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Semester Summary.6.1.11.Yergens

Semester Summary.6.1.11.Yergens

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Published by: Molly Yergens on Jul 16, 2011
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Yergens 1Molly YergensLaurel SparksAIB MFA Semester 11 June 2011Semester Summary
Mentor Meetings
January 23. Coffee at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Tim Tozer and I discussed my Residency Summary and talked about my goals forthe upcoming semester. I was pleased that he seemed very open about sharingdetails about his creative process and had some good suggestions aboutgenerating imagery.
Tim told me about how he appropriates color schemes directly from other artists’
paintings, applying various Morandi color palettes to his landscape-based work.This piece of advice reminded me of the
artist’s role as image collector and the
necessity to b
orrow and collect imagery and ideas. Tim encouraged me to “steal”
and afterwards, I wandered through the museum and took photographs of bits of paintings that interested me in terms of color.
One of my goals for the semester was to work on how I use reference material. Icould be less literal in the way I convert photographic imagery into paintings.
Tim’s response was: “Draw and Chop”
. Make collages and drawings. Cut theminto bits and reassemble them. Work intuitively and playfully produce in volume.In retrospect, I could have done more of this, but it proved to be challenging tobounce back and forth between collage, painting and drawing whilesimultaneously trying to resolve paintings that I had already started.2.
February 20. Studio Visit
I started
the semester by building 16, 21” x 23” panels with the intention of 
creating a cinematic two-dimensional experience by arranging a series of paintings side by side to suggest narrative structure. Initially, this approachseemed like it might be an effective method of describing a temporal experienceof space and place. In retrospect, I think it is more effective to adopt a more cubist
Yergens 2approach to representing wandering, rather than through a storyboard-like seriesof static, scenic pictures.
The first painting I made this semester was an attempt to suggest a visualnarrative. Each panel presents a peculiar circumstance from a different viewpoint.The series proved largely unsuccessful. Conceptually it was heavy handed and leftvery little to the imagination. I am still interested in the process of creatingmythologies, but I am curious as to how I might do so without being overlyillustrative.
Tim seemed to fancy the series of color study collages that I made from magazineclippings. The color schemes were pleasing and quite different from the directionI tend to take in paint. The collages were, at the same time, compositionallysuccessful, even though I was not consciously considering subject matter as Iassembled the clippings. He suggested that I make a painting, working somewhatdirectly from one of the more interesting color schemes collages. The process of creating the collage became both a starting point for a painting and a method todepart from old habits in terms of how I use color.
After spending some time researching traditional Chinese landscape painting, Ichose a place near my home (Caron Park in Rice County, MN) and collected
images of its stream’s small waterfalls.
I drew directly onto the images, using ink and paint to eliminate certain details and accentuate other elements. I collaged thedrawings together in a vertical composition similar to that of a Chinese hangingscroll. I found the process to be an interesting method of generating imagery forrepresenting landscape from multiple perspectives. In Chinese painting this twodimensional representation of a temporal experience is
called “the angle of totality” or “floating perspective.”
We discussed the notion of using both a large brush and a small brush in the samepainting in an effort to achieve another layer of contrast within the work. Thegestural effects of a large brush provide expressive energy and the small brushwork offers interesting intimacy.
Tim suggested that I make a drawing of one of my paintings as a means togenerate fresh ideas for the piece before committing to altering it drastically. Ihave found that over the course of the semester, I have become bolder in myapproach; more comfortable with taking risks and making big changes.
Yergens 3
I had produced a three panel piece, a two panel piece and several single panelpieces. Tim challenged me to combine four of my almost square panels and work larger.
Tim is an advocate of identifying habits that you find yourself relying onfrequently (for example: using a lot of one particular color or mark) and removingthat thing from your work for a while. This challenges the painter to keep thework fresh and interesting. I think this is a difficult thing to do, simply because itis uncomfortable.
Tim seems to be encouraging me to depart from pictorial representation. Paintingsthat recall landscape but are not overly illusionistic are still about space, but thespatial relationships do not have to make total sense.3.
March 25. Studio Visit
Tim thinks that my work is “
Crying out for scale
How might outdoor observational painting inform/interact with studio painting? Iset out to be more imaginative and inventive and in the process of doing so amreminded of the need to reconnect with actual space and place. I struggle to findbalance in this way and wonder how I might develop a process of documentingperceptual experience that is not overly tedious and methodical but meaningfulenough to avoid feeling like I am making arbitrary moves.
Tim and I discussed the modular quality of the work. Paintings composed of morethan one panel allow for unexpected juxtapositions and a square format makes itpossible to rotate individual panels while working, a method that keeps thingsfresh and exciting.
One of the most interesting experiments from the semester has been the task of trying to unify two unrelated paintings; watching them transform and attemptingto let the work evolve without being too premeditated.
In the painting of the tall trees and the fantastical clouds woven through tree tops,Tim said that he would like to see the forest extend westward (to the left). I likethe flexibility and challenges that working on multiple panels brings. I cancontinue building a piece outward until I am satisfied with the world that I havecreated.

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