Sunday, May 27, 2007
In late April, I had the opportunity to see Sharon Lockhart's film "Pine Flat" (2005) at UWM and never had the opportunity to write about it at that time. The film continues to stick with me, because of the questions is raises about how to depict the relationship between people and the natural world in contemporary art. The landscape in "Pine Flat" has all of the enormity and romanticism of Asher Durand's "Kindred Spirits" (1849) and the figures are positioned similarly. The young teens, often alone, in the woods are engulfed by their surroundings. However, unlike WIlliam Cullen Bryant and Thomas Cole depicted in "Kindred Spirits," the youths in Lockhart's film appear distracted--picking at the grass, reading a book, pushing each other off a swing. The landscape is not the focus of their attention. As a result, it becomes a backdrop for the individuals whose smallest gestures seem to send ripples through the space around them. This effect is magnified by the duration of each shot (10 Minutes) and the patience, focus and commitment of the viewer to the individual in the image. Watching "Pine Flat" was like watching a painting.
Posted by RGolden at 6:45 AM
Sunday, May 06, 2007
This weekend I went to a conference at the Center for 21st Century Studies, where two critics/historians discussed the idea of the blank page and the blank screen as a reoccurring symbol of femininity in the work Man Ray and Andy Warhol. The feminine as a surface to be inscribed. The feminine as a blank space onto which we can project meaning. Both authors described their theories on these works as a purposeful step away from the dialectics of language and psycholanalytic theory that position female as absent and male as present. It was difficult position for both to defend, but it was exciting for the audience to even think of the possibility of moving on from this dualism. However, can this be done without a serious memory lapse? Do we risk forgeting that these dualities are the building blocks of langauge? What if this form of language is still in practice? Or perhaps we should froget Lacan immediately, he has done enough damage and it is time for another direction(s).
I wonder if this doesn't also apply to the landscape? Can we think of space/place as something aside from a blank space to be inscribed/developed? These signs have been up outside my house for months now. The city covered over the "No parking" signs on our street because neighbors compained after being ticketed for parking more than two hours in front of their own houses. I often thought about what I could draw, pin, tape or paint over these surfaces. As the months dragged on I realized that these "blank signs" meant to cover over existing information were anything but blank.
Posted by RGolden at 8:31 PM