When I first started the MFA programme at Whitecliffe here in Auckland, one of the first thing we do as a new student is to present our work. While this may seem like a fairly mundane sort of affair, I can assure you it is not. There is a particular sense of dread when you are in a room of students that have a year of MFA studies under their belts and also faculty that are looking to see if you are a suitable fit to be under their supervision.
Just last week, the new 2013 cohort had to go through the same process and I believe they did an amazing job at being relaxed, composed and they showed some truly amazing works. I think that the diversity of the works and backgrounds will be extremely helpful in pushing my cohort and myself in a positive manner.
I felt that my original works were a bit weak, but I am glad that I was accepted into the programme and that the part 3 students were so supportive of our works and of us. Below are the works that I showed by way of introduction.
I showed some digital sculpts I had created using ZBrush, a physical sculpt using a terra-cotta clay and a collage that I created using make-up ads in magazines.
The terra-cotta sculpture above is a very small maquette of a Korean singer that became addicted to plastic surgery. She became so obsessed that the doctors refused her any more surgery. She decided that she could not go without the surgery so she injected her face with cooking oil. Here is a link to the actual image. http://i38.tinypic.com/34qmlu9.jpg
I also showed some work that I completed while working on Microsoft Train Simulator 2, to show the detail and complexity of the 3D locomotives. Overall I think the works were well received, however I think my theory was fairly weak. I had it in my mind that I wanted to move away from digital works to do physical artefacts that I could display elsewhere after the MFA was completed. To put the last image in context, the collage of rusted cars was made out of magazine make-up ads like L’oreal and Revlon, which use slick photography and expensive paper stock. In my mind, the use of these ads to make rusted old cars was meant to subvert the idea of what beauty is and to examine the emphasis on external appearance. I was gently warned that this might be a political minefield which I should tread lightly and that my footing in the subject, without proper research, would be at my own peril.
I did stick with the ideal of beauty and the uncanny as I moved on from the first seminar. There are four seminars a year which happens roughly every quarter and lasts for 6 days. I will post the research into the uncanny and the artists that were inspiring me at the beginning. These posts will be under research and the bibliography will be updated with links and citations, which will be using the APA (American Psychological Association) citation guide for all citations.
I was blogging (I find it rather amusing that WordPress has a built in spell checker that thinks the words blogging and WordPress are misspelled) previously on my personal work site. There is a need to keep personal items from an academic tool that will help measure our progress. In my case, the blog will replace the dissertation that was originally meant to be the final written portion of our programme, which accounts for twenty percent of our grades.
I am thankful that this opportunity to write in a more conversational and less structured manner has come along. In no way will that impinge on the rigour of what I am trying to accomplish, but I found that since my art practice was fairly fluid, it was difficult to frame my research questions in such as way as to focus my essays to be meaningful both for my edification and to satisfy the academic output that is expected at Whitecliffe.