Photography & Intermedia

Marie Watt
May 26, 2015, 11:00 am
Filed under: Identity & Image, Intermedia


Blanket Stories: Three Sisters, Cousin Rose, Four Pelts, and Sky Woman, 2005
Each approximately 20″ x 20″ x 180″
Stacked and folded wool blankets, salvaged cedar.
Installation view, Hoffman Gallery, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon.

We are received in blankets, and we leave in blankets. The work in these rooms is inspired by the stories of those beginnings and endings, and the life in between. I am interested in human stories and rituals implicit in everyday objects. Currently I am exploring the history of wool blankets. I find myself attracted to the blanket’s two- and three-dimensional qualities: On a wall, a blanket functions as a tapestry, but on a body it functions as a robe and living art object. Blankets also serve a utilitarian function. As I fold and stack blankets, they begin to form columns that have references to linen closets, architectural braces, memorials (The Trajan Column), sculpture (Brancusi, for one), the great totem poles of the Northwest and the conifer trees around which I grew up. In Native American communities, blankets are given away to honor people for being witnesses to important life events – births and comings-of-age, graduations and marriages, namings and honorings. For this reason, it is considered as great a privilege to give a blanket away as it is to receive one.

Blankets hang around in our lives and families – they gain meaning through use. My work is about social and cultural histories imbedded in commonplace objects. I consciously draw from indigenous design principles, oral traditions, and personal experience to shape the inner logic of the work I make. These wool blankets come from family, friends, acquaintances and secondhand stores (I’ll buy anything under $5). As friends come over and witness my blanket project in progress, I am struck by how the blankets function as markers for their memories and stories.


Blanket Stories: Cousin Rose, Four Pelts, Sky Woman and Relations, 2004
Each approximately 20″ x 20″ x 212″
Stacked and folded wool blankets, salvaged cedar.
Installation view, National Museum of the American Indian, New York, New York.


Totem: Blue Four-point, Lavadour and First-born, 2004
27″ x 27″ x 94″
Bronze, wool blankets, salvaged red cedar.
Jeri L. Waxenberg Collection


Installation, Institute of American Indian Arts Museum, 2006
Various dimensions
Reclaimed wool, bronze, salvaged cedar, salvaged fir
Includes: Blanket Stories: Three Sisters, Cousin Rose, Four Pelts, Sky Woman and All My Relations, 2006; Almanac: Glacier Park, Granny Beebe and Satin Ledger, 2005; Canopy (Odd One), 2005; and Canopy (Omphalos), 2005.

Susy Oliveira
May 26, 2015, 9:45 am
Filed under: Identity & Image, Intermedia, Student Pick


Susy Oliveira, a Toronto-based multimedia artist, has been making a lot of online buzz with her photo-based constructions. Made from c-prints and foamcore, her works blend photography and sculpture, resulting in something that is at once imposing in its three-dimensionality and strikingly two-dimensional and angular.

Her photographs are mounted on each face of a volume to restore the third dimension to the image that was lost through the photographic process. In this way, Oliveira repurposes the images, giving them a new form and life. The result is a pixelated effect similar to that of video game characters or computer graphics circa 1980. The shape of the subject is therefore both simplified and amplified, creating something that is neither reality nor fiction, but somewhere in between.

For Oliveira, her sculptures represent one aspect of our modern obsession with replacing nature with fabricated, manmade versions of things, and with mixing the virtual with the real. These sculptures create their own virtual world that, like other virtual environments, is identifiably different than (but uncomfortably close to) reality.




May 26, 2015, 9:24 am
Filed under: Films, Identity & Image



a person who is able to change their appearance, behavior, or attitudes, so as to be comfortable in any situation.


Zelig is a 1983 American mockumentary film written and directed by Woody Allen and starring Allen and Mia Farrow. Allen plays Leonard Zelig, a nondescript enigma who, out of his desire to fit in and be liked, takes on the characteristics of strong personalities around him. The film, presented as a documentary, recounts Zelig’s intense period of celebrity in the 1920s and includes analyses from present day intellectuals.

The film was photographed and narrated in the style of 1920s black-and-white newsreels, which are interwoven with archival footage from the era, and re-enactments of real historical events. Color segments from the present day include interviews of real and fictional personages, including Saul Bellow and Susan Sontag.

Heather Dewey-Hagborg
May 25, 2015, 10:10 am
Filed under: Identity & Image, Intermedia

In Stranger Visions artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg creates portrait sculptures from analyses of genetic material collected in public places. Working with the traces strangers unwittingly leave behind, Dewey-Hagborg calls attention to the impulse toward genetic determinism and the potential for a culture of biological surveillance. Designed as an exploratory project based on emerging science, the forecast of Stranger Visions has proved prescient. For an example of DNA phenotyping at work in forensics check out the companies Parabon NanoLabs and Identitas and read about their collaboration with the Toronto police. Also see Mark Shriver’s research at Penn State on predicting faces from DNA.


Sample 2
MtDNA Haplogroup: H2a2a1 (Likely ancestry 25% Eastern European)
SRY Gene: present
Gender: Male
rs12913832: AA
Eye Color: Brown
rs4648379: CC
Typical nose size
rs6548238: CC
Typical odds for obesity


Sample 6
MtDNA Haplogroup: D1 (Likely ancestry 25% Native American, South American)
SRY Gene: present
Gender: Male
rs12913832: AA
Eye Color: Brown
rs4648379: CC
Typical nose size
rs6548238: CC
Typical odds for obesity

Nobuhiro Nakanishi
May 25, 2015, 1:00 am
Filed under: Identity & Image, Intermedia, Student Pick

Nobuhiro Nakanishi- 4

Fukuoka, Japan-born artist Nobuhiro Nakanishi has created a mesmerizing series called Layered Drawings that we’d love to see in person. Nakanishi uses a laser print to mount his photos onto plexiglass acrylic. Though we could enjoy each slice on its own, taken together, they produce a magnificent effect. “The theme of my work is: the physical that permeates into the art piece,” he says. “In a foggy landscape, we no longer see what we are usually able to see – the distance to the traffic light, the silhouette of the trees, the slope of the ground. Silhouettes, distance and horizontal sense all become vague. When we perceive this vagueness, the water inside the retina and skin dissolve outwardly toward the infinite space of the body surface. The landscape continues to flow, withholding us from grasping anything solid. By capturing spatial change and the infinite flow of time, I strive to produce art that creates movement between the artwork itself and the viewer’s experience of the artwork.”

Nobuhiro Nakanishi- 1

Nobuhiro Nakanishi- 2-1

Nobuhiro Nakanishi- 3

Lenka Clayton
May 24, 2015, 4:09 pm
Filed under: Identity & Image, Student Pick

People in Order – Age
2006 / video 3 mins (series of four) / Collaboration with James Price
One person of every age from one to one hundred years old, in ascending order.

Lenka Clayton (b. 1977) is a British conceptual artist whose work considers, exaggerates and alters the accepted rules of everyday life, extending the familiar into the realms of the poetic and absurd.

In previous works she has hand-numbered 7,000 stones; searched for all 613 people mentioned in a single edition of a German newspaper; filmed one person of each age from 1 to 100, and reconstituted a lost museum from a sketch on the back of an envelope. She and writer Michael Crowe are currently in the middle of writing a unique, personal letter to every household in the world. In 2012 Lenka founded An Artist Residency in Motherhood — a structured, fully-funded artist residency that takes place inside her own home and life as a mother of two young children. She is currently serving as the first Artist-in-Residence-in-Motherhood.

Her work has been exhibited widely including the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, FRAC Le Plateau in Paris, Kunsthalle St. Gallen in Switzerland, Anthology Film Archives in New York City, a Danish mediaeval tower, Tehran International Documentary Festival in Iran and just after the evening news on Channel 4 TV in the U.K., as well as in publications including Frieze, Art & Agenda, and Typewriter Art: A Modern Anthology.

Lenka Clayton holds an MA in Documentary Direction from the National Film & Television School, UK and a BA in Fine Art from Central St. Martins, London. She has taught at institutions in the U.K., US and Sweden including three years at University of the Arts, London and a stint as Theodore Randall International Chair at Alfred University in New York. She was recently awarded a Creative Development Grant from the Pittsburgh Foundation and a Sustainable Arts Foundation award. She currently lives and works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she was named Emerging Artist of the Year 2013. In 2014 she was awarded a Carol R. Brown Award for Creative Achievement.


63 Objects Taken from my Son’s Mouth

2011 – 2012 / acorn, bolt, bubblegum, buttons, carbon paper, chalk, Christmas decoration, cigarette butt, coins (GBP, USD, EURO), cotton reel, holly leaf, little wooden man, sharp metal pieces, metro ticket, nuts, plastic “O”, polystyrene, rat poison (missing), seeds, slide, small rocks, specimen vial, sponge animal, sticks, teabag, wire caps, wooden block / size laid out as shown 40″ x 40″ x 1″

Sixty-three objects that I had to take out of son’s mouth on safety grounds, between the ages of 8 – 15 months. The collection indirectly documents those months of our lives in small objects. The collection includes currency from the US, England and France, cigarette butts and beer bottle lids, and odds and ends from underneath the working table where we made Mysterious Letters (Paris).

Made during An Artist Residency in Motherhood.

Exhibited at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, 2013. Currently on show at State of the Art at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas.

Rachel Marks
May 23, 2015, 12:00 am
Filed under: Identity & Image, Student Pick


Rachel Marks is a young artist living and working in Paris, France. She earned a BFA from Oklahoma State University where she participated in an artist residency in Siena (2009) and studied abroad at the University of Hertfordshire in London (2010). After a year in Prague (2011 – 2012) teaching art to children, she obtained a Master’s degree at the Higher School of Art and Design in Grenoble, France (2013). Rachel has exhibited her work internationally in the United States, Italy, England and France.

Where is the text in the piece French Identity from? How did the piece come about?
French Identity was spawned from my experience of learning French. Understanding very little of the language, I wrote down words that I heard in my daily life. At night I wrote these words over and over in order to practice and learn them. The new sounds around me, and how to implicate myself inside them, became an obsession. French Identity was a way of documenting my journey of taking on a new identity. The text is from the words I wrote down repetitively in order to integrate myself into the language. This series is a representation of my way of learning French and finding myself within a world of new sounds.




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