Thursday, July 30, 2009

Travis LeRoy Southworth: Transitory Explorations

(Above: Images 1a. and 1b.)

Travis LeRoy Southworth writes about the transitory nature of his work and related processes.

Primarily using materials of corporal quality, my work explores the transitory nature of existence. Sculptures slowly disintegrate and require replenishing to “live” on. Videos capture the transformation of individuals into a mob collective. Drawings are collections of fragments and stray marks that are taken from, but show little reference to, the original photographs. Conceptually driven, my work has a minimalist bent to it as I tend to use a limited amount of materials. I want my work to exist in a new geography, one that redefines the distance between ritual and routine, original source and final work. My recent series of work, Detouched, is a collection of abstract portraits. They are created from the physical “flaws” that define us—wrinkles, moles, blemishes, and stray hairs—which are often removed from commercial portraits. The new work shows little reference to the original photographs and instead become minimalist abstract drawings that play with the definition of portraiture. When printed on digital photo paper, the tiny markings retain their photographic quality upon close inspection. This new configuration no longer implies any facial resemblance. Instead it suggests a nebula, revealing connections between our own physical markings and those of the cosmos.

(Above: Images 2, 3a. and 3b.)

About the Artist
Born 1979 in Honolulu, Hawaii; I currently live and work in Brooklyn, New York. I received a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007 and a BFA from the University of Arizona in 2004. My work has been exhibited at the Artist in the Marketplace 29, the Bronx Museum of the Arts; the Center for Curatorial Studies at the Hessel Museum of Art, NY; the Chicago Cultural Center and the SCOPE Art Fair in Miami. In 2008 my work was accepted into the Drawing Center Viewing Program and I was a participant of the TV show ‘ARTSTAR: Season Two’. Currently I'm working on a video based on the Detouched series through the BRIC Rotunda Gallery Video Program in Brooklyn, NY. In November of 2009 I will be presenting a window installation titled "Where I End and You Begin # 3" at the Mixed Greens Gallery in NYC.

Detouched catalog

Drawing Center portfolio

(Above: Images 4 and 5.)

Descriptions of Works

I Re-touch Myself is a self-portrait where my entire face is digitally erased except for those minor imperfections. Other preexisting images are found through online searches and radically changed through the erasure of data, such as BB Head Shot # 2. This sort of "re-sourcing" was used so I could work with a widespread selection of photographs. In these works all the marks are still in their original location in regards to the original portrait. Other works are combinations of multiple related portraits; Official Portraits is a composite of the four most recent U.S. presidents as of 2007. I took the remnants of each official presidential portrait and then combined them, creating an anti-facial map of the four men who have presided over the country for the last twenty six-years. Where I End and You Begin # 2 is part of a yearly series of all the portraits I “detouch”, this one contains twenty portraits. The markings remain in proportion to the original image but are placed in relation to the others according to the size of the digital file. Study for an Aggregate # 4 is a conglomeration of stray hairs from the portraits of the six artists (including myself) who participated on the TV show ARTSTAR Season Two. In Study for an Aggregate # 9, I start to organize marks by size and shape.

Image 6a.
Image Details
1a. I Re-touch Myself, archival pigment print, 60 x 40 in, 2007

1b. Detail of I Re-touch Myself

2. BB Head Shot # 2 (Homage to Mr. Exploding Head), archival pigment print, 14 x 11 in, 2007

3a. Official Portraits (Last Four Presidents), archival pigment print, 24 x 20 in, 2007

3b. Detail of Official Portraits (Last Four Presidents)

4. Where I End and You Begin # 2, archival pigment print, 40 x 30, 2008

5. Study for an Aggregate # 1, archival pigment print, 14 x 11, 2007
6a. Study for an Aggregate # 4, archival pigment print, 14 x 11, 2007
6b. Detail of Study for an Aggregate # 4

Image 6b.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ajean Lee Ryan: Drawing with Materials

Ajean Lee Ryan writes about the dialogue between materials and meanings. More can be seen on her work @

My work has always been about the every day epiphanies and challenges of my life. Much of it deals with misconceptions of femininity and the role of the domesticated woman. I use materials found in domestic handicrafts in my drawings simply because I am drawn to them. I love words such as "trims" and "notions"; "bits" and "baubles". There is rich material in the skeins of yarn that is able to be merged within the lines of a drawing pencil. The combination of frilly materials with traditional drawing materials allows for a conversation of sorts on the surface of the paper. This dialogue of materials and meanings is what I love the most about the work. I am currently working on a series of large scale drawings and installations based loosely on botanical books and Godey's Lady's Book from the 1850s.
My most recent body of work involves notions of instability and structure within the framework of a home. Taking into consideration the economic struggles of our current global economy and more specifically the drastic fall of the housing market, I felt compelled to address these issues in my recent body of work. Having built my home in Santa Fe that I am no longer living in and yet am not able to sell, I feel first hand and very poignantly the complexities and dramas associated with the home and what it means to us as individuals as well as its larger collective meaning.
The building of a home, the construction of layers of papers and the meticulousness of the thread-work all inspire me right now.