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Journal: November 20 2020

(I have been working on this project for a little while now but I’m just getting around to starting the journal for it. I figured it helped so much with my last project that I might as well do it again.)

An introduction: for the concept of “dishonesty” I intend to manipulate an issue of the New York Times. I have a few to choose from. One is from March of 2020 but it is badly sun damaged. I have more current one from just after the reveal of the election results. I think that is the one I plan to use just because it is in better condition.

Formally, my plan is to take the second half of the paper and cut out words and images. Then I plan to paste those pieces into the first half of the paper, altering the stories, headlines, images, and advertisements. The reason for using one half as source material and the other as a base is so I don’t end up with an entire newspaper full of holes. I want it to appear at first like it could be an average newspaper.

 I’m going to try and keep this as neat as possible so I plan to get a small plastic organizer that I can separate the cut-out words into. I will sort them by size and part of speech. Sort of reminds me of Mad Libs, I’m definitely leaning into that style of humorous approach.

Senior Exhibition

Photos of my thesis project. Untitled (Unsaid, Unsettled III) at Urban Arts Space. Today was the last day of the live show. Thankfully I got to take my mother and my sister to go see it in person. Tomorrow at 5pm is the virtual reception. I’m a bit nervous but it’s only one minute of speaking, I’ll be fine. Fingers crossed for a strong internet connection, and that I’m not all swollen after my 10 am dentist appointment.

It was quite an experience to break mirror in a gallery. A lot more echo than the previous iterations. Kaisa and Jeremy both came over to see how it was going. That was the first time anyone has watched me break the mirror. I felt kind of vulnerable.

Journal: November 3 2020

Untitled (Unsaid, Unsettled Iteration II) collected rocks, mirror, wood, epoxy, permanent marker. 2020.

Gallery Statement:

Have you ever looked at your reflection and been overcome by the surreal fact of your existence? The circumstances that lead to and shape one’s life begin to feel absurdly improbable. 

American physicist Richard Feynman describes the experience of seeing one’s reflection as a psychological condition, “ordinarily when we think of the image we think of it as another person. We think of the normal way that a person would get into that condition over there… A person gets to look like he looks in the mirror by walking around and facing you.” 

Untitled (Unsaid, Unsettled) is an on-going project that explores the artists’ ability to shift her identity through narrative agency. By walking around places of personal significance with a mirror in hand, she develops new perspectives of her past. Rocks collected from each place are then dropped onto the mirror. The ego is shattered and she is untethered from her preconceived notion of self.

Untitled (Unsaid, Unsettled Iteration III) is a work in progress for my BFA senior exhibition. Installation is this Friday (11/6/2020). The piece will be as tall as I am (66″) and composed of 3 tiers. The sides of the steel triangles are roughly ~18″ each. The center tier is 33″ off the ground. The triangles will not be placed as they are in the images. Instead they will be in line with the steel frame. Today I finished the steel frame by adding flanges to the side to hold the glass which will then be the platform for rocks and mirrors. The mirrors will be facing each other like in the images, creating an infinite mirror tunnel. I also cut the 2 glass triangles that will be contained in the center and top tiers. I used thin sheets of glass, typically used for picture frames. I want to sandblast a design or some text from my previous journal entries onto the mirrors. The first trial didn’t go so well, which isn’t surprising. Tomorrow I will try again and if the razist transparencies don’t work I will probably try vinyl stencils.

Journal: September 23 2020

September 23:

Today I went on two walks, bringing the total up to 10. I chose east Hudson street and Sherman Studio Art Center. 

East Hudson street is in Clintonville, just north of the Ohio State campus. I lived at 213 from August 2018 to July 2020. It was my first time really leaving home. Not like leaving to live in a dorm, like take everything you own because your little sister is moving into your old bedroom. I feel like this is where I truly entered adulthood. It is where I started paying my own bills, where I turned 21, where I learned how to parallel park, and where I mourned a loved one for the first time. As I traveled the familiar landscape I remembered all the summer sunsets I walked under, all the rain and snow I watched come down outside my living room window, the shouts of school children during the daytime, the shouts of wanderers at night, the chants of protesters passing by my front door, police sirens and tire screeches. When I sent in my application, I was in love. When I moved in 9 months later I was trying to figure out how to profess that love. When I moved out I was trying to move on. It was at 213 east Hudson street that I learned the importance of honesty. If you love someone, you must tell them. All consequences be damned. Not having lived with my heart on my sleeve is my greatest regret. 

Sherman Studio Art Center is on the west side of Ohio State campus. I still remember the first time I entered this place. The air was thick with the smell of heat and sawdust. It was August 2017 and the first day of beginning sculpture 1. I was in love but I didn’t know it yet. I was planning to become a ceramicist. I was content. It only took one semester for this place to change my life. I had always considered myself a sculptural ceramicist, in other words I wasn’t fond of making pottery. Joining the sculpture department gave me the freedom to create anything I could imagine, which was both inspiring and frightening. The unknown is always unsettling. I chose to be an artist because I thought it was in my comfort zone. Sculpture showed me that my comfort zone is not the space for creating my best work. It made me reconsider who I thought I was, and who I wanted to be. This is why I chose it as my final walking location. Sherman is the place where I became untethered from who I thought I was, and began the endless journey of self discovery. 

After the walks I took 10 rocks to Sherman and set up to destroy a mirror. The mirror I chose was a shard from Mirror Cave, a piece I made almost 2 years ago. This shard came from a sheet that was destroyed, I assume by accident. I foolishly left it outside one night when dropping off more materials. I’m guessing it was hit by a car in the loading zone. It was devastating when I found it broken. That is specifically why I chose it, I wanted to bring purpose to the damage. I set the mirror on a large sheet of paper and brought my basket of rocks up to the top of a ladder. As I picked up each rock I thought about the place and the memories and everything that was trapping me in the past. I breathed out all of the pain, regret, guilt, insecurity, attachment to things gone and things that never will be. I let go of the rock and all of the perceptions I held so tightly. When the rock hit the mirror I expected instant relief, but I was reminded that it is a continuous process. If it were as easy as letting go of a rock, I wouldn’t hold these emotions. The first step is becoming familiar with the rock, being able to identify it when it weighs down my psyche. Then comes the letting go which requires patience and practice. Eventually I will have power over my narrative the same way I have power over the fragile mirror.

Journal: September 21 2020

September 21: 

Community season 6 episode 10. Abed on the meaning of the Giant Hand: “But the time we spend in control of our world is the time we spend letting go of others… grip one for too long and you lose so much you never knew you held.”

Journal: September 20 2020

September 20:

Today I walked at Maple Grove Cemetery, The River, and Licking Memorial Hospital.

Maple Grove Cemetery is located in Granville, Ohio. Granville is where I spent the first 6 years of my life. My maternal grandmother, Carolyn, spent some of her youth in this town, and returned decades later. There is a house adjacent to this cemetery. I went to a party there when I was 15. A party I never should have attended. It led to the most harmful relationship of my life (we will call him T), but it also led to one of my longest friendships. This is the hardest part of my past to reconcile. How do I forgive the person who exploited me? Have they drastically warped my perception of love? Does the good of finding someone so important to me negate all of the suffering?

The River is actually a small sandbank on a bend in Racoon Creek. It is hidden down a wooded path behind an apartment complex. The first time I went there was with T. An isolated place to swim and have a beer by the fire. I started taking my friends there. It became our special place. We spent many long summer days in that dirty creek, listening to music and laughing. At night we would start a fire and skinny dip. It was our teenage utopia. We knew that every moment here would become a significant memory.

Licking Memorial Hospital is where I was born. As well as my older brother and my younger sister. It is right down the street from where we all grew up. It is where Carolyn fought so many close calls with death and eventually passed peacefully. Each time I see it I think about how close I am to where I started, and how much farther I still have to go.

Journal: September 15 2020

A few days ago I sketched a diagram for a sculptural configuration of rocks and mirrors. It is a series of 3 platforms. Two of them are connected. One of the two connected platforms is holding the rocks, this weight allows the platform that holds a mirror to hang suspended. Directly below the suspended mirror platform will be a platform containing a configuration of broken mirror shards. The space between each mirror platform will be exactly my height. I aim to create a tension between the rocks, the sheet of mirror, and the shards of mirror. There is a tension between my memories and who I thought I was. The resolution of this tension is the reconstructed identity. This piece will probably end up being used for my senior exhibition. There are a few questions that I am still trying to answer. What connects who I was born to be with who I thought I was? Is it a found object, a symbolic form? What is the foundation that holds each identity? Is it always the same? Is it opaque or transparent? What shape or shapes does the foundation take? 

Today I went to another location. The World’s Largest Basket is exactly that. It is a 7(?) story office building shaped like a picnic basket. It was the headquarters for the Longaberger Basket Company. I used to come here with my best friend. It was a sanctuary for her. In the shadow of those huge basket handles she felt comfort during some very dark times. It helped her to love where she was. It inspired her. I love her so I grew to love the basket. Most of all I love the memories created at this iconic landmark, even though they were during some difficult times. There has been a revival of love for this building that people once said would be torn down. I firmly believe that this new interest in the basket is in large part because my best friend shared her unabashed love for it with everyone she met. It reminds me of her strength and love.

Journal: September 9 2020

I refined my project idea so I had to begin again. I walked 4 locations and collected a rock at each one. In chronological order: the park near where I grew up, the train tracks between the park and my once-home, the street and backyard of said home, and the Newark Earthworks. The significance of each location is different. 

The park is where I would go to be unsupervised as a child, leading to questionable decisions in my teen years.

The train tracks are the division between home and the park. I remember so many different moments here; crossing over to go to the fireworks at the park, running over to escape cops when we were out after curfew, walking along them to get donuts or ice cream. Then there was the traumatic video they showed us in middle school about the dangers of railroad tracks.

The home I grew up in is no longer home. The place that shaped me for 15 years was taken away during the pandemic. I remember wishing to move so many times as a child, feeling ungrateful for the roof over my head. Now that my family doesn’t live there anymore I miss it in a strange way. It was where I learned to ride a bike, where my sister was born, where I met my best friend, and so much more. 

The Newark Earthworks is a beautiful Native American landmark in my hometown. My paternal family is part of the Delaware Lenape tribe. I grew up hearing my grandparents talk about all of the history and traditions of the tribe, and once I had the opportunity to go to a powwow with them. As I grew older and began to understand more about Native American history, this became one of my favorite places. In hindsight it shaped my thinking in many ways, but most significantly it gave me an appreciation for the beauty of geometry, space, and large scale works.

I documented each place through video, photography, and selecting a rock. I carried a piece of mirror on my journey, which shows up in many of the photos and videos. The mirror is important because it symbolizes looking back, seeing oneself, developing a new perspective, and re-imagining my narrative. In the end I plan to use the rocks to destroy mirror(s). The impact of each rock upon the mirror is a cathartic act. When I hold the rock I am holding all of these memories. When I throw the rock I am letting go of the weight of my past. When the rock breaks the mirror the ego is shattered. This cathartic action is essential because without it I would simply be walking down memory lane, letting those emotions flow with no outlet. No longer being held prisoner by my past means the freedom to define my future.