Erin Jane Nelson
To: Parallelograms
Sun, Dec 8, 2013 at 8:59 PM

Hi Guys,

Glad to hear that you're liking the collages. I'll try to give you a little background for the decision making.I've been thinking for the last couple of years about my relationship to generating content vs. generating forms (like making an image or sculpture versus making a coffee shop or a live stream of a still life) or how the two can be married. Until recently, I had primarily a cognitive studio space (like trying to get away from simply playing with materials which was feeling shallow and too consumptive). But I'm a very tactile-driven person, so I took up pottery to give myself a space to be totally thinking about form, color, material surface and I always throw alone and just think about all my other projects and remember things. Active meditation.

In school I was writing a lot about my family and making a lot of work about materials and memories that I specifically relate to "familyness." It's a very vanilla/middle class impulse, but I feel like it's this weird baggage of being a child of the nineties with super supportive parents and dealing with certain psychosexual guilt and constantly being sequestered into some "woman artist" domain that I find problematic. Like despising this constant draw back to the domestic and always wanting to both give that space power and destroy it all together. Ex-riot girl grief. But I also think this work comes out of that family fear or family guilt. Like, when most of the impulses I have are extremely obscure and at times a little too evil and fucked up to put in a world that my family also exists in. But the funny thing is that now I'm a potter, I can just let that world be the public production that I am often in conversation with my family about. Like sending them pictures of bowls and cups and vases instead of piece of experimental theater or fucked up erotic writing. And even before adopting clay in a major way, many of my first jobs out of school were serendipitously related to ceramics even though it's something I barely even dabbled in during undergrad. So, I've been thinking a lot about what clay/pots mean in the scheme of everything I make. On top of that, I've been really trying to exist artistically AFK (away from keyboard) because I felt like the production of documentation and web-ready versions of images was such a huge and kind of soul-sucking part of how I made things from age 14-22. So part of getting away from that self-imposed pressure was also "divorcing" image production because I was having a lot of anger and dissatisfaction with photography (or at least my weird old-fashion approach to it). I did a book with Nick Gottlund that was essentially my moratorium on making images for a while. But it's funny--I still love photography and work as the Digital Archivist at Fraenkel Gallery and literally look at photographs all day. After kind of pushing off image-making, I slowly started coming back to it in really quiet and private way. I've been making these "re-works" and other "collages" for the last two years. It started with these really acidy, intense colors and then kind of moved into this more grayscale things-- which is almost exactly the arc of my years making film photographs. So that's kind of the biographical tip I'm coming from. Apologies for the long-windedness this is the first time I'm articulating all these connections in any kind of didactic way and it's a bit blahhhhhh. And on top of that, the famophobia is actually just a coded way of talking about a more general anxiety of influence and context that I think becomes such a big part of how one emerges into being an artist. I also feel like getting into a public mode of making WAY too young got me into these camps and contexts that I think I'm extremely wary of--or even deeply opposed to. I've done a number of shows at various obscure artist-run spaces since I left undergrad and New York, but this project with you guys will be my first re-entry into the world of making images for an internet public and I'm kind of anxious about it. Sorry, I think this is just getting really confessional and rambling. I just feel like after 8 years of really arbitrary and rampant production for the internet (from despondent teenage girl livejournal posts to shirking super cool curated opportunities with really unconsidered and half-baked work), I really want this to be a bizarre/expansive/difficult project. I've been thinking a lot about the images you sent and why, while I really like several of them, there are some that I really hate and make me angry (i mean I kind of love and despise all of them) and I felt like they were the perfect example of these "inherited" sensibilities of the way I used to make work. Like colors and flora/fauna and domesticity but also just pure formalism and materiality. And that feeling of attraction/shame/love/anger is soooo much also the experience of family.