Friday, October 10, 2008

One existential crisis at a time...

I bet some of you have been wondering what is going on up here in good old Montreal, so many posts in the past months, and now nothing from my side. Well Maria has been pushed to her limits really quickly this semester. And that in combination with everything else that happens in my life all the time has forced me to slow down, not in a physical sense.. I am running around like crazy.. But this week I have hit a wall and had to step back from it and assess the situation.

The situation is:

- I have 3 classes this semester, 2 theoretical brain twisting seminars and 1 very non-effective graduate project class... where other then presenting our work to each other in the beginning, and then final critique, really nothing much happens in between.
- I work as a Teaching Assistant 4 hours a week.
- I work as Lithography work study monitor/tech 16 hours a week.
Both jobs are happening in the print shop where I am also supposed to do work.
- I meet with my language exchange partner 1-2 times a week for 4-6 hours to learn french.
- An average of about 2 times a week I squeeze in a hang out with a friend or two, during which I am in such a haze that I doubt people are enjoying my company much these days.
- On an average I come home latest at 9pm with a gigantic headache.

So what happened to Art making time? Well good question. After working in the print shop I am so tired and fed up with the place and people that I just want to go home. Yet I am paying $4000 a semester to be here and make art... In order to pay for that tuition and living expenses I need the 2 jobs. But the jobs prevent me from being able to use the facilities (that I am paying for) uninterrupted and focused.

I am a determined, energetic, goal oriented and sufficient worker. No matter what I do I do it passionately and with all my heart. And this is the problem. Over the past month, I have put all my energy in the litho shop and how we can improve it. I've communicated non-stop with my boss and we got it rolling quite nicely to this point. Until it was made very clear a few days ago that my efforts are not valued, are in a certain way not appreciated. So there is was that wall that I plunged into and was embarrassed in front of a good amount of people. It all has to do with the inadequate political structure of my workplace. And from that day on I have decided that I do not get payed enough to put this much effort and heart into it. So I will do my job for as long as I am getting payed for it, and if that means I have to drop everything I am doing when the feeling abused. I am done trying to make it a better place. I will be out of here in a year and a half or so anyways. So honestly "FUCK IT!" I am not going to sacrifice anymore of my energy and reliability to this place. All I am going to do what EVERYONE else is doing, fulfill the minimum job description with the least amount of energy consumed and that is it.

So, sorry about this little rant. But it had to be said.

I had a great conversation with a visiting artist today, Kiki was her first name but I honestly can't recall her last name right now. She received her MFA at UQAM, I believe or was it York University.. hm well either way very impressive little presentation and after she was so kind to visit me in my studio. Things she pointed out about my current state of being are:
1. I am in a very uncomfortable place artistically. But for my own sake right now that is a really good place to be in.
2. There is something claustrophobic going on in my work.
3. visceral biology
4. the reason my print groupings down communicate well with each other is because they are too perfectly, technically finished. There is no space for them to breathe into each other, they are too separate.
5. The parts in my big collage/painting piece that I see as unsuccessful communicate the most.
6. There is a confusion present.
7. The open ended line drawings have more energy.

Things I gained from her presentation:
1. I understand that need to write and communicate ones ideas through writing to help shape them and clarify them. I don't do that enough, and I never have enough time for it. But I think time needs to be made for it esp. at this point in my practice. I am so confused, and I know as always writing will help me out of that confusion.
2. There are a whole lot of books that are art related and philosophy related and related to good writing that I really need to sit down and read. Simply also to help me articulate what I am doing, and why.
3. Declarative sentences should be the essence of your artist statement. Claim what you do by saying "I explore, I do... I make...." Blar. Short sentences. No passive tone!


Within the past week I researched about 7 different events/galleries and calls for submission to which I will sent packages. So there is lots of work that needs to be done in that department. Now that I have a semi decent artist statement for the work that I want to exhibit right now, and semi decent photos of the work, I am in a good place to get it all ready on time and sent out.

That said, I have been collecting rejections from the places and competitions I recently applied for. I think Fiona and I developed a really good attitude towards rejections already when we went to Hartford Art School. Each will bring you closer to getting accepted. So that is how I see it. And for that reason I have a nice little binder in my files where I file away all that information, incl. the rejection letters.

So I think that was enough randomness for now.
Last night I went to the Montreal Botanical Gardens where they is a Chinese lantern "exhibition" at the moment. It was a very worth while event to witness. My camera's batteries gave up on me after the first 15 minutes so I don't have photos of the totally breathtaking main site. But I can give you all a little sample of what I saw.


Anonymous said...

Huh! You still have air left?
Love you...

wee-fi said...

It's tough to take a stand back and look at things for what they are. Good summary lol Bravo!

Maria Doering said...

thanks ;). needed that.

Anonymous said...

remember to breathe.

Maria Doering said...

yeah I am working on it.