(In)Voluntary Memories – Art History 2 Gallery Write-Up #1

Last Thursday, February 23rd, I attended the premiere of (In)Voluntary Memories – an exhibition hosted by Alfred State’s Bret Llewellyn Gallery. Alysia Kaplan, its creator, attempts to explore the concept of memories and their inclined nature of becoming rewritten. When returning to her hometown of Rochester, Kaplan claims she’s felt “dislocated” with the area. It’s environment is foreign to her, and it’s triggered her to question whether or not her perception can be internally manipulated over time.

kaplan

“No matter what an image contains, we have a tendency to put ourselves in it.” – Kaplan stated this in regard to the images above, and it’s an idea I’m certain most of us can relate to. What I take away from the flowers may be different than what someone else takes away from them. Subjectivity is the prime philosophy of this exhibition; meaning derives from the audience, not the artist. And with this, we can see Kaplan’s postmodernist roots showing through. Resembling Dadaism, Kaplan provokes consumer thought, forcing her viewers to create their own interpretations.

Kaplan believes memories are a universal language and to ignore them is to deny ourselves. Sharing them to the world, we are likely to find someone else who has experienced something similar.

filmer

But just like old celluloid film however, our memories are subject to aging and disintegration. In her 16mm found footage video extracted from Visual Studies Workshop archives, Kaplan builds a story that plays on the nature of recognition. Consistencies between the worn authenticity of the film and the vintage sentimentality of memory make this sequence effective. Its documentation of personal history effectuates an interconnected sense of nostalgia, even if you hadn’t been the subject of experience.

Nostalgia – a word Kaplan has always struggled with. Often she is worried her work gets too precious, and I can see why. There were so many pieces in this exhibition that associate with the past. Black and white color schemes, film and photo scratches, themes of memory. It really can seem quite precious just thinking about it.

While her postmodernist style allowed us to speak for itself, there were several features that left me scratching my head. Kaplan conveyed an old, noir motif throughout much of the exhibition’s content. However, I feel as though a great deal of her artistic direction hadn’t quite been fully fleshed out.

How, exactly, one could empathize with several of the on-screen and on-canvas imagery without having experienced it is was left unanswered. Many connotate memories in the lens of old film – aged and desaturated. While Kaplan could easily associate the two, the presentation felt quite stereotypical and disconnected. Why must memory take this form? I don’t recall any of my real-life memories lacking color. It is this realization that weakens Kaplan’s intent.

Ultimately, the topic at hand is intriguing, just as the mind, in itself, is intriguing. Although Kaplan’s elements of design felt quite clichéd and disengaging, her conceptual presentation behind memories and their vanishing points came together with a purpose.

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“Industrial Composite” – Art Site

http://artsite-industrial.netlify.com/

This website centers itself around a very composite-heavy art style characteristic to me. Incorporating gears, wires and metal bars, this domain was constructed with several images that come together to create a harmonious interface. Navigation and color scheme is consistent among each page.

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“Color Matters: Intro To Color Theory” – Digital Foundations 2 Lecture/Workshop Write-Up

Yesterday, February 9th, I attended Ivy Stevens-Gupta’s Color Matters: Intro to Color Theory – a lecture hosted in Alfred State’s Orvis Activities Center. Overviewed was the psychological and cultural properties associated with certain colors, how those properties affect marketing and why we should even be pushed to learn about color in the first place.

ivy-stevens_gupta

Ivy Stevens-Gupta

So who is our presenter? Some background; Gupta teaches color theory, marketing and painting. She’d initially gotten a degree in business, and went on to be an advisor for The Daily Gazette. When print media had begun to die down, Gupta returned to college and earned a degree in marketing. It was in this field she took an interest in color theory and the psychology attached to it.

Color has the ability to express moods and also influence physiological statuses. It’s important to grasp the concept of hue and saturation. Colors can increase your stress or soothe your troubled mind. They can improve your vision or impair it; make you feel at home or as an unwelcome visitor. Colors and their variations of tints, shades and tones make all the difference.

Gupta lets us in on an artistic secret – color is the prime focus of art. And we can observe this, not only from ourselves, but from other cultures. Color is universally utilized as a tool to draw people in; whether it be for advertising or furbishing. In China, red symbolizes fortune. Alternatively, in South America, it is used as a hue for death and mourning. There is mutuality however; most cultures see blue as a color standing for positivity, outlining characteristics like immortality, strength and dependability.

Opposing viewpoints among each society is what collectively makes us unique. Our lifestyles, our institutions and even our brands. Advertisers use many of the color properties listed above to help sell products. Pink, representing the femininity and tenderness of the prepubescent girl, wouldn’t be such a bad choice in regard to branding a barbie doll. People are drawn to certain colors and combinations of color.

Followed by her lecture, Gupta referred her attendees to her gallery of work, located in the campus’ Hinkle Library. Here I witnessed some examples of her color experiments.

These are but a few of the color studies Gupta presented at the gallery. Her familiarity with hue is remarkable, and she manages to capture various moods and symbols all under a single composition. She’s used just about every hue in the swatch stash, and will continue producing lively pieces like these ones for the time to come.

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“Digital Media Date” – Image Browser Website

http://digitalmediadate.netlify.com/

Using Adobe Dreamweaver, I became familiar with HTML and CSS. Over the past two weeks, I began to get my feet wet in the process of encoding. This website, Digital Media Date (DMDate), is a domain that introduces Alfred State Digital Media students with others among the major. It evokes an intimate, and somewhat raunchy, feel with its hot pink and black color scheme. Ultimately, my first execution of a website has introduced me to tables, text, file affairs and other essentials. In the future, I plan on honing my craft in this field, and will continue to hone my coding craft.

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“Figuring Shit Out” – Interactive Design Lecture/Workshop Write-Up #1

Markis Lazarre
Prof. Schwartz
Interactive Design
January 28th, 2016

Last Thursday, January 26th, I visited Alfred University’s Turner Gallery which hosted Figuring Shit Out, an art exhibition produced by Hannah Alvaro and Adrianna Enoch. Its premise lies partly in the title – figuring out how two things interact to create a cohesive space. This showcase consisted entirely of oil paintings, and depicted scenes of intimacy between men and women. However, the artists chose to swap the subjects’ gender roles. In contrast to the Renaissance and Baroque historical periods, Alvaro and Enoch decided to paint men as elongated and distorted figures while portraying women in more dominant roles. This aesthetic was further achieved through obscuring the male faces in an attempt to keep them objectified.

    Above are just some of the works where we can see the implementation of these inverted roles, both labelled Untitled. Conceptually, it is in opposition with Early Modern Periods of art that stretched the feminine figure, keeping men as solid representations of strength. Whether it’s sharing the couch or taking up differing positions in the living room, couples have varying ways of expressing their intimacy. Perhaps, I should take from this and approach my work in accordance with my demographic. In graphic design, I’ll need to tailor my assignments for my clients and adapt to their wants while also utilizing my own creative intuition. As the above examples show us, inverting gender roles doesn’t need to be done in a way that is blatant – a slim man being backpacked strenuously up a steep hill by his feminine counterpart. The answer could root in something as simple, and subtle, as posture. There is always a less obvious solution and I encourage myself to make them more often. If I was designing a logo for a motor corporation per se, I may want to work through the creative process of playing with figures instead of instantly centering my icon around cars.

Reverting back to the exhibition’s theme, I must also work to “figure shit out” if you will. For this class in particular, there are a number of web-based assignments (creating an image browser, developing appealing website layouts, etc.) where I’ll need to make use of my space in a way that cleanly compensates for the amount of features the site will attribute. In the painting on the left above titled Electoral Hangover, Alvaro and Enoch conceptualize how two friends would interact with their back-alley environment if situated there. Similarly on the right, in Poppies, we see a owner-and-pet relationship where the artists once again need to sort out their ideas in regard to what they do or do not want to comprise an area. In Interactive Design, I’ll be pressed to not only progress my understanding of code, the programming.. but also to figure out what I’d like to do with the space I’m given. Should this widget be at the bottom-right or the bottom-left? Do I create a fixed sequence of images or allow my users to scroll through? Where should I place my search engine? What choices are most convenient for my users and therefore make sense? These are the questions I should be figuring out throughout the course of this course.

Adaptability and a strong sense of space are the two primary assets I’ve taken from this showcase. Just as this artistic duo of Alvaro and Enoch adapted their scenes of man-and-woman in accordance with their environment, I will need to adapt my content in accordance with my demographic. Interactions between the subjects and the furniture in the Untitleds correlate directly with the interaction online users will have with my websites. I, the producer, create the space that they, the consumer, take up. And there is no formula; the design process branches off in so many variant directions. Through thorough research of who I’m marketing to, I can make a website that fulfills the desires of that group, and through careful sketches and blueprints of how I’d like things to look, I can keep that demographic intrigued with an appealing platform.

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