Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Start of Semester 3: Visit with Mentor

The start of the new semester has been a little rough: Arriving back to NC with a bad cold from walking in the cold rain and remaining in damp clothes through the day within the residency in Boston, left my first days back home bedridden with fever and chills.

By the end of the week I was feeling better and able to connect with Ben for approval of my new mentor, Pam Toll .

Over the weekend my family and I took a respit in Wilmington, NC where my mentor lives and works. I was able to gain a little time lost by arranging a studio visit with her, and to discuss my current body of work and direction for the semester.

I quickly realized that this semester will be very different from my first two. My first two mentors, who were excellent, visited 'me', as they were both local to Winston Salem. I though have felt like I have been missing out on a integral piece of this MFA program by not visiting my mentor artists in 'their' studios.

Visiting Pam in her studio on Saturday availed me to viewing her work firsthand, that leaves a richer sensation than looking at photos of artwork online. Her work is mostly oil painting with collage elements. I was impressed at the Chagall-like quality of her paintings. Chagall of course is a major reference for me, as a painter and stained glass artist.

Because I was visiting in Toll's studio and sharing my work, our discussion turned in different ways than if she were to visit me. Pam shared her recent experiences in South Africa with the Paint a Future program, and her trip to Macedonia with UNCW students.

While visiting and since I heard the echoes of Jan regarding how the artist enters the discourse, and Sunanda on what is global, what is u(U)niversal. Toll, my new mentor, is outside the arena of the NYC milieu, yet she has enveloped into a discourse that I find global and universal. It is refreshing and somewhat contradictory to what I have been exposed to in New England, with so much focus being on the contemporary New York scene.

I think these questions are the most vital of any as I prepare myself professionally as a full-time artist.

So I have begun to ask myself: What is the discourse I am entering? Where and how am I entering the discourse that I envision myself?

While traveling to and from Wilmington, I was able to complete reading:

[Grid< >Matrix], Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Sabine Eckmann and Lutz Koepnick.

Back in Winston Salem now, although still with this lingering cold; I am well enough and ready to start digging into the next semester.

I have some part-time teaching appointments through the summer afternoons, so mornings will be spent in the my morning lit studio and hot afternoons in air conditioned studio classrooms.

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