TASA Newsletter - 2013 Houston Recap

 

Paul Hanna Lectureship

At the Crossroads of Globalization and Pluralism: The 21st Century Artist

By Jerry E. Smith, Collin College

Beyond merely being a documentary of my own recent installation, I seek to present the new perception of Globalization and Pluralism. I examine my own work, as well as trends of Shepard Fairey, Brandon Bird and Gary Basemen, who all break down barriers between “high” and “low” art, commercialism, illustration, and fine art. For them, museum oil paintings exist as equals to toy figurines or self published greeting cards.

In my own work, I present both fine art and kitsch, detailed fabrication alongside “paint-by-number” style. The latter serves to accompany the view of Jerry E. Smith, Covered & Smothered: 3000 feet wood lathe, 300 Home Depot yardsticks, 50 lbs. salt and vintage pole lamp, 11X12X5 ft., 2012 Dualities exist in my own subject and content. Telephone poles become
crucifixes, painting palettes with brushes become a devil’s head, and the personal becomes the universal. The latter is often in the service of autobiographical writing. contemporary society to elevate the mundane “Jesus in my toast” images to high prized spiritual icons, while at the same time denigrating traditional techniques and imagery. “Low brow “has become “high art” and former high art is now passé, even “cheesy”.

Dualities exist in my own subject and content. Telephone poles become crucifixes, painting palettes with brushes become a devil’s head, and the personal becomes the universal. The latter is often in the service of autobiographical writing.

Jerry E. Smith, Covered & Smothered: 3000 feet wood lathe, 300 Home Depot yardsticks, 50 lbs. salt and vintage pole lamp, 11X12X5 ft., 2012

Jerry E. Smith, Covered & Smothered: 3000 feet wood lathe, 300 Home Depot
yardsticks, 50 lbs. salt and vintage pole lamp, 11X12X5 ft., 2012

 

Desired: The Norm of Imperfection

By Rosemary Meza-DesPlas, El Centro College

Female imperfections of the flesh have been typically defined as ugly. There exists a richer and more complex reading of the topography of flesh in my
artwork which embraces the imperfections and presents them to the viewer as beautiful pockets of the sublime. The ugliness/beauty of women has been
addressed in art historical terms by books such as On Ugliness edited by Umberto Eco and alluded to in contemporary exhibitions like Disparities &
Deformations: Our Grotesque curated by Robert Storr. Feminist literature such as The Good Body by Eve Ensler, Unbearable Weight by Susan Bordo and A
History of the Breast by Marilyn Yalom discuss the body as a medium of culture. In the middle ages the portrayal of the old woman conveyed physical
and moral decay yet centuries later in the Renaissance this same image expressed a melancholy view of waning beauty. In contemporary society there
is a feminine impulse to employ make-up and plastic surgery to conceal physical defects in a vain attempt to be more eye-pleasing. In creating this series
of artworks I analyzed the physical appearance of women in art history. I specifically focused on the fetishized areas, the breasts and the buttocks, of the
female figure. My research included the juxtaposition of artists spanning from the 18th century through the 21st century. Some of the forms utilized in my
artworks are re-contextualized from paintings by Francois Boucher, Gustave Courbet, Lucien Freud, Eric Fischl, Lisa Yuskavage, Jenny Saville and John
Currin. Feminine physical imperfections are elements of attraction and aversion in my artworks. I isolated the estranging details of the figure: the buttocks and
the breasts. They stand as solitary and disconnected forms. In some of the artworks their sexuality is subsumed by the analytical grid placement. The
forms of the breast and the buttock communicate to the viewer in a provocative language. They speak about sexism, ageism, eroticism and maternity.
Imperfections of the flesh can inspire genuine intrigue and provoke disquiet. They are a multilayered counter-tradition in art history.

 

Hands-on Studio Demonstration, "Making a Hardbound Book"
Barbra Riley, Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi

By Linda Fawcett, Hardin-Simmons University


Barbra Riley, master photographer and Professor of Art at Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, gave a well-attended four-hour hands-on introductory workshop about book binding for artists on Saturday during the conference. She skillfully went through a brief history of handmade book binding, recommended an excellent book for further exploration, and then led the class into a step by step process of measuring, cutting, tearing, pasting and sewing multiple pages together and finished with a hard cover. There was plenty of choice in materials (paper, cover fabric, paper) so that each participant was able to carry away their own personalized tome later that afternoon. The classroom space at St. Edward’s University was roomy, personalized attention was abundant by the tireless and patient Riley with her assistants, and everyone learned enough to carry on the craft and pass it on to others!

 

Studio Art Crossroads: The failure of the BFA and a few possible solutions

By Ryder Richards, Eastfield College

Investigating the strictures of teaching art as misaligned with the priorities of creating contemporary artists the paper proposes a clarification of intent based
upon statistics, the contemporary art world, and current art criticism. As Higher Education is submitted to increasing statistical pressure the business trend has
been towards refining the antiquated system into a rubric-based pedagogy of drawing, design, and painting. This aligns college education with new,
packaged online courses/forums taken at a fraction of the cost of a BFA. As stated by Slovoj Zizek and Boris Groys, anything traditional fails to align with
the contemporary art world: museum inclusion is the marker of success and museums are only collecting novel ways of thinking, often in the form of
alternative media or zero-sum objects. Museum dispositions in collecting from outside the norm, analyzed by Gregory Sholette, further compound failures of
success emerging from within. In a business sense of predicting outcomes we teach our students to be art educators, not successful artists. What is student
success: employment, gallery representation, persistence, or reputational status?

 

The TASA Board would like to thank Lone Star College, Kingwood and the
Conference Committee members for their support of this year’s conference.

Rebecca L. Riley, Lone Star College, Kingwood (Committee Chair)
Cory Cryer, Lone Star College, Kingwood
Jennifer Herzberg, Lee College
Rex Koontz, University of Houston
Cynthia Millis, Houston Community College Southwest
Mari Omori, Lone Star College, Kingwood
Angie Spargur, Lone Star College, Kingwood
Kelley Revuelto, Lone Star College, Kingwood
Wade Wilson, Wade Wilson Gallery