Apr 27, 2010

Introductions: Kate Hampel

This week's MFA Fiber and Material Studies lecture will be presented by Kate Hampel. Kate has an undergraduate degree in Fiber from Concordia University in Montreal Canada. She has also studied at the Centre des Textiles Contemporains, in Montreal and Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. Her résumé includes solo shows in Toronto, Canada and Daegu, Korea, as well as recent group exhibitions at the Larch, Woman Made Gallery, 1366 Space, and Beverly Art Center in Chicago.

Hampel employs fiber, photography, writing, and performance to create work which is sometimes autobiographical, sometimes abstract, and always emotionally compelling. In her piece look honey, i made you a new one, she confronts a lover (or ex-lover) with a photograph of her holding a reassembled cow heart. The heart has been put back together with medical sutures. The piece is visceral and speaks not just to loss but also to a mechanical or systematized attempt to recover from emotional destruction. Hampel's choice of medical sutures creates a sense of distance from her and the photograph's intended audience. For her this gory act appears simultaneously personal and procedural.

Her current work uses photographs and performance to focus on interpersonal relationships in a domestic context with a specific interest in domestic violence. Using make-up she creates bruises which become physical representations of the long-lasting emotional damage which is sometimes left by others. Hampel writes, "There’s a rupture there that draws me in—closeness, domesticity and family ties open up a chasm of emotion where we find the worst as well as the best." In Hampel's piece something you can believe in, she assumes constructed bruises while sitting next the the famous 1984 Nan Goldin photograph, Nan after being battered. In Goldin's piece she dresses up in her best clothes after being beaten. Hampel seems to take on Goldin in her photograph while paying homage to her as well. Hempel's confrontational gaze implies that while Goldin's physical wounds healed, the emotional damage may never go away.

Kate Hampel's lecture is Tuesday, April 27th at 12:10 in Sharp 903 at 37 S. Wabash St., Chicago, IL.

There will be no lecture next week but in two weeks this semester's noon hour lecture series will conclude with a presentation by Matthew Schlagbaum (Wednesday 5/12).

Apr 15, 2010

Introductions: Janet Lin

This week's MFA Fiber and Material Studies lecture will be presented by Janet Lin. She grew up in Texas and Taiwan then received her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD in 2009.

Like the color pink, Lin's work is loaded with cultural history, stigma, and refuses to be invisible. Lin launched PrincessJaynet.com in 2009 as part of her BFA thesis exhibit at MICA. For this piece Lin took on the persona Jaynet. Her character shares some of her autobiographical traits but unlike Lin, Jaynet is a World Famous Taiwanese-American Pop Star. Jaynet's personal website includes a centerfold-esc spread, merchandise, streaming samples of her music, and connections to all major social media outlets.

Jaynet's songs address the American immigrant experience with a swagger that is both crude and charming. In her song Naturalization she sings, "Ever since I aced my immigration test/ I got America motherfucking obsessed/ And every time that bitches try to shit on my ass/ I tell them what I learned in government class/ Money! /America! /Freedom!" Lin uses sexuality to confront Orientalism and otherness in the middle-class. Her website is professional and flawless and she has convinced many visitors to her website that Jaynet is real. Jaynet's sleek presentation helps Lin turn marketing back in on itself with her own unique style of culture-jam.

In Lin's newest series she continues to use the body as a sight of protest and moves further into the realm of illusion. She views the separation of reality and fantasy as a culturally constructed binary system and her work strives to straddle the line between both. In one piece she has intercourse with a dildo-unicorn head. It includes one graphic sequence shot in a pristine manner that separates it from the trappings of amateur porn. Aside from herself and the dildo-unicorn the room is consumed with darkness. Her actions are not shocking because of the sex but because of her confidence. The piece provides a peak into her fantasies as she performs them. Lin uses the context of porn to transition the audience from viewer to voyeur and provokes them to take the on the male gaze.

You can see Janet Lin's dildo-unicorn intercourse for yourself. She will be screening it as part of her lecture on Thursday, April 15th at 12:10 in Sharp 903 at 37 S. Wabash St., Chicago, IL. If you miss it be sure to check out PrincessJaynet.com.

Next week's lecturer will be Mike Evans (Friday 4/23).

Some images blurred with the permission of the artist.

Apr 7, 2010

Video: A Brief History of Boys & Pleather

I recorded my noon hour lecture with a FlipCam. I've posted parts 1-2 here you can find the rest on my YouTube channel.

Apr 5, 2010

Introductions: Steven Frost (by David R. Harper)

I will be presenting this week's MFA Fiber and Material Studies lecture. Instead of writing about myself I asked my colleague David R. Harper to be a guest blogger. I love Harper's work and am honored to have him talk about mine.

Steven Frost received his BFA from Alfred University, NY State College of Ceramics and Design in 2004 and furthered his educational career at the Corcoran College of Art + Design were he worked as an admissions counselor. Native to rural Vermont, Frost has exhibited his fiber-based objects, drawings and installations in a wide variety of venues and exhibitions across the US.

Steven has an insatiable ability to translate the tropes of both classical and contemporary representations of the male body into bright and intricately crafted works. Breaking down the walls that surround the myths of the male gaze, the often-allegorical nature of his work allows the viewer to think about the all told histories of classification.

In his most recent figurative fiber based collages, Frost takes classical ideas of the masculine, and combines the images with the most eye catching embellishments of the crafter's catalog, the pom, the charmed tailors pin, and miscellaneous rickrack to create scenes of action and fervor. These works take the viewer and offer the opportunity to ruminate over how we are trained to see and interpret the ideas of the masculine.

Most recently, Steven’s studio practice have been dedicated to a series of narrative performances involving elaborate costuming bearing the image of Ernest Hemmingway amongst other things. Frost is not using the face of Hemmingway lightly, he is considering how and what this man means in relation to the idea of the masculine and his role in literature and culture. Hemmingway often wrote about things that were too big to control, things such as the wilderness or social expectation, and there lies the great likeness to Frost’s work, where societal stock of the male form, and ideas of masculinity can shift and change from one glance to the next.

Steven Frost's lecture is Tuesday, April 6 at 12:10 in Sharp 903 at 37 S. Wabash St., Chicago, IL.

Next week's lecturer will be Janet Lin (Thursday 4/15).

-David R. Harper