Filtering by Category: body

student work

Added on by Jourdan.
My students have been hard at work on their plaster body/form projects. I'm so proud of what they've come up with! Below are some images of their finished work. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE teaching? It's been so fun to help them along with their projects, to see them discover new formal/material/conceptual possibilities. Did I mention how proud I am?

Mahlet Asrat (front), Monica Peretta (left), and Miyah Taylor (right)

Carly Uhlman

Kaitlyn Schmieser (front), Kathi Ha (back)

Kathi Ha

Rachel Handler

Stephen Baird

Monica Peretta (front), Miyah Taylor (back)

Michael Ekong

Alejandro Valencia

assemblages on paper

Added on by Jourdan.
I'm hoping these 2.5D works might translate into some 3D (in the round) assemblages... at this point the paper is merely a ground on which the items collide. How can I better engage my surface? And if I'm not engaging it, why have one at all? These start to remind me of little critters...
polyurethane, hair, string, and pig intestines on 17" x 14" paper 
polyurethane, hair, fiberglass insulation, and pig intestines on 17" x 14" paper 
polyurethane, hair, string, and pig intestines on 17" x 14" paper 

on genetic variety and the human body

Added on by Jourdan.
I picked up this book a while back at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia (one of my most favorite places ever) and have been totally engrossed with it for the past few days. It goes into the science of how weird things happen to certain people- why some folks are born with deformities, how some oddities develop over time... and does so with such an unassuming clarity. It's like one minute you're reading a fanciful storybook about some fascinating creature and the next minute you're looking through a microscope at malformed/mutated cells/genes in attempts to determine the cause of such conditions. Perhaps it will inform my work somehow...

 I can't get Asger Carlsen's manipulated photographs out of my mind...

I spent some time yesterday watching this movie (see below)... Freaks - made in 1932. Two people mentioned it to me in one day, so I figured it was a must-see. All the characters/actors are true circus "freaks." I hate using that word in that way...


Added on by Jourdan.

I've completed my most recent endeavor - a tower of sorts. Earlier this semester, I built a similar sculpture that resulted in a charred studio and headaches for all. After much hesitation, I decided to re-build the piece (though it turned out quite different). This time I built a sturdier inner armature of steel (last time I used cardboard boxes) and eliminated the oil-based polyurethane thought to be the main culprit of the flash fire. This one is a real mash-up of textures and materials. Can you guess what all I used? 

Though it started out as more of a formal/material process driven piece, this sculpture has come to embody a lot of the concepts that have been driving my studio practice over the past few months. I've been reading some stuff by Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, and Georges Battaille - all dealing with kind of kooky psycho-sexual subject matter that could also potentially be read into my work. In this piece, there's definitely an aspect of desire... Rococo in style, cake-like in form - but the allusions to the body/flesh make it equally as yucky (pussy, oozy, etc.). So it exists somewhere in between. Desire and disgust. What interests me most is how these two distinctions don't/can't exist on their own. There's often something kind of disgusting about desire, right? Eating a cake this big would make anyone throw up on the spot. And vice versa... like squeezing a ripe and ready blemish... how something that's extremely disgusting by nature somehow elicits such an odd sense of satisfaction.

Another idea I'm thinking about in this piece is Lacan's theory of "lack" (or "manque" in French), which suggests that desire always arises out of lack.  I've not studied this material in depth, but I like where it is heading and think it's quite relevant in respect to my current body work. There are other things I could try to explain, but I think I'll stop stop here.

Materials include fiberglass insulation (pink and yellow), urethane spray foam ("great stuff"), balloons (white, clear, and pink), hot glue (of varying tones), caulk (of varying tones and textures), landscaping fabric, joint compound, string, water putty, silly string, and more!

This sculpture will spend the summer at Montpelier Art Center for their 31st Annual Invitational Sculpture Exhibition! The show opens on June 7th and will be up through mid-August. 

skin bag

Added on by Jourdan.

I need this shawl!! If only it didn't cost 900 euros! I guess I'll just have to make one for myself!

It's made out of a synthetic faux-skin material called SkinBag. This stuff is awesome! It comes in a variety of types... some made out of latex, some out of polyurethane, with wrinkles and/or veins, or without. You can buy it as a raw material or fashioned in a number of awesome/weird accessories (like the shawl pictured above). So cool!

dorota sadovska

Added on by Jourdan.
I just came across Dorota Sadovska's work this evening... and it is right up my alley! The image above is almost exactly what I've been thinking about doing recently (though rethinking it now) and the images below remind me of some of the paintings I was working on last year. I really love this lady's work... apparently she's a pretty big deal in Slovakia!

mona hatoum

Added on by Jourdan.

 In preparation for the upcoming semester, I've been poring over some art theory textbooks (I'll be TA-ing for an intro Art Theory course) hoping to familiarize myself with the material before I have to discuss it with a class full of students (all by myself). Towards the end of one of the books, I came across a page or so about Palestinian artist, Mona Hatoum. The description of one of her most well-known pieces, Corps Etranger, particularly caught my attention. The video installation consists of projections, on the floor, of the artist's various bodily orifices. With the help of a doctor, she used an endoscopic camera to trace the surface and various orifices of her body, including the lining of her digestive track. Viewers were invited to step inside of a dark built cylinder, atop of the projection. I can only image how surreal and disorienting it must have felt - like being swallowed into the scale-less abyss of fleshy membranes.

In a fantastic interview with Janine Antoni, Mona Hatoum says of her work...
I want the work in the first instance to have a strong formal presence, and through the physical experience to activate a psychological and emotional response. In a very general sense I want to create a situation where reality itself becomes a questionable point. Where one has to reassess their assumptions and their relationship to things around them. A kind of self-examination and an examination of the power structures that control us: Am I the jailed or the jailer? The oppressed or the oppressor? or both. I want the work to complicate these positions and offer an ambiguity and ambivalence rather than concrete and sure answers. An object from a distance might look like a carpet made out of lush velvet, but when you approach it you realize it’s made out of stainless steel pins which turns it into a threatening and cold object rather than an inviting one. It’s not what it promises to be. So it makes you question the solidity of the ground you walk on, which is also the basis on which your attitudes and beliefs lie.
 (read the rest of the interview HERE)

I've come across Mona Hatoum's work in various forms, but never have I looked at it together, all at once, as a body, if you will. Despite the variety of materials and forms that they take on, her sculptures and installations deal with some over-arching themes/concepts that carry over quite nicely from piece to piece. The human body and its evocations of the familiar/ambiguous, enticing/disgusting, political/social, etc. Many of these themes (as well as some strikingly similar formal investigations of such) have been creeping up in my work as well.

Here are some examples of some of her other projects...

Marrow, 1996

Grater Divide, 2002
fabricated steel

Socle du Monde, 1992–93
iron filings on magnetic fabricated steel structure

Entrails (detail), 1995
silicon rubber

"Half-recollections emerge in feelings of unease, only to be held just out of reach in any kind of firm and knowable sense."   more here

layers of something

Added on by Jourdan.
In attempts to "loosen up" (as I've been advised to do), I ventured to create these small layered pieces. They were each made in one sitting, and the materials were chosen quickly and at random (though with regard to aesthetic). I've been looking/thinking a lot about the many layers of the flesh and likening them to the layers of the earth. While one is super microscopic and zoomed in, the other is zoomed out, and neither of which are typically seen with the naked eye. I'm interested in exploring this idea of scaleless-ness and how it relates to both our bodies and our environments - what's inside of our skin, as well as what's outside of it.

Now, in attempts to loosen up some more, I plan to continue working in a similar way, but straying away from the safety and comfort that I find in the cube/rectangle...

materials include: pink and yellow fiberglass insulation, pink foam insulation, urethane foam, polyurethane, hotglue, and landscaping fabric

ashkan honarvar

Added on by Jourdan.
These beautiful collages by Ashkan Honarvar remind me a lot of Wangechi Mutu's, but I think I may like these even better. His website is organized very nicely into distinct bodies of work that are definitely worth checking out. Some are a bit, ahem, "sexier" than others (yes, I can be a bit of a prude) but they're all quite striking and lovely. I particularly enjoy how he uses layering techniques to manipulate the human flesh and create new images that are gorgeously grotesque.

 "The saying goes that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. It occurs in places you least expect. Revealing its art in the human body, but also cruelly absent in the presence of deformations and scars, Ashkan Honarvar depicts an undeniable, unavoidable beauty by accepting the darker sides of human ‘nature’. The body, torn by acts of war, exploited by the sex industry or used as a tool for seeking identity, is the focal point of his work. This constitutes a search for a universal representation of the evil latent in every human, providing an opportunity for reflection. His aesthetic dissection has an intriguing macabre nature, which opens the images to interpretation." (from his website)     

more on wim delvoye

Added on by Jourdan.
I've always had a soft spot for some good (classy) potty humor... which naturally makes me a huge fan of Belgian artist, Wim Delvoye. The more I learn of his work, the more I fall in love with this guy. He has an incredible way with the subject matter that takes the yucky/gross/ew and turns it into beautiful/gasp/giggle! I'm particularly taken by his series of "anal kisses."

 Anal Kiss A 15 (left) and A11 (right), 1999
53 x 44 cm (framed)
lipstick on hotel stationery

Aren't they great?! I would LOVE to get my hands on a copy of this book - a collection of Delvoye's earliest work, completed between the ages of 3-6. I can only image what awesomeness it might contain. This is now at the top of my Christmas list!

This puzzle too! Oh boy... gotta have this! hahaha! 

drawing (droodling)

Added on by Jourdan.
3" x 8"
ink on paper

I'm onto some new-ish things in the studio. This drawing above is the start of something. It's primarily serving as one of many studies for some larger paintings I plan to do with polyurethane and oil paint... so we'll see about that! I've been looking at a lot of photos online of skin... all kinds of photos... but the really zoomed in ones of skin layers are by far the best. I found these at 


rocks that wow

Added on by Jourdan.
I think it's time I learn some more about geology. It's more aesthetic than I ever realized.

Yesterday I spent some time with the rocks in DC's Natural History Museum. I've been to the museum twice since moving to DC, but for some reason the dinos and dead animals always seem to take precedence. My friend Julia and I ventured upstairs this time to catch a glimpse at the Hope Diamond (though I still don't know what's so great about it) and found ourselves amongst the most incredible rocks/minerals/crystals we'd ever seen. I could've spent ages in that room just ooh-ing and ahh-ing at all the gorgeous forms and colors. It's amazing to think that all these things have formed naturally over time. So outrageous. Seeing them all has given me lots to think about - especially concerning the idea of the "organic." I've always thought of rocks as being so stationary (contrary to my impression of the organic) but after seeing how they grow into such incredible forms, I can't help but consider them organisms themselves.

I saw a lot of things that reminded me of elements and materials used in my own work. For example, there's a striking resemblance between this lava rock and this "Folded Flesh" painting I did last year...