Friday, September 23, 2011

fly on the wall.

Yesterday in a comment a reader interested in understanding my work better asked:

Why are you always depicting yourself and others as sleeping/laying down? As your work is autobiographical, it seems like a way to disconnect yourself from the person/the emotion. There is no communication or eye contact. Like a fly on the wall - looking on but not getting involved.

waking with you in which the figures eyes are open and gazing towards the open space of the bed, this space is filled with text that refers to the yearning for a lover, so in essence she gazes at that absent lover.

Partially my answer is that currently I am working on a series of sleeping figures for a solo show next fall and therefore the last 3 pieces and at least 5 more will be of this subject. This series was inspired by the process of making waking with you... (above) and being very attracted to the sprawled position of the sleeping body how it simultaneously is angelic and crucified in shape, peaceful and deathlike in presence, therefore having a strong dichotomy much as the bed does. These particular pieces are less about the individual and more about the sleeping form specifically and the vulnerable of the in between that we are in as "Sleeper." Both the top piece and gaze were also made with this show in mind.

detail of touch.

I disagree with the statement that there is no communication- if their are 2 subject matters there is always an interaction of either touch or gaze. My work is about intimacy not communication, partially because communication of some kinds can actually create confusion and conflict where as touch is to me the most honest form of interaction. My work is specifically about what happens in between the day to day interaction and in moments where we lack inhibition. For example how a husbands hand might rest on his wifes back while he sleeps, or perhaps instead he turns away and creates distance between them.

I prefer the figure at rest as they again are more vulnerable in this moment. When one is lounged and at rest this is when they are they are the least self-conscious but also is the easiest time to harm them. Therefore another interesting moment of conflict and contradiction.

this piece is titled gaze as the mother gazes at her child.

I have absolutely done a number of images with the figures eye open and a few where they are not laying down. Often the eyes are down cast gazing at the "other" this is hard to see in images of the work but is evident in the work itself. I have no problem with including open eyes but those eyes should not necessarily have eye contact with you, the viewer, as your are glimpsing into a moment, as the viewer you are not part of the moment and I have no interest in implicating you- if I did so the intimate interaction of the figures or the individual would be invaded.

in each image the father and child look at each other, this image being very much about their gaze.

Generally I do not have the figures looking at each other as, so far, the work has been more about one figure and the "other" not the "couple." I do not see this as something that will not change and have actually thought about it a number of times and have done a few pieces where this is not the case... perhaps this is a direction that I may go but I still doubt the figures would be making eye direct contact much. In reality most of us avoid it during moments of intimacy and deep exchange as it becomes too intense. For instance in tantra they have you look at your lovers eyes- stare into their eyes for long periods before you ever do anything else. The reason they have you do this is because generally we do not- we avoid this level of knowing each other. So if I am honest about the current state of intimacy- there is often a little loneliness within love.

a piece where both figures have open eyes, the male stares directly out of the picture distancing him. But it is titled the touch as to me the most telling moment in the image is how the female's hands touch the man trying to bring him back in.

I plan 2 large scale images of a couple interacting on the couch but most likely at least one figure will still be lounged. In my experience this is when we are intimate; on the couch, in the bed, on the floor, on the green grass - these are the quite moments. I do feel these moments can also happen at a table over a meal but the meal and table comes with a lot of metaphorical baggage that has nothing to do with what I am talking about so it has not been explored yet.

to me this image communicates a lot through the hand touching the baby belly, it is about that interaction that form of communication between the 2 beings.

I also am deeply interested and inspired by the place of the bed in our life. This place where we spend so many hours and experience such depth of emotion from intimacy, pleasure. birth, to joy as well as sadness, loneliness, illness, and death- it, the place of the bed, encapsulates so much of the complexity of human life that I feel confident that it will continue to inspire and inform my work.

see my project waking with you, in which I photographed my bed every day for over 6 months.

"Like a fly on the wall - looking on but not getting involved. "
The work is a portrait of a moment. I, as the viewer and the artist have no interest in getting involved, it is not a statement for change. I simply want to document and love the moment. I am a fly on the wall -watching life.

a rare image of a standing figure. I have started others but never am inspired enough to finish.

I hope this helps you understand my work better and maybe even appreciate it more. Thanks for asking it was interesting to think about.

Check out more of my work at my site.


Roberta said...

What a great explanation of your work. I always enjoy seeing these pieces. There is so much to see in them.
I especially like your statement:

"This place where we spend so many hours and experience such depth of emotion from intimacy, pleasure. birth, to joy as well as sadness, loneliness, illness, and death- it, the place of the bed, encapsulates so much of the complexity of human life....."

Ami//Grinsted said...

one woord 'amazing' x

Ansie said...

Wow! What an answer! thank you Joetta.

The reason I asked was because of all the art I look at on the internet, your work is one of the few ones that really speak to me. Even though I still feel (rightly so) as an outsider looking in, I can feel the emotion. I think exposing your vulnerability like this is really brave. I would love to see your work in real life to also experience it in all 3 dimensions and with all the senses.

Thank you.

Joetta M. said...

thanks to all of you for your responses and thanks to Ansie for the great questions.


Anny said...

I think you are so incredible, Joetta! I find your work so inspiring and you really motivate me in my own work. I only recently discovered your work and this blog, but I am soooo very happy to keep seeing all the new work you produce! :]

julochka said...

this is great insight in your work, thank you for sharing it...i find these pieces very quiet, but very full at the same time. wonderful.

netamir said...

I follow your blog for a while and I love your your work. Your explanation, is fascinating and Thought-provoking as well. the bed, resting and sleeping are all so meaningful
while they are so daily , and there are so many point of view we can examine them through, so many associations, they provoke, so does the way you treat those things in your art.