Here & Now
Senior Thesis Exhibition
Alison Brace, Rose Heydt, Zsofia Schweger
Opening Reception: Tuesday, May 8, 4:45-6pm
Exhibit Dates: April 25-May 26, 2012
Gallery Hours: Daily 12-5pm
I am an Economics and Media Arts & Sciences double-major, and I hope one day to work in the business side of the film industry. When I first came to Wellesley, the state of Massachusetts was promising to become the third-largest center for motion picture production, after Los Angeles and New York. At that time, three different studios, the largest of which was Plymouth Rock Studios, were in planning stages and were intending to be built here in Massachusetts. The Plymouth Rock Studios project was scheduled to break ground in 2010 and be completed by 2012, the year of my graduation. With the economic recession, these projects did not come to fruition, and yet the production activity in the state remains strong. While industry professionals admit that we are losing business to other states due to our lack of infrastructure, the activity in the Commonwealth appears promising, and I am excited to see what the future holds for the Massachusetts film industry. There is something inherently special about Massachusetts, and it has been fun and interesting to see the pride local communities have developed in being part of a motion picture.
This is a story about the film industry in Massachusetts and the far-reaching effects it has on the state and its identity. Since I came to Wellesley, about 42 independent and Hollywood films have come to Massachusetts, including two movies nominated for Best Picture in the 2011 Academy Awards. Not only do the productions benefit the Massachusetts economy directly, but they also contribute to the state through identity and tourism. This film weaves through the politics, elements, and expanding effects of the activity in Massachusetts. It is a story of perseverance and identity, struggles and successes, and hopes for the future.
In my current work, I explore the concept of home through the visual study of interiors. Adopting the idea of the space-place-home continuum as put forth by geographer Yi-Fu Tuan, I am interested in how space becomes place and place becomes home. My paintings record, narrate, and guide my search for a sense of home and being-in-the-world: I locate home in the dynamic workspace of my shared studio at Wellesley, and later in painting.
I think of my observation, drawing, and painting of the studio as a process of thoroughly familiarizing myself with the space and turning it into a place. Aiming to minimize movement and to encourage a state of contemplation, I reduce the room into flat color shapes but preserve representative impulses; my work shows an imperative formal interest in overlapping surfaces but welcomes moments of recognition, of comfort, too. First, I dwell on small canvas surfaces on wooden supports which at as small as 6 x 6″ become miniature objects. According to philosopher Gaston Bachelard’s influential book The Poetics of Space, miniatures are gates which open up new worlds. I intend to enter these worlds in my paintings by taking Bachelard’s metaphorical magnifying glass: I enlarge small segments of miniature paintings onto large canvases stretched directly on studio walls. Painting from painting, with composition and colors already determined, I reduce my process to remixing colors and applying paint. My colors are endowed with personal history that recalls hard work and gentle care, as well as a memory of being-in-the-place when they were first created. In this process and in the environment of the large canvases, I am at home.
Driving in the plains has been one of my most sublime, unforgettable experiences. At the transitional moment between day and night, when the awe-demanding sky is filled with such a deep, bright blue that the air appears saturated with it, and the uninterrupted horizon turns to black silhouette…you could swear to see the curvature of the Earth.
This is a felt experience, that I believe no single medium has the capacity to translate. This defiance of translation seemed to offer an artistic challenge — incorporating video shot in the Nebraska Sandhills, I set out to create an immersive environment with the ability to invoke this same felt experience, suspending an ephemeral moment in time so it can be experienced in the here and now.