June 16, 2014 § Leave a comment
While most Alabamians are out enjoying this gorgeous weather, I’m stuck in bed sick and worrying about being shot. I grew up in the age of Columbine, so school shootings are something I’ve thought a lot about, using that slaughter to mark the end of my childhood as I realized I could die anywhere, anytime. This is always present in my mind in some way, though I usually picture it as a random situation rather than being hunted down.
In the wake of the recent Santa Barbara school shooting, I’ve been thinking more carefully about my own risk. The shooter’s vocalizations and writings about his terrifyingly misogynistic views towards women have stuck a special cord with me, leading me to reevaluate my own safety here in Birmingham.
As some of you know, I was stalked and harassed by a young man over a period of four years. I felt reasonably safe for most of that time because I didn’t live in Alabama, but when I moved back to Birmingham, my concerns rose to such an extent as to have the police investigate whether said stalker had a gun license or permit. After seeing him in my neighborhood, I was relieved to move out to Texas where I could hide in anonymity. But now I’m back in town again, and he’s seen me here. So with that in mind already, plus the rantings and ravings of a lunatic rejected by women in Santa Barbara, I once again feel my own vulnerability. I hesitate every time I leave my house when I know I’m entering into the public sphere where I have no protection against lunatics with weapons who view me as theirs despite my constant, clear rejection.
So what do I do? What can I do? I’ve been looking into taking some self-defense classes (which are LONG overdue), purchasing a tazer, and even buying a gun of all things (yes, I can shoot. I’m from Alabama, after all.) but really, none of that will protect me from someone who wants to shoot me. The self-defense and tazer aren’t bad ideas though because I do reject guys at bars firmly and without wimpy excuses. I simply say “I’m not interested.” with my most serious, intense look which I think is far more feminist a thing to say than “I have a boyfriend.” It’s certainly better than letting a guy buy me a drink and follow me around the rest of the night. Unfortunately, men don’t like rejection and far more insecure men don’t like a woman being blunt and to-the-point when she rejects them, so I have feared for my safety a few times in retrospect, after I’ve safely made it home but am reflecting on my absurd walk alone to the car.
Despite the steps we take to protect ourselves, we are always vulnerable. As a woman, I will always be a target, always a victim. I wonder sometimes if being bold and blunt and a feminist (and occasionally a smartass) will result in my demise at the hand of a man who felt disrespected, embarrassed, or rejected. I suppose everything we do has a price.
June 7, 2014 § 3 Comments
Okay, so I overreacted and was a ridiculous girl like the ones I can’t stand. We all have our moments. Moving forward.
Here’s my review of the Leslie Wayne:
My Thoughts on Leslie Wayne: http://www.lesliewaynestudio.com/
Last night, I attended a lecture and opening reception for Leslie Wayne’s exhibition “Mind the Gap” at UAB’s AEIVA, a brand new space created with three galleries, an intimate (and in my opinion, too small) lecture hall, state-of-the-art classrooms, and offices for the Department of Art and Art History faculty. While the lecture itself wasn’t terribly informative, I enjoyed hearing the artist speak “on the fly” about her work as she flashed through images of paintings over the last 30 years of her career. Pictures speak 1,000 words anyway, don’t they? I for one was thrilled by the chance to see so much of her work, though she only let us savor the slides for a few seconds each.
Wayne is one an artist who I judged far too quickly, completely misunderstanding the substance of her work and assuming I knew what her paintings were without going in for a closer examination. Her works constantly bridge the gap between paintings and sculpture, tricking the eye into thinking paint is some other material while forcing the viewer to see paintings for what they are: PAINT. So often the viewer is tricked into seeing not the paint in front of them, but the illusion the artist has created. Some artists use impasto, of course, to reveal the painted surface and disrupt the illusion of the image, but Wayne pushes past this, creating no illusion, offering the viewer only paint to consume.
As always, the downside of seeing slides or photographs of artwork is that the viewer is robbed of a sense of scale, wrongly assuming dimensions based on some kind of inner intuition about how large or small a piece should be depending on the amount of detail in it. Perhaps it was wishful thinking for me to assume these works were large, 32×42” or bigger, but the reality is in some ways better. Her paintings are quite small in size with most of the works in the exhibition coming in around 12×18”. She does have some later series with far larger works but alas, they were not in the show at UAB so I can only dream of dazzling they must be when seen in person.
The small size of these works is a benefit, despite my desire that they be far larger. Were a viewer to take them off the wall and hold them (which I obviously cannot stress enough that you NOT do that), they would fit comfortably within his or her arms. The effect is striking, forcing viewers to really get close to the works, encouraging an intimate experience visually for once must properly examine them from less than a foot away. More importantly, in my opinion, this close proximity enhances the sculptural nature of the paintings, drawing a correlation between the art objects and our human bodies, impressing on the viewer that these paintings are alive in some way, animate, *breathing*. The impulse to touch them is so strong that each painting is guarded by a sign that reads “DO NOT TOUCH,” underscoring how tempting their soft wrinkles, bulges, and crevices are to the tactile sense of a human being.
We want to caress them, pinch them, hold them, but they’re not solid sculptures that could sustain that intrusion; instead they are merely and completely paint, delicate and fragile as the oils continue to dry over a period of years. Unvarnished, they reveal the true texture of the paint, retaining the glossy areas where the linseed oil has not yet dried and the cracks where the paint has dried and split from the stress of holding itself together. I assume they are rather weighty objects despite their small size, the layers upon layers upon layers of oil paint, stripped away, twisted, and molded into three-dimensional sculptural forms no doubt requires a certain amount of strength to move. She is an artist who plays with the physical nature of painting, the act of destruction and creation, paint as sculpture/sculpture as paint, and the differences between size and scale. She is an artist who works almost solely within a process-oriented studio practice, though she constantly evaluates the intellectual component of her paintings, their relationship with the earth and landscapes, and their dialogue within the contemporary art world.
In short, I recommend you see this exhibition. Try your hardest not to touch the paintings, though lord knows the temptation is as strong as the apple was for Adam (technically, it was a pear but apple is more in line with the current Christian tradition and the alliteration is pleasing).
June 6, 2014 § 3 Comments
I jinxed it. he was too good to be true and I’m way too fucked up for anyone to commit to. who cares, it’s friday.
June 5, 2014 § Leave a comment
This is going to be a quick post because I’ve got an asston of shit to do today.
1. I’ve gone on two dates now with the most AMAZING guy. I really think we’re a great fit because he’s incredibly talented, intellectual, active, and independent. He owns his own house, has multiple projects going all at once (he’s a freelance writer for the newspaper, in a successful Birminghamfamous band, and works full-time as an electrician), is an animal lover with a passion for shelter pets, is relationship-oriented and a gentleman, cooks for himself, AND…
wait for it
wait for it
HE’S MY AGE.
I mean, honestly, it’s some kind of crazy cosmic shit that I would not only enjoy the company of someone my own age but be interested in a serious relationship with someone my own age. I’m trying to play it cool with him (plus I have a lot of my own shit going on to distract me) but I’m super excited to see where this goes.
2. I’m actually starting to run out of things to volunteer for and have been turned down a couple times for events because they already have enough volunteers. I need to start planning ahead more to make sure I keep my schedule full.
3. I’m teaching a two week summer camp for children at Space One Eleven, a local gallery and art center that I adore. Camp starts on Monday but I just found out yesterday that nothing has been planned for it so I have to frantically put together the projects, materials list, and equipment setup for the camp by Friday. Eek!
4. I helped (more like forced) Dad clean up his woodworking shop because I’ve got a number of projects lined up. He’s going to be gone for most of the summer starting today, so he said I can rearrange the shop however I’d like since I’m the only one using it. But since he’s gone (and will be on the Appalachian Trail for about two months), I’m pretty much on my own to put my projects together. I likely won’t even be able to get in touch with him if I hit a major problem or issue with the wood or power tools. That’s okay though, I’m used to being on my own. And since mom will be with him (bless her heart!) she won’t be able to hover around and worry that I’m going to chop a finger off, haha. Aw, bless her.
Things I’m working on:
– Finishing up an ottoman I’m rehabbing. Picked it up on the side of the road, it smelled TERRIBLY of cat pee so I ended up taking the whole thing apart and saving only the frame and feet. No biggie — Dad and I made a top for it so I just need to put on all the padding, screw the top onto the frame, and upholster it! it’s as good as done.
– Making a floor-to-ceiling slat shelf for my shoes from old pallets. There are three pallets in the parental’s yard already, so I need to take a good look at those and see what can be salvaged, take them apart, and put the boards in a dry, sunny spot so they can dry out enough for me to work with them (some of them have been sitting in the grass for a while). If they aren’t enough, I might just mix and match with old scraps of wood and 2x4s. should be a very easy operation, though. Shouldn’t take more than a day to put the thing together.
– My biggest project is building a new 3’x6′ dining table. Dad is (rightfully so) insisting I use a Stickley design (Dad’s favorite woodworker, a famous American carpenter in the late nineteenth, early twentieth century who perfected the Mission style within the Arts and Crafts movement) which is fine, but it’s more complicated than simple glue and hammer shit together. Lots of carefully-made joints and well-balanced designs. I want to adapt his dining table design to be a bit more elegant than the rustic, masculine effect of his work, but that shouldn’t be too hard since Dad has every tool I could possibly need. I was reading yesterday about how Stickley cut curves in his boards and it’s as simple as drawing the design well and using a bandsaw. Easy peasy! Plus I think I can use the band saw for most of the tenon pieces and Dad’s square drill press for the mortices. I’m going to distress the crap out of the top boards which should be fun! And should look great once everything is assembled and stained. I’m super excited about this project but getting all the boards might be a challenge since Dad wants me to use white oak (which Lowe’s and Home Depot don’t carry). Better to do it right, though.
So that’s pretty much what I’ve got going on! I’m trying to clean my apartment this morning but so far it’s going reallllllllly slowly. It was just so clean too! Funny how that happens. Le sigh. Back to the grind! Hope you all are having a fantastic week!