Photo Above taken by Chelsea Boxwell. "Bull,Bully,Bullets,Bullshit" Hand painted medicinal bullets in a Smith and Wesson gun case.
It was my first time presenting at the Artblitz Crit Group last night in LA. The timing was excellent to get a read from people who haven't seen my new work in progress.
I was really surprised that my ritual of hand painting medicinal bullets and catheters did not come across as such. Instead, it was assumed that these things came that way, that they were purchased with red caps and colored tips and that they had not not already been used for their original purposes. (OK, those who are among my invisible culture, who were not part of this group, knew immediately that I had altered the things because, like me, they are familiar.) But my goal is to reach outside my own circle and despite my compulsiveness to prep and hand paint each item, no past-purpose was revealed to those who are not familiar. Instead it was erased.
Since I am working with medical supplies that have bodily functions, the question of repulsion came up. "What's wrong with repulsion?" someone asked. A: "Doesn't repulsion turn people away? I want to attract, not repulse." Hmmm...Transforming these objects is meant to speak of the positive sort of transformation that happens when a person is changed by another. Not repulsed.
RITUAL is another take-away I got from last nights ArtblitzLA discussion. There is much ritual behind the objects; The first is in the original usage of the objects; The second is in their preparations for re-use and; The third involves the process for their new configurations where they work (interact?) with other materials.
Someone said, If I use the object for what it is in a different context, it becomes a simile (relating back to its original purpose.) On the other hand, If I use it in a different way it is transformed (In my case- to a formalistic object.) A simile will equal metaphor, poetry and gesture. As I consider this even more today I see no reason why the transformed path (even in formal presentation) couldn't also equal metaphor, poetry and gesture.
I walked away with much to digest after this critique and gained a new awareness that I would not have if not for this discussion.