My work this semester has distilled down into a series of diptychs; blurry, personal work concerning my relationship to time and identity. They draw deeply from self-work I am doing.
I’m really happy with how the series came together, artistically. I am still a little nervous about the departmental portfolio reviews, but then, I always am.
While I have orphaned yet another 365 project, it was a very fruitful undertaking. Carrying my camera all of the time, and putting myself under constant pressure to catch something every day allowed me to see some threads that continually run through what catches my attention.
I need to sit down and polish my artist and project statement. While that is always challenging, I’m finding it especially so for this series. This work is very personal, in addition to being a series of self-portraits. I’m finding the line between enough personal information to provide context and meaning and so much that it becomes didactic and droll hard to maneuver.
I’m not entirely sold on the diptych format, but I think it is the best compromise given the display constraints of the print show. Given creative control, all ten images would be printed large, and then hung in the appropriate order.
One of the things I find most interesting about this series is the pairing. I did not know that I was taking matching images, not consciously. I kept having the nagging feeling that I was missing something when I was editing and trying to select images, and it didn’t click until a class discussion where there was debate over whether to include the landscape/glass shots, or only the self portraits. I knew that the glass images were necessary, but it wasn’t until last week that it suddenly became clear why. Art is a mysterious process.
untitled, mirrors series (working), ©2015 Casey Clough
Studio is a bit of an overstatement for my dining room, a box of wine, loud music, and a sprayer full of water. Mirrors, water, blurriness, television pixelation: they seem a good symbolic language with which to start exploring identity and memory. I actually said to my class last Saturday at critique that part of my motivation for this initial series of photographs is having a dissociative disorder. I feel a little exposed about that, but it is a big part of my life, and something I am working on a lot right now. I think it’s important to work through my feelings and perceptions in my work, but the last thing I want to do is create the photographic equivalent of bad adolescent poetry. I’m sure I’ll make some of that along the way.
It feels strange to show these things for critique. Showing these is definitely taking a risk, which I haven’t been doing enough of in my work for a bit. I’ve done strange things, experimental things, gotten some weird looks and confused feedback, but none of that is taking a risk. I submitted three of them last week, and showed a few more than weren’t the strongest. Critique went fantastically; I felt really good about the direction I’m going after that. I am most pleased with the image above this post. This is a pretty quick edit; I projected the image onto my television, rephotographed them, and converted them to black-and-white. There hasn’t been any retouching or any spot development, I’ll do that if I decide its necessary as the body of work grows. I don’t want them to feel polished, really, but I want them to be right. I’m still on the lookout for some good books about digital black-and-white, I haven’t really found what I’m looking for. I’m looking into the right kind of paper on which to print these, too.
Overall, things are pretty good right now. I have two, maybe three active series in the works, critiques are going well, and I have the urge to paint murals on the walls of my house. I’ve not done anything to the house since we moved because of how stressful the move was on my relationship; I’ve been living with beige walls. I’m taking the being sick and tired of beige walls as a good sign that I’m returning to myself. Oy, the past few years have been hard. It’s so nice to be excited about having goals and direction again.
There’s a scanner in the studio from which the glass has been removed, and the lens refocused so the focal point is a bit outside where the glass was.
We did some impromptu portraits in class, and I really liked the unpredictability of the results, and how the scanner would pause from being upended, leading to streaking and distortion.
I spent a few hours Thursday afternoon last week playing with the scanner. I took some self-portraits, did some still lifes, made streaky abstract things with a green beer bottle shaped like Buddha, and played with some of Darling Physicist’s costume things. I knew I wanted to do some scans of my hands, initially covered partially with paint later, but I didn’t feel like cleaning up paint.
When I opened up what I had later, and the only images I really liked were the ones of my hands. I started playing with them, and something happened when I converted them to low-key black and white and removed all traces of the background. Something I really like.
I think this may be the seed of a series. I hope so. I’m still frightened by series.