Glenn Ligon

January 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

Ligon is a conceptual artist who is known for his large-scale paintings.  In his series How it Feels to Be Colored Me, he uses texts about his identity as an African-American man laying them on top of one another until they blurred into ambiguity. In another series, Ligon created a set of posters advertising himself and his friends as escaped slaves. His work serves as a critique on racism, in an America that seems to consider itself beyond racial divides.

Prompt #2

January 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Fiction – Extended Caption

1. Write down ten names of people or animals (2min)

2. Write ten names of places (2min)

3. Describe an interior space in short fragments such as: (5min)

  • sun streamed through the blinds,
  • a purple stain on the carpet
  • a white lace shawl draped over a velvet couch
  • the blue hue of daylight

Try to notice small details: what is on the coffee table? How is it lit? etc.

4. Now take one item from each of those lists and write a sentence.  (5min)

5. Make as many individual sentences as you can, only using the information from your lists. (5min)

6. Look over those sentences and choose two that you think belong to the same story. Link the two sentences, don’t feel you need to be literal, or write away the gap. Perhaps the way you link them is through repetition or a name or by widening the space between. (10min)

7.  Now, if those sentences that you’ve just written were a film, what would the plot summery be? What genre: Thriller, Comedy, Romantic, Epic, Noir or some combination of genre? What is the back-story: Boy meets girl; femme fatal comes to a bad end; investigation; deception; resolution? (10min)

8. Choose either 6 (sentences) or 7 (plot summary), expand and edit.

Mel Bochner

January 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

An American conceptual artist Mel Brochner uses language to undermine the concrete nature of both language and art.

Eleanor Heartney wrote:

In Bochner’s work, perception constantly trumps idea, reaffirming the artist’s belief that the sensuous is an essential element in even the most conceptual art.

Tracey Emin

January 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Tracey Emin is known for her notoriously candid drawings revealing some of her deepest personal reflections on her relationships.  Often graphically sexual, her work is filled with witty autobiographical comments. Additionally, Emin has completed a series of neon phrases; some lengthly and thoughtful while others delve into intimacy in just a few words.

For more on: Tracy Emin

A Prompt to Consider #1

January 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

Take a book off the shelf and write down the opening line. Then substitute as many words as possible with your own words, keeping the syntax and parts of speech intact. Then keep writing. Performing this kind of literary “Mad Lib” often creates a useful starting place for a story, especially when the sentence contains an intersection of character, setting, and situation. Or try using these opening lines, from Faulkner, García Márquez, and Plath, respectively:

Through the [concrete noun], between the [adjective] [concrete noun], I could see them [verb ending in “ing”].

It was inevitable: the scent of [adjective] [plural noun] always reminded him of the [noun] of [adjective] [noun].

It was a [adjective], [adjective] [season], the [same season] they [transitive verb, past tense] the [family name, plural], and I didn’t know what I was doing in [city]

From Poets&Writers Magazine

On Kawara

January 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

On Kawara compulsively executes pieces often made entirely from the written word via postcards (I Am Still Alive series, above and I Got Up At, below top), lists (One Million Years, below bottom) and his most well-known series, his Date Paintings.  Kawara has pursued many of these obsessive task-works simultaneously, bombarding the world daily with small details about his life, yet His meticulously detailed record keeping has included keeping track of each person he saw in a day and the number of days into his lifetime a work was completed.  Highly secretive, with few details beyond the mundane texts he provides, Kawara explores a place of both constant observation and interaction while remaining largely out of touch with contemporary society.

Lesley Dill

January 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Lesley Dill investigates the power of words in our imaginations and spiritual experiences.  Drawing on the works of writers such as Emily Dickinson and Franz Kafka, Dill encourages us to consider the sublime in literature by experiencing it through her visual manifestations and explorations.  The true magic of Dill’s pieces are their ability to bring us into a space constructed within the literature she so adores.  Here, the viewer is free to explore the emotional story she creates and her commentary on the human condition striving for enlightenment.  She works in sculpture, installation and in prints and drawing; sometimes including phrases of text and sometimes relying on the handcrafted rawness of her creations alone.

See more of Dill’s work here.

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