Final Project Statement: Shapes I Could Take
These three paintings are a part of my growing research on human malleability. Each vessel in these paintings can be envisioned as a potential shape one might have to bend into in order to exist in the varied and ever changing situations we encounter throughout life–both positive and negative. These changes in ourselves and our environment can save us, grow us, and sometimes hurt us; there is something captivating about this dance. The complete project comes together as a visual representation of the beauty and tension inherent in being able to relinquish control and move into different versions of ourselves.
Final Reading Response: Rebecca Solnit “The Blue of Distance”
It is both surprising and satisfying to find myself here in another country, speaking another language, and not be wishing for home. Over the past few months, I have become less rigid–physically and psychologically. This is because I have been required to become more adaptable to unfamiliar and at times stressful situations–I have become more fluid as I move myself through space and time. I move through space as I travel and exist in these new spaces. I leave part of myself wherever I go–my footprints and fingerprints, people I have spoken to, hair and DNA. And I take part of it with me, generally in the form of memory but also in the form of physical objects that I may take. Performing the action of moving through unfamiliar spaces gracefully and without judgment–simply experiencing them–is new to me.
This physical piece represents this change.The action I have associated with it–pouring–is a possible metaphor for the active occurrence of this change. Each vessel constructed here represents a nonspecific situation. Each one has been constructed in such a way that they have an entrance and an exit. When water is poured into the topmost vessel, the water reacts to the shape of this vessel–filling it up and then exiting out of the top and side-holes of the vessel. The water then cascades down the structure, encountering and moving through each vessel in turn. The vessels do not hold the water, but both the water and the vessel are changed as the water flows through them. Because the vessels are not totally sealed with glaze, the water soaks into the ceramic pieces. The ceramic pieces’ colors are mildly changed and they crackle as they soak in the liquid. The water also loses some of itself to the ceramic pieces. However, this change is temporary–eventually, the water must evaporate and the sculpture dries, returning itself to its original state. Because of this, the gluey drips serve to reference the action of the water flowing through the sculpture when that action is not occurring.
Reading response to “What Art Is and What Artists Do” by Jerry Saltz:
In his essay, “What is Art and What Artists Do,” Jeffrey Saltz attempts to briefly explain the workings of artists and the art world. Though he makes a number of interesting points, I am intrigued by his assertions that we do not live in a world where one medium comes alive and another dies (I’m paraphrasing here). I have been unable or afraid to articulate this sentiment for a while now, but am wholly in agreement with it. Saltz argues that things do not come alive and then disappear–they shift, transform, and grow. I feel that this can be compared to the idea that a work of art is never finished. To me, this does not mean that an artist should return to all of their works in order to expand on them in a more satisfying way. This means that creating art is less about finishing pieces that are perfect and more about the transitional process of growing and changing and learning to speak your own truth through some medium. As art is subjective, it is impossible to tell whether or not a medium as a whole or a piece itself is finished–for example, the smallest increments of change could be monumentously important for creating a stark difference between two works. In some cases, stagnancy is meditation, which is a whole other art form to be approached…. In other words, the answer to the question that the usage of a new medium proposes may not be as simple as the amount of different ways the medium can be organized in space. The answer transforms into further questions the more a medium is manipulated or disseminated or destroyed. Creating art is thus not about solving a medium but processing it by reacting to its properties given the context of the situation in which the medium is encountered.
Reading response to “Shape of a Walk” by Rebecca Solnit:
The reflections upon Maria Abramovic and Ulay’s walking pieces found in “The Shape of a Walk” reminded me of the almost inherent social nature of walking. As the author discusses in the first few paragraphs, the first examples of walking in art can be found in depictions of ancient peoples working, immigrating, or engaging in social acts through their walking. Though walking is meditative and certainly good thing to do alone before reinstituting oneself into the social world, the act of walking can also be restorative and intimate for multiple people as once. It can hold different weights or meanings depending on the relationships between the people who are walking together–for example, it can be educational and relaxing for a parent to “take a walk” with their child. But two people in a relationship may take a walk for very different reasons–not to exercise themselves, perhaps, but to spend important time alone or to have a relaxing distraction as they approach an uncomfortable conversation topic. Further, two bored friends may decide to take a walk not because it is meditative nor because it is educational or relaxing, but because it is a way to be out of the house without having to be anywhere else. Considering all the different roles a walk may play in different social settings causes the art of walking to take on another dimension entirely. The art of walking transforms into the delicate art of relationship maintenance–choosing when, where, and why one decides to take a walk with another person or group of people.
“Unstable Territories” brings up a lot of intriguing points about the possible natures of different boundaries, both physical and metaphorical. One essay discussed thinking of countries as tools for creating in-groups and out-groups. This forced me to wonder about my place not only as a visitor here in Italy, but also as a citizen of the United States. Clearly, forces within the US have made it a divisive state–many immigrants have been forced to leave after already having found refuge and home within the US, and many looking for a new home have found the gates to their future slammed shut. On the contrary, I have the double privilege of being a white American citizen. Countries that I wish to visit generally do not doubt my perceived safety because of these facts, and I am able to permeate the social and political boundaries at my pleasure. Because of my sociopolitical identity, I am able to become both a member of the in-group and the out-group fluidly (although I am not really a member of the societies into which I am welcomed, my identity is not questioned nor is it perceived as dangerous. As a result of my perceived neutrality, I am able to cross these boundaries and also return “home” without much thought). In this way, it becomes political to consider the ways that boundaries are experienced and influenced by different groups of people.
“Tempo Zulu / Coordinated International Time” Intro Unit Project:
“Points of Entry” Intro Unit Project:
The concept of interstitial space has an abstract relation to my “Points of Entry” Project. In this project, I decided to represent the idea that there are many–if not infinite–mental representations of Porta Romana. As each being passes through or nearby the gate, a representation of the gate is imprinted in their psychological space–a representation that is dependent on immediate context, (such as mode of transportation through the gate (walking, biking, in a car, etc.) current weather), and historical context: nationality, personal life, and purpose for entering/exiting Siena (among many other factors). My project focused on how the gate, which is a literal and obvious interstitial space, is not just an interstitial space between suburbs and city: it is a gateway towards understanding the multitudinous nature of perception.
Patrice DiChristina, USA
Hi! I’m Patrice DiChristina. I was born and raised in Greenwich, Connecticut and currently attend school at Oberlin College in Ohio. I grew up immersed in the arts and gradually found myself drawn to visual studio arts, which I now study at Oberlin alongside psychology. While paint is the medium I am most comfortable with, I find joy through experimentation and multimedia exploration. I love exciting processes, beautiful colors, and sharing artistic experiences with others.
Previous artwork by Patrice DiChristina: