Department of Art and Art History Studio Art

Q+A with Olivia Martin Moore

Sun. August 30, 2015

scultpure of rock floating in infinity pool
Untitled (Baltic Granite) Austin, 2011/2015 Formica laminate, extruded polystyrene, tape, urethane foam 56in x 54in x 54in

Olivia Martin Moore (M.F.A. in Studio Art, 2011) was selected for the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (the German Academic Exchange, DAAD) and will travel to Berlin later this fall.

Prior to her graduate studies she was recruited into a position as a Creative Clay Modeler in the automotive industry. Moore received a B.F.A. from the University of Cincinnati. She currently works as the Head Gallery Preparator for the John L. Warfield Center at UT Austin. Moore has exhibited nationally and internationally at venues such as The International Sculpture Center in Hamilton, New Jersey; Grand Arts in Kansas City, Missouri; Salt Lake Art Center in Salt Lake City, Utah; and Baumwollspinnerei in Leipzig, Germany. She was recently nominated for the prestigious Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant Program.

Moore answered questions by email.

How has your work changed or shifted from what you were working on while you were in the M.F.A. program? Why was there a shift (if any)?

Olivia Martin Moore: My work is constantly evolving and shifting yet it retains characteristics from the beginnings of my artistic career. I rarely work in series or make the same thing twice. However, recently I have been revisiting some of my work from graduate school and putting those pieces in new situations and contexts. For the first time I feel I am being inspired by my own work rather than site.

sculpture in gallery and works hanging on white walls
Between Here and There (gallery view), 2015

This summer you had a solo exhibition at Women and Their Work gallery in Austin, Texas. Can you describe the work?

OMM: When I finished the MFA program in 2011, I moved to Berlin for a year. I was fortunate enough to get a studio in the center of the city but I had no tools or equipment so I was left to devise new ways of working. I continued to use cast-away materials such as ephemera. Berlin was extremely inspirational to this part of my practice. I conceived of an entire show based on the objects and architecture around my studio space at Rosenthaler Platz. These ideas would become my solo show at Women and Their Work. While in Berlin I collected posters every day over the course of three months. As I gathered these posters, I rolled them into an increasing cylinder. Once one poster touched end-to-end I cross cut the tube to reveal the rings made by the individual posters. Most of these advertisements were for music related events. I knew I wanted to make an audio piece by assigning sound to the lines of color within the piece, to give voice to this archive of sound that I had obscured. This is how the entire body of work began.

In the fall, you are returning to Germany for the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst exchange program. What does it mean to you to revisit the country?

OMM: I came back to Austin after Berlin so I would be able to work directly with the DAAD representative at UT Austin. Returning now to Berlin will be a completely different experience. When I went the first time it was almost on a whim. I wanted to be in an art center but not LA or New York. I had never been to Germany previously. Now I will have the support of two institutions the, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst and Weißensee Kunsthochschule – Berlin. This means having access to all the resources that institutions afford an artist to do their research. It will be so much easier this time around. I won’t be reinventing my practice, just expanding upon it. Additionally, I will be able to travel. There is a DAAD meeting in Bonn and I will go visit friends in Austria and I plan to travel a bit in Eastern Europe. I hope these travels will inspire a new project with which I may apply for a Fulbright.

New York, Tuscany, Zurich: undergraduate students travel across the globe this summer

Mon. August 31, 2015

Chelsea Chang, undergraduate in Art Education

woman in yellow shirt posing for photo
Image courtesy of Chelsea Chang.

How did you find your summer internship? What kind of experience were you seeking?
I knew about Southern Methodist University's Summer Youth Program because I had taken one of their classes in middle school. I've been learning about theoretical classroom management and teaching strategies, so I sought experience in those areas.

What was the best or funniest experience you had?
Children just say the most precious things. One week, my coworker and I had the children introduce their partners to the class as an icebreaker. One of the questions was "what is your favorite color?". One boy couldn't decide and ended up saying "All colors are equal, just like people!"

How will this internship impact your future goals?
My future goal is to become a high school art teacher that specializes in the combination of art and technology. SMU offered many classes that involved this subject so I got experience on how to teach video game creation, stop motion animation, digital comic book creation, etc. I worked with about eight teachers, so I also got to see the effect of many teaching/classroom management strategies and build up my own way of doing things.

Anyssa Flores, undergraduate in Art Education

children sitting in chairs facing Guggenheim Museum
Image courtesy of Anyssa Flores.

What kind of work you did this summer at the Guggenheim Museum?
I was a Family Programs intern in the Education Department of the Guggenheim. During my internship I would facilitate activities at exhibition openings, events and museum hours. I also helped the educators lead summer camps and tours, did research on various artists and helped create activities based on the artwork on view. Additionally, the Guggenheim had a Museum Culture Seminar Program where I got to visit other arts institutions and learn about their history, exhibitions and programming.

Did you accomplish or complete any work you found particularly interesting or are especially proud of?
Besides doing research and creating activities I was proud of, I really enjoyed getting to educate people and doing activities right in front of the artwork in the museum. Because of the complex subject matter, I think that contemporary art can be one of the most interesting and difficult subjects to educate people on, especially younger audiences. Learning how to lead those discussions and understand how people experience artwork was really beneficial to both my practice as an educator and an artist.

While in NYC, did you take some time for fun or sightseeing?
I did so much sightseeing on my days off and ate all kinds of great food — it was like being a three-month-long tourist! The subway system is so convenient, and you could get anywhere in NYC in a short amount of time. I would spend the day seeing art at the museums or Chelsea galleries and then end up in Chinatown for dinner, or I would take a short trip to Coney Island for the beach or a baseball game. On days I had nature withdrawals, I could hang out in Central or Prospect Park. Even walking around the city was always a fun adventure in itself.

Read more via the College of Fine Arts

Erica Halpern, undergraduate in Design

women standing with arms spead in front of Google wall

Image courtesy of Erica Halpern.

You traveled to Zurich for your second summer internship with Google. What kinds of projects did you work on as part of the internship?
I worked on Inbox, Gmail's new email client, specifically on the smart grouping of emails team that is responsible for bundles like trips and promos. As an Associate Product Manager Intern, I worked with the engineering and user experience teams to design and build a new feature. My exact project has to remain a secret until it launches though! 

What was the best or funniest experience you had?
Some interns and I rented a car to visit the Swiss alps and there was a traffic light to regulate the amount of cars that entered the tunnel. This created a giant traffic jam and left all the cars at a standstill. Since everyone was stuck, we all got out of cars ate cheese and baguette in the middle of a highway with a bunch of strangers for about 30 minutes!

How did the internship impact your future goals?
I'm double majoring in Design and Computer Science and in the classroom these fields often don't directly intersect. This internship has been a great way to see how both my interests can come together to create something exciting! My experiences this summer have helped me to figure out what career I would like to pursue. Working on a large product with many people in different roles and teams has taught me many valuable skills that I will use in the future.

Kayla Jones, undergraduate in Studio Art

black and white photo of white blanket in landscaping
Image courtesy of Kayla Jones

This summer you completed a residency at Oxbow and Co-Lab Projects' SUMMERSCOOL program. What did you hope to gain from these experiences?
I hoped to achieve, overall, similar things from both of these opportunities — to find a way to stay engaged with my practice and in conversation about art through the summer break. At OxBow I most looked forward to participating in OxBow’s immersive artist community, through conversations with everyone there: peers, professors and visiting artists. From SUMMERSCOOL, I was extremely excited to experience what it takes to produce a professional show, from start to finish. I definitely feel that through both of these programs I’ve gained experience that you can’t learn in a classroom, and I feel a little more prepared to enter the real world after graduation.

What was the best or funniest experience you had?
This is so difficult to answer; it’s hard to convey how memorable every single minute at OxBow ends up being. I would say that my most exciting experience was the studio visits I got to have with professors and visiting artists at OxBow. It was extremely helpful and eye-opening to hear from artists whose work I’d studied before, and also inspiring to hear them talk about their own passions and beliefs and where they intersected with my work. Having those meetings made me even more excited to come back and experiment in the studio with what I’d learned.

How did Oxbow and SUMMERSCOOL impact your future goals?
Both of these programs exposed me to a wide range of professions that someone with an arts background can pursue while maintaining an art practice. I feel more confident and optimistic about finding a path for myself that I enjoy that also supports my art after I graduate (but ask me again in May).

Nick Purgett, undergraduate in Art History

man standing in front of building posing for photo

Image courtesy of Nick Purgett.

Why did you decide to attend Learning Tuscany?
Ever since I took art history in high school, I wanted to find some way to get out of the classroom and experience all that I had learned about firsthand. I especially enjoy Renaissance art so Italy always seemed like an obvious choice. So when I found out about Learning Tuscany it felt like a no-brainer. After all, who wouldn't want to spend six weeks in Tuscany learning about a fascinating subject?

What was the best or funniest experience you had?
The best part of the program was interacting with all the non-major people who had no conception of what art history was and seeing them take interest in the subject. It can be hard to see why art history is so cool when learning off of slides every day. However, when you're standing in the Roman Forum or Loggia dei Lanzi, you understand why these fantastic places are so important and rightfully deserving of study. It sounds quite cliché but it was inspiring to connect with people through art history

How did Learning Tuscany impact your future goals?
It really reaffirmed that I want to be doing art history for the rest of my life. Showing people why art is so fascinating, in some way or another, seems the most fulfilling future I could have.

New faculty appointments in Design and Studio Art

Mon. August 31, 2015

headshots of two women pasted side by side
Left: Nicole Awai. Right: Jiwon Park. Courtesy of the faculty.

The Department of Art and Art History is pleased to announce the appointments of Nicole Awai and Jiwon Park.

"We are thrilled to welcome Nicole and Jiwon to the department. Together, they bring incredible depth of experience and extend the vision of our faculty," said Jack Risley, Meredith and Cornelia Long Chair of the Department of Art and Art History.

Nicole Awai joins the department as an Assistant Professor in Painting and Drawing. Her work has been included in the inaugural Greater New York: New Art in New York Now at MoMA PS1 in 2000; the Biennale of Ceramics in Contemporary Art in 2003; the 2008 Busan Biennale in Korea; Infinite Island: Contemporary Caribbean Art at the Brooklyn Museum in 2007; and Open House: Working in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Museum in 2004. Awai was a featured artist in the 2005 Initial Public Offerings series at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and she received a Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant in 2011 and an Art Matters Grant in 2013. She received a B.A. in 1991 and an M.F.A. in Multimedia Art in 1996 from the University of South Florida.

Jiwon Park joins the department as an Assistant Professor in Design. Park has worked as a visual designer at Samsung Electronics and as a graphic designer at Brand Environment Ltd. She co-founded 1/2 Project and DAREZ Inc. and founded Design Can Do. Park's works have been selected for 17 international design awards, including: iF, Red Dot, IDEA, Type Directors Club, Art Directors Club, Communication Arts, and the Adobe Design Achievement Award, among others. She was named a Next Generation Design Leader and awarded a 100,000 USD research grant by the Korean Ministry of Knowledge Economy in both 2011 and 2012. Park received a B.F.A. from the Ewha Womans University in 2009 and an M.F.A. in Graphic Design in 2013 from the Rhode Island School of Design as a Fulbright scholar.

Q+A with Katie Rose Pipkin

Wed. August 19, 2015

woman wearing glasses and black top poses for photograph
Image courtesy of Katie Rose Pipkin.

Katie Rose Pipkin (B.F.A. in Studio Art, 2013) is a visual artist working across media. She answered questions by Assistant Professor Jeff Williams by email.

Jeff Williams: When I was in school, my video professor Tom Sherman gave us this great John Baldessari quote which I have not been able to find since, along the lines of: “Video will be something when it's as direct as drawing a line with your pencil.” My memory is terrible, so that quote is probably all messed up but the idea kept with me. As someone who uses drawing as the foundation for a multi-disciplinary practice, I wondered if you wouldn’t mind talking about the connection between your drawing and the gestures you make using digital formats?

Katie Rose Pipkin: I've spent years and years trying to mediate between what often looks like two practices that are at odds, even to me.

Often, the best I can do is to describe their function. I am interested in processes which act as ciphers or keys to a story much more vast. It is important here to consider what a drawing really is: a flattening of information. It is a compression of a time or concept or data structure into the technology of paper. Drawings, mostly, are excellent storage devices.

So much of my work lives on the edge of that vastness. Automating processes that, when run, will permute forever but left as code contain their entire possibility space, or curating a very particular side to YouTube, when /every second/ more content is uploaded than one person could watch in a lifetime. Or exploring and cataloging and constructing virtual worlds that follow enough reason to feel always familiar but never actually repeat.

No surprise, then, that I find myself drawn to systems for fixing down some elegant structure with which to decipher the world. I suppose the real question is why I still find it funny to enjoy working on paper.

black ink drawing on white paper of cloud-like undulations
Image courtesy of Katie Rose Pipkin.

JW: What interests you about working with computers, YouTube, Twitter, or websites as media?

KRP: There is a (relative) ease of access to digital (and particularly social) artwork that may not be available with more traditional formats. This isn't to say that there are not massive barriers in place to many in accessing internet spaces, but those are often not nearly as prohibitive as flying to Venice for the biennale, or New York City to see a new show at the Whitney, or, for some, even navigating a complex or inaccessible system to a local gallery. I could not make the argument that digital spaces are truly egalitarian any more, and perhaps never were—in many online environments, 'free to access' can as easily be called 'offset by selling ad revenue'. But they are relatively flat, allow for mostly unrestricted information exploration in any direction, and are available almost physically everywhere. And sometimes, the only capital we have to spend is that which doesn't come out of a paycheck.

This accessibility is true in its removal of need to physically or fiscally able to navigate to an art space, but also in the structure of how one approaches engaging with an artwork; online, there is perhaps less emphasis on ‘getting it" and more on being able to play with or take delight in a thing.

Some of this comes from the way we interact with internet spaces, which is to say mostly alone. I also suspect that the mentality of how digital spaces are considered comes into play here. We often still isolate them as somewhat non-real, or less important than physical spaces. Regardless, there is a certain amount of personal security to not being surrounded by others and by engaging in a low-stakes environment and this type of relaxed access can make for a very different set of experiences.

There is perhaps more room for testing, playing, failing, and laughing when there is no fear of doing these things wrong. I am grateful to a structure that allows my work to exist in browsable space, sandwiched intrinsically between Twitter notifications or YouTube playlists about otters or gardening videos. To be stumbled upon and interacted with as a novelty, or an inexplicable structure, or a thing of beauty, or a thing of humor without my explicit wall text—who could ask for anything more?

screen shot tiled six times
Image courtesy of Katie Rose Pipkin.

JW: How has poetry informed your practice? Who are you reading?

KRP: Gosh, so I'd be lying if I said I read even close to enough—poetry or otherwise. I subscribed to Poetry Magazine and Rattle a few years back and do my best to keep up with the monthly delivery (but the stack of unopened packages is towering). In general, I find a few pieces in those that resonate with me and quite a few others that don't settle in. But that doesn't mean it isn't a worthwhile practice to keep up.

Otherwise, I've been looking at concrete poets, computational poets, folks producing more within my medium. There is a really wonderful community of people working in this space, and often the best work I see is just someone self-publishing experiments out of Utah, or making language bots, or assembling generative text in videogames. I'm hoping to get through most of last year's NaNoGenMo (the generative text community's answer to NaNoWriMo, where one generates a novel in a month) before November rolls around again. I've been reading white papers in territory that I do not properly understand. Also, I've got a big creative crush on Chris Marker and often just read the transcriptions from his films when I need a good thinking head space. (Sidenote—did you know that he built a piece in Second Life that you can still visit?)

I have said before (and will continue to insist) that bots and algorithms are teaching me how to write all over again. They have such an interesting relationship to human language, which is to say a non-human relationship defined by human rules. All of their actions are mediated by a human conception of what is ideal here, but taken into a space beyond human scope of understanding. There are too many grammatical oddities and syntactical meanings to to ever perfectly account for. And (as it is so often is) the most interesting material seems to rise from these best-intention human systems working perfectly by their own rule sets—and breaking by human standards at the same time.

For example, in an effort to keep a source text from flavoring the meaning of a project too heavily, I recently decided that every time there was a very declarative sentiment, I should try to soften the absolutism somehow. "This is" should be "this is perhaps", etc. I ran some very very simple sentiment analysis over words I manually defined as 'strongly worded', with a variety of possible changes for different formats. What it spit back was 100 lines shaped like this:

-this is a sea. (or this is not a sea.)
-there is no answer to this order of reasoning, except to advise a little wider perception, and extension of the too narrow horizon of habitual ideas. (or there is an answer to this order of reasoning.)
-but in this well world there is no star to cheer the silver and cold solitude of the immense vacuum. (or there is a star to cheer.)

Which I absolutely did not program nor intend, but possesses a self-assurance that I may never have.

black ink line drawing
Image courtesy of Katie Rose Pipkin

JW: Congratulations on your invitation to study at Carnegie Mellon, that is an incredible opportunity. I know you are probably just about to move to Pittsburgh, so this might be a bit unfair, but I am really curious if you already have ideas or projects you are looking forward to once you're settled?

KRP: I am excited to get back to curation and already have Big Plans about public creative space pt. whatever/forever. I'm interested in focusing more on digital/new media/internet enabled/computational work, and I'm pretty convinced there is a lot of interesting territory there with both new pieces and more archeological practice.

One of the benefits of being in a city that has a large university structure is that there is incredible amount of non-discipline-oriented information exchange and there are physical resources that go along with differentiated practice (see:  robots, super computers, scanning electron microscopes, materials labs). There are also legacy machines still in working order, as well as people teaching who not only know how to use them, but were integral in designing their structure. Tech can have an disastrously short memory, and it is easy to forget that these tools have been used to create artwork as long as they have existed. It is important as someone working with code to remember that much of what is being produced now is merely an easier and more accessible implementation of work that has already been.

In general, I've a wealth of short-term projects (generated plays! a game! drawing machines! an esoteric programming language based on plants!) and a few longer term ones, but who knows where that'll all go. I'm taking coursework in computational biology, experimental motion capture, and machining in the fall, so that could be a rabbit hole. During my admission interview, I proposed a personal joy of a thesis project; basically emulated Hypercard for the browser; but we will probably have to see what three years brings.

Pipkin participated in The Contemporary Austin's 2015 Crit Group program which culminates in the exhibition, The Only Knowledge Worth Possessing. The exhibition will be on view through September 13, 2015 at grayDUCK Gallery.

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