Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cluster 1

Cluster 1: Strategies for Design or,
Notan, The Bauhaus, De Stijl, DIY, and You

Timeline: Approx. 3 weeks—Tuesday, September 2 - Friday, September 19

Project specifications:


"The world is complex, dynamic, multidimensional; the paper is static, flat. How are we to represent the rich visual world of experiences and measurement on mere flatland?"
(Tufte, 9) Do we all read compositions in the same way? Are there common approaches in your drawings that you do now, and that you've done all your life?

Working initially through drawing and paper cutting, you will design multiple experiments (Rocks and Water, Expanding the Square, and Letterform Transformations) by taking apart forms and reconfiguring them to explore an array of organizational strategies. Following these series, each class member will design a spread, or two-page layout (utilizing works you've just made) that will then be assembled into a zine; a print collaboration across the class, traded through Foundations. Then, switching scale (moving to a sheet as tall as your body, or taller perhaps), you will extract a selection from the previous works and expand it, responding to the composition in this new, enlarged format.

The propositions (or exercises) here are designed to be cumulative; each component will inform the next, producing a layered, fluid introduction to some of the language we will be utilizing throughout this course. In our observational discussions, we will be questioning the complex relationships between these different studies and proposing ways they may influence one another. How do you translate your ideas about a work from one medium to another, and what may that translation suggest for your viewer?

Components of the cluster:
*Rocks and Water, description in class

*Expanding the Square, further description and examples in class

*Letterform Transformations: Using either stencil or a letterform of your choosing, design a composition that is 75% positive, and moves through four (4) stages to become 75% negative. Each stage will be run in an edition of three (3); four stages, three prints each equals twelve (12) prints total (4 x 3 = 12).

*Zine or, a collection of prints and related writings (the link to Zine World has a good overview in pdf, titled "Zine 101: A Quick Guide to Zines"): We will be designing a collaborative print project--a zine--that will include works from every class member. These pages will be duplicated, assembled, bound, and disseminated throughout the classes. As a designer in this collective process, you will be responsible for making a spread (or layout) of two pages--one is a print taken from the Letterform Transformation, the other a text-based *response* to that image. This visual response will extend from your process book writings; you may choose to include a copy of your own writings, further develop a piece you've already written, or perhaps the process of partnering an image with text may lead you to assembling new, found writings in the form of a text-collage. Final size is 8.5" (height) x 11" (width), with each page 8.5" x 5.5". The final work will be staple-bound in the middle of your spread, orientation will be horizontal.

*Painting to Scale, further description in class.

Instruments for drawing, black construction paper, scissors, Xerox machine, vellum, ruler, Bristol board or heavy weight white paper (as mounting), adhesives (Mod podge/glue stick/masking tape), acrylic paint, brushes, gesso. Other materials as needed.

Artists for discussion:
Guillaume Appollinaire, Jean Arp, Lee Krasner, Sol LeWitt, Frank Stella, Donald Sultan, Joel Shapiro, Miranda July, John Baldessari, Mel Bochner, Agnes Martin, Hanne Darboven, Robert Motherwell, Franz Kline, Henri Matisse, Angus Fairhurst, M/M Paris, Sarah Morris, Michael Spafford, Christopher Wool, Jasper Johns, John Cage, and Glenn Ligon, among others.

Further Readings:
Albers, Josef. "VI: Elements". Despite Straight Lines. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1980.
Bochner, Mel. 1967. "The Serial Attitude". Artforum 6, no. 4 (December): 28–33.
Burroughs, William S. "The Cut-Up Method of Brion Gysin." <http://www.ubu.com/papers>
Perry, Michael, ed. Hand Job: A Catalog of Type. Princeton Architectural Press, 2007.
Serra, Richard. Verb List. < http://www.ubu.com/concept/serra_verb.html>
Tufte, Edward. Envisioning Information. Cheshire: Graphics Press, 1990.
van Doesburg, Theo. "Towards a plastic architecture". Translation of original published in De Stijl, XII, 6/7,1924. Architecture & CAAD.

Tentative Schedule:

Approx. 3 weeks: Tuesday, September 2 - Friday, September 19

Week 1, September 2-5
Tues/Wed: Introduction to syllabus. Introduction to Foundations facilities, lab hours, studio policies, safety procedures (facilitated by Jessica Bender), and materials. Introduce Process Book. Notan exercises (rocks/water, expanded square), as described above.
Thurs: Continue Notan exercises
Fri, 9/7: Artist lectures: Ruthie Tomlinson, Kristen Ramirez, Marc Dombrosky, Jessica Bender

Week 2, September 8-12
Mon/Tues: Drawing letterform compositions as preliminary studies for printing.
Wed/Thurs: Reduction printing (using 4" x 6" EZ cut).
Fri: Field trip to Olympic Sculpture Park or Suyama Space (TBA). Drawing intensive, focusing on sculptural works and their context (their relationship to their environment).

Week 3, September 15-19
Mon/Tues: Zine layout: students bring their spread to class for meeting and assembly.
Wed/Thurs: Tall painting: scaling,cropping letterform compositions, exploring composition.
Fri: Interclass observational discussions on painting projects and zines, zine trade

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