SEMESTER SUMMARY: The Comforting Discomfort of Art and Humor

Jan2014-Aug42014 718

I embarked into this semester by selling work from the previous semester.  My idea was to generate funds to create new work and alleviate space in the studio.  This semester the work I engaged in is heavily rooted in humor.  The idea of telling a joke using art as a platform and objects as the punchline occupied much of my time and my thoughts.  My grasp of various ideologies, methodologies and philosophies is becoming tighter.  I am able to apply it to my work, how I approach it, what that entails as well as finally begin to understand what it represents within a contemporary framework. I am more aware of what I am doing and why.  The explorative nature of the program has fostered a unique way to reintroduce me to myself and the work I do.

My advisor, Peter Rostovsky, suggested I disengage with painting and focus my energy on gag studies.  This is exactly what I did, even though I was profoundly uncomfortable about it at first.  There was an adjustment period as I began to realize that the world is the actual medium.  My focus shifted completely to humor.  I remain true to my style, subtle and overt. It is a delicate balance between learning a new technique and maintaining my own aesthetic.  I am interested in the social interaction between people and objects.  I like to push the perceived definitive of objects with comedy.  This is where my quandary was born.  The equation of objects being just objects versus objects with meaning is an idea I find intensely interesting.  I am obsessed with the joke within the object and realized that some things have a more serious conclusion that the origin of the thought, which is heavily informed by a gag. This idea, along with the help of my mentor Beth Campbell, gave me the ability to give the projects I create the patience and sensitivity they deserve while at the same time, trying to understand why humor is seen as entertainment and art is revered as sophisticated.  The two meet as various levels, however it seems there is a gap.  People want to be entertained at every level.  Those who decipher what is and is not admitted into the art world are the puppet masters that mediate what and who are exhibited.   It is important then to maintain a level of hilarity that transcends universality and becomes a connector between the sophistication and the humor.  This presents the issue of exclusivity—how to manipulate the use of exclusiveness to make the work effective and funny across the spectrum.  I conclude the semester with the conclusion the work I have embarked on is far from concluding.  Though some works are requiring more attention than the others I have completed, it is important that I balance what it is I am taking in with what I am putting out.

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