Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nature in Sepia Tones - Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison

"Burn Season."

            Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison are a married couple who create photographs about man interacting with nature. Their work is very environmentally-conscious. They often intertwine humans with nature, using sticks, dirt, water and even animals themselves.
            In the Architect’s Brother series, there are men pulling up the earth as though is stadium turf, a man with a sort of a lightening rod and wood suit gazing at distant lightning, a man with a cage and flying birds tied to his arms, and a man marching towards a fiery path armed with water balloons. There are men lighting bulbs planted in the earth, blowing and planting flower seeds across the earth, and surveying their future conquest: the Earth.
            In the Gray Dawn series, at first glance the viewer sees wallpaper with a butterfly pattern, but upon closer inspection, the butterflies are actually all nailed to the wall, as evidenced by the lower right corner’s blurry arms and hammer. The butterflies, normally a beautiful and peaceful creature, become gruesome with their dripping blood. Another photo in this series, a man is sitting across from a bird, which although not caged, is tethered to him. There is a fan between the two of them, and in the dim, dingy lighting, I can only think of an interrogation room. Does the man expect the bird to speak, or to attempt to fly in the feeble wind? Perhaps the ParkeHarrison’s are making a statement on domesticating exotic animals.
            Their newer work is no less environmentally adamant. This set seems to seal man and nature together, for better or for worse. There are people feeding bees honey, sprouts growing from a man’s arms, humans spreading pollen, and a flowers growing from a planter of a human arm.
            Some are much creepier than others. There is a photo of a man with his ear pressed to the ground and eyes glancing downward. The image is a cut-away of the earth, so we see him listening, and two feet below, we see the same man, but paler, glaring directly at the camera. Is this a prediction of his future dead self? Although buried among dirt, he does not look peaceful or at all content with his surroundings. And why does his alive self simply listen, and not attempt to connect with his dead self?
            The ParkeHarrison’s also deal with a lot of technical aspects. They make beautiful photogravure prints. They have an amazing sense of natural and studio lighting. They pay great amounts of attention to the composition of their lines. They frequently blur their figures, but it successfully conveys the mood they intended. I think their Architect’s Brother series is the most successful. The pictures are very uniform with each other with the stylistic sepia-toned photogravures, yet each one is very different by the subject and the subject matter. With their gray lighting and vast expanses surrounding each of the characters and scenes, it makes the environment look very grim and hopeless, which is precisely their point.
            With all of their warnings about human-abuse on the environment, and the rising popularity of the green movement, I wonder what their future work will show. 

"Night Garden."

Songs & Videos:

Prairie Fires that Wander About - Sufjan Stevens (YouTube)

Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell (YouTube)

Streets of Fire - The New Pornographers (HypeMachine)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

An Ode to Wood Grain

My favorite pattern is wood grain. It's a really relaxing, organic pattern to work with, & I often end up sketching it. Here's a collection of some of my past wood-patterned pieces, & my fascination with dendrochronology.

Door, 2007. Wood, Wire, Bulbs, Paper, Pen & Ink.

Door (Detail), 2007. Wood, Wire, Bulbs, Paper, Pen & Ink.

Scarf, 2008. Dye on Silk.

Stump, 2009. Fabric, EL Wire, Metal.

Piano Hands, 2004. Colored Pencil.

Bricks (Detail), 2007. Paper.

Sketches, 2010. Pen & Ink.
You can also purchase a print of this on my Etsy!

Sketchbook Notes, 2008. Pen & Ink.

The Honeoye Canoe, 2008. Digital Photo.

Songs (YouTube):

Woodgrain - Modest Mouse

Woodgrain - Wilco

Woods- Bon Iver

Ragged Wood - Fleet Foxes

Friday, August 13, 2010

I Love Puns Way Too Much

You know you would take your dog here.

Songs (All links lead to YouTube): 

Great Dane - Mates of State

My Dog Was Lost But Now He's Found - The Fiery Furnaces

Dog Rules - Tom Chapin

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Geometry & Science of Pasta

The Geometry of Pasta, by Caz Hildebrand & Jacob Kenedy (Quirk Books), is coming out on the 17th of August. I am quite excited about it. A self-described "pastatarian," I am enamored of the endless amounts of shapes of noodles. I like the designs, the detailed ridges & miniscule patterns that form in each piece of pasta.

I would like to learn to make pasta from scratch with such intricate designs. I've never made it out of flour, but here is an electric version: My neon farfalle, from the 31st Annual Museum of Luminous Phenomenon Outdoor Light Exhibition, 2008. (All of the farfalle are filled with neon gas. The fork has argon gas & mercury.)


Noodles - Suburban Kids With Biblical Names (iLike)

Baby's Got Sauce - G. Love & Special Sauce (YouTube)

Spaghetti Western Swing (Instrumental) - Brad Paisley (

The Electric Version - The New Pornographers (YouTube)