lithography, plate litho, and polyester plate lithography, just to name a few. I thought I would run through a couple and review the structure that of all of them stand on.

All lithographic technology is based on the simple principle that oil and water do not mix.
Paper plate lithography (also know as xerox lithography, if you hear xerogrpahy they are trying to sound more than they are) is the easiest technical explanation of this premise.  
When put through a laser printer (a printer with toner rather than ink) the colored powdered plastic we call toner covers the paper in whatever image we choose. The plastic toner is melted onto the paper sealing one side of the paper in whatever your image choice is.
The paper is then wet with gum arabic and water. (Gum arabic and the paper are both hydrophilic (they love water)). 
The print inks used in this process are oil based. So with the paper soaking in some of the water and the toner repelling water due to it being plastic. The ink is rolled over the whole sheet of paper and will only stick to the toner.  In this way you can print up your paper plate in any color of your choice. (seen below is one in process)

The paper plate is then run through the press with dry or damp paper to come out with the print.
example of lithographic limestone
All lithographic processes are similar at base, some are done on stone, some on steel plates, they can be based in drawing or in photography.  It is one of the most challenging technical processes in printmaking but also one of the most rewarding.

Paper being pulled off stone after printing.

The following are examples of Stone Lithography from one of the masters Oldrich Kulhanek

 I got to see this in person as a student at The University of Florida and it was one of the reasons I pursued stone lithography as a focus for almost 5 years.   His work is also the first image you see in this post.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ai Weiwei at the Tate Modern

as the eleventh commission in the tate modern's unilever series, chinese conceptual artist ai weiwei
has filled the museum's turbine hall with millions of life-sized sunflower seed husks made out of 
porcelain. the collective effort of a number of specialists from jingdezhen, china, the hand-crafted 
seeds were individually formed and painted. the installation encourages visitors to touch and walk
on the carpet of tiny replicates. 

ai weiwei has manipulated the traditional methods of crafting porcelain, which has historically been
considered to be one of china's most prized exports, to explore the 'made in china' phenomenon and 
the geo-politics of cultural and economic exchange today. 

See more images HERE

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"By the Book" in the press

Check out the front page of this week's Georgetonian for a full-page article on the Curatorial Studies' class current exhibit, By the Book: 150 Years of Rules, Regulations, & GC Student Life.

Or, read it here online.

Good Moral Character & a Fireside Chat Friday @ 1pm

The college catalogue from 1846 described behaviors that were preferred among the student population: "The College is open to persons who desire to study in particular departments only. Such persons must give satisfactory evidence of good moral character, and possess such previous acquisitions in the branches they mean to pursue, as shall qualify them to study with some of the regular classes." A description of such character is not provided, neither are the means by which one should attain it.

A century and a half later, we have no such clause in the college catalog and yet it goes without question that rules and codes of behavior, or, even guidelines for moral character have been a part of the college's history as much as its traditions. Putting this story into visual and verbal form was the task put before students in my Curatorial Studies course. As I mentioned in an earlier post this semester, each fall students in ART 302 prepare an exhibition that is on display in the Cochenour Gallery around our campus celebration of Homecoming. The first exhibit was curated in 2005 and entitled “Faith Ablaze! The Chapel Fire of 1930.” This show recounted that tragic, chilly April morning as the building was lost to the smoke and flames. For the 2010 exhibition, students have been researching the rules and regulations of the college from the earliest College Catalogs of the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. This proved quite challenging because the topic for the exhibition is not entirely focused or well-documented, such as an historic structure or event. Nor is the focus on a specific population, such as alums from a certain dorm or major or club.

The show has been curated, installed, and is now on view in the LRC. Please join us on Friday from 12-2 in the Cochenour Gallery where students will be on hand to discuss their work. The students who prepared the exhibition include: Celisa Bowen, David Gardner, Bess McHone, Jacob Pankey, and Weezie Payton. We also had the help of an alum, Daniel Ware, class of 2010. While browsing the display case and installation of two dorm rooms, you'll be able to enjoy amazing dainty delights made by GC alum, Amanda Hervey. In addition, we'll convene a Fireside Chat at 1:00 with Doc Birdwhistell and a few other GC alums and friends, including Jane Hope Fields, Ann McCamy, Kyle Potter, Kitty Taylor, and Wallace and Judith Williams. All will share insight about rules and regulations. Topics include:

-Freshman beanies (see image at the head of this post)
-dorm life
-bust of J.J. Rucker -- remember it? seen it? stolen it?
-earliest rules
-the present "rules"
-rules as being good or harmful for students in college
Please join us!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

(Un-Qualified) Contemporary Art

The Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati currently has on display a temporary exhibition of contemporary art entitled Where Do We Go From Here? This exhibit consists of selections from the Jumex Collection, the largest collection of contemporary art in Mexico, and probably the largest in Latin America. Amassed by Jumex juice company heir Ernesto Lopez during the 1990s, this collection has been lauded as possibly the best collection to incorporate Mexican and Latin American contemporary art with examples from the United States, Europe, and other countries around the globe. Out of the approximately 1400 works that comprise the entire collection, nearly a full third were created by artists either born or working in Latin America. Art historians and critics have celebrated this collection as one of the first to include Latin American art not as a peripheral phenomenon, but as a major artistic player in the global market.

According to the curators, the show is divided into four thematic, interwoven areas: “art about art; art and urban anthropology; text in art; and a series of succinct artist profiles.” Where Do We Go From Here? is an exhibit that is meant to question the current state of art, investigate some prevalent concepts from the past few decades, and to highlight specific artists whose works have contributed greatly to our understandings of contemporary art. As the title indicates, the exhibit also hopes to point toward the possible future or futures of contemporary art. For me, as an historian of Mexican art, this exhibit is exciting because it points to a future in which the contemporary art of Mexico and other Latin American countries, or any country or culture whose art has traditionally fallen outside the “Western canon,” are presented without national qualifiers.

Artists represented in the exhibit include:

Francis Alÿs, Carlos Amorales, John Baldessari, Stefan Brüggemann, Maurizio Cattelan, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Minerva Cuevas, Ale de la Puente, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Claire Fontaine, Claire Fontaine, Reena Spauldings and Bernadette Corporation, Mario Garcia Torres, Douglas Gordon, Daniel Guzmán, Jonathan Hernández, Jenny Holzer, Donald Judd, On Kawara, Jeff Koons, Joseph Kosuth, Gabriel Kuri, Louise Lawler, Sherrie Levine, Paul McCarthy, Jorge Méndez Blake, Jonathan Monk, 'Moris' Israel Meza Moreno, Sarah Morris, Gabriel Orozco, Damian Ortega, Richard Pettibone, Jack Pierson, Ugo Rondinone, Ed Ruscha, Rudolf Stingel, Rosemarie Trockel, Kelley Walker, Andy Warhol, Lawrence Weiner, Franz West, Cerith Wyn Evans

I’ll be planning a visit on a Saturday in November (probably Nov. 20). If anyone is interested in joining me, please contact me for details. The show will be on view through January 30, 2011.

ImPrint, Friday | KY.7 Artist Talk, Thursday

ImPrint, this Friday (Oct. 15) in the Wilson Gallery. Sixteen artists—41 works. Opening reception, 5-7 PM. Art talk around 5:15 (Nexus). Print demo, Saturday morning, 9-10 AM.

Also as a reminder, I'll be participating in an artist talk for the KY.7 Biennial for the Lexington Art League at the Louden House in Lexington on Thursday, starting at 7 PM. Four other artists will also be speaking about their work. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nature's Grays

While painting have you ever wondered why you can't find that perfect green? 
I did...

Before I came to France I thought that if I simply squeezed a blob of yellow and a blob of blue paint onto a surface and mixed them together they would turn out to be a perfect replica of natures greens, however there are no "perfect" colors in nature. All colors are a combination of all the colors. For example the color green:

It is not complete until you add its complementary color red:

By combine a color with its complement, you are mixing together all the primary colors (Green=Blue and Yellow; Red). When you start to realize that all colors are present in every color, it opens up your mind to see so many naturally occurring complements. For example shadows are not merely gray and black they are shades of red and violet against the Yellow/green of the leaves. Complements are found every where in nature.

So make this your challenge. Look around at the colors you see in nature. Notice how the red brick buildings make the green trees pop out beside them. If you paint, try to experiment with adding the complement or as Van Gogh would say "breaking the colors." You will then realise that in every thing there is present a mélange of the colors or the grays of nature.

Art Attacks (or, when "swoons" go wrong)

For a long time I have been interested in provocative art--art that provokes viewers to action, that is.  Sometimes the action is far from a "swoon" incident; instead, people physically act out against works of art.  Here are links to a couple of interesting occurrences that have come to my attention, and these are but two of many other occurrences of art attacks out there:

Last summer in Paris, a woman attacked the Mona Lisa with a coffee mug:

This summer in Denver, a woman broke through a plexiglass case with a crowbar to attack an "offensive" image:

Clearly, in addition to Stendhal's Syndrome, the swoon effect has indeed been documented, although perhaps like so many things in 21st century society, the negative responses get the most press. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Old Department Laptops....We Shared the Love

Thank you to the students who supported our "Share the Love" program today. We gave four laptops new homes. Students who purchased them contributed funds toward our spring special event "Empty Bowls." This will be an opportunity for students, alumni, and faculty to come together and make art. More on this event forthcoming. Enjoy!

Something(s) new to see...

...and they're right here on GC's campus:  two temporary public sculpture pieces, Totem, 2000 and Die, 2000 by Brad Connell.  Check them out on the pad between the Chapel and the Cralle Student Center.