Monday, February 28, 2011

My Design Style...

I would actually have to say I have not really figured out my "design style,"
or how to describe it.
What I do know is I love photographing mostly in color, and love a lot of color contrast and texture. I really enjoy photographing nature/animals
and people as you can see in the pictures I have taken shown in this blog.

Design Asthetic

When I think of my taste in design, my mind goes to a few things in particular. One, pattern and repetition. I love the feeling of time that it shows through multiplying and the detail of many little things put together makes me feel comfortable. I'm incredibly drawn to monochromatic things. My outfits are sometimes too monochromatic and as a friend once lovingly put it, i end up "looking like a turd." That is, if I'm wearing brown. I love how multiple shades of one color put together can evoke a sense of development and wholeness. And it always compliments itself. I am really attracted to small delicate details wrapped up in larger schemes. I'm also really drawn to lines. Especially lines that are repeated and take up space in interesting ways. A cool striped t-shirt is always on my list. I'll stop referencing clothing now. But, now that I think of it, the things I like in design are things I appreciate in fashion. Texture and mixing varieties of texture within monochromatic schemes is also something I love to see. If it's fuzzy, smooth, rough, bumpy, and all white, I'm all for it.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Elizabeth Peyton’s 1998 lithograph titled “Boise” stands out amidst a crowded, salon-style wall of postmodern prints in the Walker Art Center’s 50/50 exhibit. The liberal use of bright lavender in Payton’s androgynous portrait is initially jarring, but becomes endearing as the eye adjusts. Heavy, hasty brush strokes in her subject’s coat create weight and motion and point us toward the face. When we arrive there, we enjoy resting in the careful detail of a soft, warm, contemplative gaze. Taking notice of a pair of feminine, crimson lips, Peyton’s focal point becomes apparent. This pivotal detail infuses a work which would otherwise seem nondescript with questions about gender, sexuality, and relationships.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

You've got to scroll down the site a bit to see the content but this is an exhibit where people are painted with acrylic to look as though they are part of a painting. It looks really cool!
Here's the link

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Horror Vacui

When first entering David Zink Yi's video installation at Midway Contemporary Art viewers are smacked with darkness accompanied by two floor-to-ceiling projections on a wide V-shaped floorplan. As your eyes  adjust to the cave-like darkness the first projection appears. The rhythm of the drum envokes a natural reaction to move to the beat. Soon after the second projection appears with women dressed in faded, out-dated threads swaying and chanting to the drums fading beat. The viewer is caught in between the rhythm of the drum and the women, trying to match the tempo. The feeling of emptiness upon entering the room quickly vanishes as the installation distracts the viewer from any preconceived  fear of emptiness.

the loss of a great man, a 3D artists, and my sculpture instructor

Rest in Peace  Michael Bigger. You taught me to love of sculpture, make it big, big shapes and shiny.... sometimes rusty. 

I'll miss you forever tough guy

Monday, February 21, 2011


The entrance to David Zink Yi’s video instillation is dimly lit and evokes a feeling of fear. Once you enter the illusion of fear continues as the room is pitch black with two massive screens. As well as the room invoking fear, the feeling produced by being a tiny person in a huge room with nothing but two screens is quite unsettling. However once the instillation begins you are treated to a different atmosphere than what was expected.
Suddenly, your vision and sound are overwhelmed by a drummer who appears on the left screen. Zink Yi shoots the drummer in a sepia tone. As the drummer continues drumming, the right screen begins to show an image of three women moving to some unseen music.
Zink Yi places emphasis on the act of the music and the human interaction which occurs during the making of these things by zooming in on these figures. Technology as well the inferences our brain makes is an important part of this instillation. Because as you are watching this scene it is unclear whether these women are dancing to the music being created by the drummer or dancing to some unheard music of their own.
Zink Yi’s multi-cultural lineage plays an important role in his depiction of the Afro-Cuban musical culture.  What could have taken a patronizing tone instead takes an inspirational tone regarding Afro-Cuban culture.
Image Courtesy of:


Upon first entering David Zink Yi's exhibition at Midway Contemporary Art, viewers are accosted with a ceramic giant squid lying defeated on the floor. Its deflated eyes are covered with a lead and copper glaze that give them the accurate appearance of a decomposing eyeball. And once the 16-foot monster has finally registered, the feeling of awe is replaced with shame.
The title of the exhibition, Horror Vacui, translates to a fear of emptiness. This emptiness takes on many forms for David Zink Yi, the empty gaze of a rotting ceramic squid, the horrible tendrils of a tree reaching out of an endless void, the room where he shows two videos, simultaneously and in complete darkness. Each "emptiness" is completely different, yet they all evoke fear or unease in participants.
From a distance, the photos mounted on the walls facing the squid's carcass appear to be black and white prints. As the viewer steps closer, vivid greens are revealed within the needles on the branches. A feeling of unease creeps through the viewer as they begin to realize that the background of each photograph is a vacuous black, sucking any hues into its gaping maw and out of sight. The photos are brimming with tree branches reaching every which way, yet they feel so empty. These photos are of a tree in mourning, reaching for a fallen giant, cruelly put on display and given no respect. At this point, viewers see why they have felt shame for staring intently at a ceramic giant squid lying in a puddle of black, cracked corn syrup, it's dead. People are standing around it and speculating on what went into the creation of this piece, how it was installed and what it means, overlooking the argument they are proving: people are losing their respect for the dead, they are becoming desensitized to death and violence.
After leaving the squid, participants enter a room through a glass door, into complete darkness. Three benches are placed along the walls of an L-shaped room, situated in such a way that onlookers can only view one of the two videos comfortably from any given seat. The fear of this dark room is overwhelming, people could come into contact with anything in this uncontrolled environment. Anyone could trip over a purse or brush against another person's thigh, and this possibility, in a dark and empty room lit only by flickering projections, is terrifying. It is to orient oneself to view both videos equally (the video and audio from both recordings are lined up, but cut in and out, sometimes overlapping.) In addition to disorientation, the emptiness of the room leaves participants vulnerable.
This exhibition as a whole was created not to portray a fear of emptiness, but the fear in emptiness.

Horror Vacui

Upon walking into David Zink Yi's "Horror Vacui" exhibit at Midway Contemporary art, it doesn't take long for the pink elephant in the room to catch your eye. In this case the pink elephant is not pink or an elephant at all. It is a giant squid.

An eighteen foot long ceramic squid lies all alone in the center of the first room at Midway. At first glance he appears to be lying in some sort of black liquid. It is shiny like patent leather but has begun to crack and crystalize like sugar. At the very edge of the actually dry puddle it drifts off into some clear blue that shows maybe this is actually the ocean water she comes from.

Along the walls are 3 photographs of Cedar trees. To most the thought of photographed trees is quite elementary and boring, but these are neither. One could almost shiver at the eeriness conveyed by the lonely branches. A bright light shows only a small portion of the otherwise dark-as-night photos. This leaves you wondering just what is in the distance. A similar feeling you note when looking at the dark puddle underneath the lone squid.

"Horror Vacui" in English translates to "Fear of Emptiness." A fear of loneliness seams to also rise to the surface when staring at the poor giant squid. One can't help but picture how beautiful such a large creature would look like swimming through the dark ocean. It feels so vulnerable and exposed. It is hard to know just how such a large, heavy creature found it's way into the cold gallery, but it seems hard not to tell people to stop looking.

Horror Vacui Exhibit

When you enter German artist David Zink Ti's exhibit, entitled "Horror Vacui", the most obvious component is the 18ft squid in the center of the room. Its limp sprawl, and the corn syrup mixture in which the squid is lying makes it immediately apparent that the squid isn't alive. "Horror Vacui", meaning fear of emptiness is completely appropriate and each feature seems to only accentuate it.

The sight of the giant squid, completely humbled in stature, is accompanied by four large portraits on each wall. The photos feature brush from one particular tree that was noted to terrify the artist. We were told that he couldn't find a tree that made him feel this way after much searching. The branches seem to reach out of the center of the photo from an abyss of darkness in an undefined place. From the other room music can be heard, but context is not apparent. It's as though civilization is just out of reach, upbeat rhythms play and we are trapped on the outside, in a room with a very dead ceramic squid.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Horror Vacui

No room containing a 16-foot squid has ever been so vacant. German artist David Zink Yi obviously intended to underwhelm the senses with his exhibition “Horror Vacui,” or “fear of emptiness,” at the Midway gallery in Northeast Minneapolis.

His primary display is comprised of a cement floor, an intentionally industrial ceiling, four walls, as many overhead light fixtures, three 5 foot by 6.5 foot photographs, and one colossal, ceramic invertebrate. As if to help the void in the room make a sucking sound, Yi named all his works “Untitled.”

The artist’s photographs serve as portals into the surrounding abyss. Shadowy, white bows of a cedar tree loom out like arms from a jet black background and a thin, black frame. The deflated centerpiece they encompass – whose body is dead, dry, and colorless – lies directly on the floor in a puddle of black ink.

One could say the squid, vomited up from the depths, brought residue of its netherworld habitat along with it. The neighboring tree limbs certainly mimic whatever might dwell with such a being a mile below the waterline. However, the focal point of the show is the unease felt by the viewer in such a starkly monochromatic, desolate space.

Photo via

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Horror, Vacui and Otherwise

Midway Contemporary Art Gallery's exhibition of new work by Berlin-based artist David Zink Yi takes its name, "Horror Vacui", from a 2-channel video installation which juxtaposes footage of a Cuban jazz band with scenes of worshipers performing religious dances.

It's a sly choice of name for an exhibition at Midway, where white walls and blank space are as much a part of the viewing experience as the art itself: "horror vacui" describes the fear of empty spaces that leads some artist to fill the entire surface of their artworks with detail. For those so inflicted, the modern art gallery is undoubtedly a place to be feared--and indeed, the bulk of the exhibition produces a subtle, disorienting sense of unease.

In addition to the video, which with its feast of noise and color may be the antidote to horror vacui, the exhibition features three spooky, close-cropped photographs of a cedar tree as well as a large ceramic sculpture depicting a dead Architeuthis, a genus of giant squid that has long been the subject of myth, legend, and primordial fear.

The squid lies thick and limply in the center of the gallery floor, a mass of flesh and tentacles rendered in grotesque detail. It's a strange and beautiful sight: the creature's ceramic skin, dull and pockmarked, glitters in spots where the artist has coated it with copper and lead. The squid, it seems, has only just washed up on shore and is drying up before our very eyes, crusting over like a worm caught off guard on a sunny stretch of pavement. An ice-like pool of dried corn syrup surrounding the squid contributes to the illusion of wetness and recent death. It's an artwork that makes the viewer feel like a gawker, staring at something fragile and terrible that should perhaps not be stared at. But, still, we stare: in the end, whatever fear the creature inspires is far less frightening than the fear--the horror--of staring at nothing at all.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Design Style

My design style is probably best described as rustic-modern. I love the juxtaposition of clean lines and stark contrast with vintage materials and saturated colors. Wood type, glazed leather, aged copper, vinyl records, and limestone from the 70s all thrill me. Pretty much anything bold, textured, and crisp. Im drawn to simple shapes and I totally subscribe to the minimalist philosophy that what’s not there is just as important as what is. Hopefully all of that is represented in the photos I took.

P.S. I want this couch (and a beautiful craftsman house to put it in):

Matt V - Photos


I am usually drawn to groupings of things. This shows in the variety of drains I shot. I also like unexpected details, like the blue salt dust on the top of the pipe drain. I also love buildings and how much they speak for themselves. I also like the idea that you can suggest a physical feeling in the photos. Like the steam coming from the vent shows how it may have felt to be standing near it.

I took these pictures today

I think it's interesting that people see humor in these images. I didn't mean them to be humorous; I was just shooting the things that appealed to me. I wonder if people who don't know me would consider them funny: is the humor inherent in the images, or is it an example of conflating the artist with the art? 


I think I just ROFLed.

I like lone (lonely?) objects, isolated from their settings. I worry about that tendency. It borders on the boring. But I guess the boring--the mundane, the everyday, the easily overlooked--is what I'm most interested in. As I mentioned in class, I'm drawn to narrative and images of people, and I believe this interest is manifested in the photos I took. Some of these objects, in particular the fire hydrant and the chair, have figure-like elements--you can imagine the fire hydrant as a grubby kid playing in a snow bank, or the chair as a middle aged lady with a frumpy sense of funk. Others--the cigarette in the cubby hole, the pencil sharpener--give you the impression they're just waiting around hoping someone will use them. They're like those Toy Story toys--their inanimate lives are made meaningful, and therefore animate, by their usefulness to humankind. 

As for the fast-food basket and the clothing drop off with the pile of junk next to it, what can I say? I'm just fascinated by other people's trash.