Thursday, June 11, 2009

Conceptualizing a new piece…

I was invited to participate in the upcoming exhibition Pop Craft: Absorbed and Filtered at the Society of Arts & Crafts in Boston, MA (opening August 8th) and have been doing some research and sketching out my ideas for the special piece(s) I'll be making for the show. I thought I would share a little bit about my thought process thus far…

As stated in the show prospectus:
"The best of Pop Art draws from and comments upon popular culture, its commerce, visual poetry and follies. Never shy, Pop Art is typically bold and brash and sometimes political or at least subversive. The exhibition POP Craft seeks to discover and present the ways in which the lessons of Pop Art have been absorbed and filtered by contemporary artists working in ceramics, fiber, glass, metal and/or wood."
I wanted to make a piece that incorporated Barbie or Ken of course (duh, a no-brainer pop reference) however I also started thinking about: what is relevant to popular culture these days? One thing that came to mind was same-sex marriage. It's an issue that's finally gaining some momentum in this country. It's timely, it's controversial, and I think a perfect starting point for my piece for this show in Boston. (Particularly since Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage - an appropriate homage to a historical time.)

So I've started sketching ideas for two "wedding ring" sets, one is a barbie & barbie faces in profile set, the other a ken & ken faces in profile set. I'm envisioning the rings housed in a display or some sort of "sculptural resting place" to safely house the works and make them as interesting off the body as when they are on. They will be spaced and arranged as if the two faces are about to kiss.

After drawing it out, I realized the kissing faces in profile resembled a Rubin's vase, you know, the optical illusion where you see both the vase and the faces:

So I did a wiki search about Rubin's vases and this particular paragraph really stood out for me:
"The illusion generally presents the viewer with a mental choice of two interpretations, each of which is valid. Often, the viewer sees only one of them, and only realizes the second, valid, interpretation after some time or prompting. When they attempt to simultaneously see the second and first interpretations, they suddenly cannot see the first interpretation anymore, and no matter how they try, they simply cannot encompass both interpretations simultaneously- one occludes the other."
(now at the risk of sounding totally Art School…) I kind of love this as a metaphor for the current state of acceptance and the perceptions of gay marriage in our country. So I'm going with it. But now I need to figure out how I'm actually going to make it! (particularly the sculptural display.) Hmmm… stay tuned. So that's where my head is at these days. I'll try to share some process pics of sketches and whatnot as the idea develops.

I've always enjoyed optical illusions. Here's a couple more illusion/perception images I grabbed for inspiration (the second image is a photo I took at the entrance of the Exploratorium we visited while in San Francisco last year.)

4 comments:

KMJewelryStudio said...

This is brilliant! I'm so excited to see how this turns out! Good Luck!

Marta Miguel Martínez-Soria said...

Fantastic process and concept!!!
thanks to share

good luck with the results

megan said...

wow! that paragraph about rubin's vases is so spot on. can't wait to see the results!

jaboopee said...

really looking forward to seeing finished work, great thought process