On My Way
My work involves oil painting and printmaking that pursue a storytelling approach based on my personal experience. They are images of intimate spaces: a dim corner of a bathroom, a passage way in the desert, or a weight scale in a men’s changing space. These are often fleeting moments with places of passage, of maintenance, rather than destinations. Light is shined on the often ignored. Viewers are confronted with these familiar, echoing moments and yet the moments are so ordinary and intimate that one can feel embarrassed and toe-curling to talk about. My attitude towards these works is to set up a conversational ploy that makes you curious and interested in exploring these mundane subjects. My visual attraction to the country at night comes from the lights that are found from cars’ headlights, street lights and the moon. These lights are unsubstantial and transient and yet to give shapes and entrances to the hollowing darkness, for brief moments. The presence of people is often implied and it tells the elusive and impermanent story rather than a solidified or linear narrative. The story has no hero. Often, in the past, I was fascinated with unpeopled scenes where human presence is implied. The literariness and theatricality become intrinsic when the objects in silence wanted a story. However, my flirtation with just empty places became unsatisfying. I want to also evoke the literal world by incorporating some traces of humans, to suggest the intimacy of these transient and impermanent moments. In between the interaction between the subjects, objects and figure, is where I hope the conversation would occur. The oil paintings are an extension of the world of the etchings. They are explorations of both formal and informal aspects of the images, such as perspectives, reflections, theatrics and so on. While the process of the making of the etchings was a meditation for me to embrace the everyday scene, it was inevitable when the desire to reach some destination starts creeping in. The paintings therefore reach beyond the ambiguity, emptiness, and symbolic meanings of the images, and become brief moments of satisfaction. All of the scenes I depicted are inspired by my experience in Ithaca. The process of creating these works is to deal with the issue created by the familiarity of perceiving the city everyday. I moved in to Ithaca two years ago and as the novelty wears off, I start to experience the city as if it was separate from me, I was navigating the city as if it was a necessary and consuming process that I had to go through to a destination. What if I made images without the focus on the subject/object dichotomy with which we usually perceive the world, but rather, on things I would miss out on, the moments of being on those journeys, hence the title of the show—On my way.
Ostendarp, Carl A.; Ferro, Renate
Master of Fine Arts
dissertation or thesis