Ross School - Senior Project 2007-08
Student: Claire D. Lucido
Mentor: Dr. Therese Lichtenstein
Title: Winter Pictures
For my Senior Project I did a series of oil paintings, drawings, and short stories. My artwork and stories are a sort of map or timeline of the evolution of my thoughts, though this was not my intention in beginning my project. I only began to truly understand what my product was about in the last few weeks of my project. During my project I closely studied the work of Gerhard Richter, Ingmar Bergman and Flannery O’Connor. Dr. Lichtenstein, Ms. Cross and Mr. Frankel helped me immensely in my project.
This is a shot of my gallery space on opening night. On the table at the end of the room are the short stories that I wrote.
This is one of the drawings I did for my senior project. The title of it is “Mountain Men”. It is nine inches by eleven inches tall. It was done in graphite.
This is a portion of a nine foot scroll that I made in my project. I did the scroll on brown butcher paper, painted it in an acrylic wash, let it dry, and drew on it. The title of the scroll is “FĆrö”.
For my project, I did a series of paintings and drawings and short stories. It wasn't difficult deciding what I wanted to do for my project. I always knew that it would have to be something having to do with art. My first idea was that I would read various short stories from authors that I like, such as Tolstoy, Flannery O'Connor, Chekhov and others, and then I would make art inspired by them. This means that I would illustrate a scene or a character, or make art about a theme in the stories.
During my project, I wasn't really sure of my goals. My goals were very vague, but I mainly wanted to feel proud of myself in the end. My goals went from piece to piece. When I would start working on a painting, drawing, or a story, my goal at that time would be all about that specific thing.
I realized through my project that I'd never make anything that great if it didn't come through me – that all the things I would do, based around Tolstoy stories would just be illustrations, not art. Besides, the stories already exist and are better on their own than any illustration anyone could make. So after all of this, I decided to make art for my project that is completely mine. That is about things that I am about. It was a challenge realizing this.
I decided to do short stories as well, because I really like writing stories. I hadn't done much writing before, and I wanted to see how far I could take it. The writing and the art are not related in obvious ways. The art stands on its own, and it's not about the stories or the characters, but they are in fact related. They are related in that the stories come from the same place in my psyche that some of my art does. The long scroll of Faro, and the very small drawing of the mountain men come from the same place that the stories come from. The things I did that came out of that particular place in me are the best things that I did in the project, because they are the most authentically me.
The feeling I had while creating the scroll was very different from how I created the painting Moscow, and the painting of the girl in red, and the large mountain men drawing on canvas. Those things were all my hands, and I disliked doing them. I hated making the Moscow painting. None of that stuff came through me, and I don't feel attached to any of those. The scroll however, was so easy for me, it all just came out, and I felt some calm and happy while I was doing it, and I didn't care if people like it or not. I feel so attached to that scroll, and I could have it hanging in my room and show it to no one, and it would still be so gratifying to me. The Moscow painting is the opposite. That painting was not part of myself, or for myself, it was for others, but I'm glad I did it though. I had to do it, to see what it felt like to do a nothing painting. I had to get that out of my system. I know what it feels like to do a shallow, purely aesthetic painting, and I know how to make art that is better than that, and now that I know how they both feel, I can choose.
I am very influenced by the music of Richard and Mimi Farina, The Watersons, and the films of Ingmar Bergman in particular. I am especially influenced by the island where Bergman shot many of his films, Faro. I am also very influenced and inspired by nature; snow mostly. I really love snow, and everything about snow, and everything that it evokes. I love the way snow makes me feel. These are not the only things, but they're some of the big ones. Anyways, all of these things don't literally come out or are shown in my art or short stories, in obvious ways, (except for the snow, and Faro) but I think that everything I experience, all my memories, and all the movies I love, and the songs that I love, I think that they all sort of melt into me, and settle, like some kind of sediment in my brain that just lays there, but is definitely there. And I think that the sediment in me makes itself shown in ways that I can't even pinpoint, myself. And so in that respect, the stories and the art are definitely related, because they came from the same person, with that same sediment. Back to Faro, that's probably the most obvious one that influenced me in my art and my writing, but not only that. It's something bigger than my art and my writing, it's something that I think is central in myself and my mind right now.
Faro has really shown up in my writing a lot, not in the words, but in the moods and undercurrents of them. Faro is a very small island on the northern most tip of Gotland, which is a an island off the eastern coast of Sweden. All over the island on the beaches are these enormous, jagged, strangely shaped rock formations, and the island is very desolate, and mean looking. It's very sharp and strong. In Bergman's films, the island is never talked about, or is evident in the story, but it's there, and it's silent. And the movies wouldn't be the same, the characters wouldn't be the same, and the movies wouldn't work if they were in a different place. If they took place in a city or town somewhere. There is intense description of surroundings and colors and clothing and smells and things in my stories, and lack of emotional narrative, or lack of descriptions of how people are feeling and thinking, in my stories, but I don't think that the stories are not emotional, and I don't think they're dry. I think that the dense description of the visual, of the environment, effects the reader, and effects the characters, and has power over the readers emotions, power over the emotions the reader thinks the characters has, through the power of evocation. In Bergman's films often the most profound, or disturbing or beautiful moments are those when nothing is said. What is left unsaid is often a lot more powerful than that which is plainly laid out. I think that words can never really truly describe emotions, though they can come very close,I think that maybe if you don't describe the emotions with words, but with images and sensations, it could be more emotional. Silence is very important. Anyway, the feeling and the moods that come out of the island Faro, are shown in my characters. The silence of the island, but the power of it, and how the island shows itself in the people who inhabit it is very beautiful to me.
There is not one theme or message that you can put on the whole project. I don't see this as a disadvantage. I think that it is necessary. This project is more of a chapter in the very very long process of finding something to say. I think that it takes many many years, even a whole life time to find something that it worth saying, and I have not found a message that I think is worth expressing through my art yet. This project has been a chapter of myself, trying to figure myself out, trying to figure art out. I don't feel great about every piece I did, but I think that the pieces of art that I did in this project, even before my project, have just been part of the process, leading up to Faro.
Cross, Jennifer. Personal interview. Fall 2007.
Cross, Jennifer. Personal interview. Winter 2007-2008.
Cuttica, Eugenio. Personal interview. 16 Jan. 2008.
Frankel, Mark. Personal interview. Jan. 2008.
Lichtenstein, Therese. Personal interview. Fall 2007.
Lichtenstein, Therese. Personal interview. Winter 2007-2008.
Joyce, James. Dubliners. London: Dover Publications, 1996.
Richter, Gerhard. Gerhard Richter: The Daily Practice of Painting. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd., 1995.
Community Member (Details)
Eugenio Cuttica was my outside consultant for my senior project. Mr. Cuttica is a famous painter and active member of the Hamptons community and art world here and in Argentina. He has a lot of interesting ideas about art, artists and the art world. He was my teacher in March 2007 for M-Term. After this course, I knew that I would have to talk to Mr. Cuttica about my senior project in the following year, because of his knowledge of art.