Monday, August 16, 2010

Work of Fiction - The Next Top Áine Macken

Sooooooo I'm not sure you're aware, but, I, Áine Macken, have appalling taste in television. When I say appalling I obviously mean in relation to the judgement of others as to what I allow unfold before my eyes whilst ballooning into a blimp, when really I should be lunging to validate my burlesque career so that I'm no longer referred to as brave but rather as sexy... (give that lil tangent a wave! hi bitter tangent, are we feeling a little insecure this morning, hush now and take your clothes off, twill be very brave of you).... This appalling taste includes any Next Top Anything, the delightfully obsessive cocoon of big brother, Tyra Banks and her upper lip, expanding my vocabulary through watching Lauren Conrad dispense wisdom (MARRY ME.)..., however I'm not so fond of the singing ones, my distaste is akin to my morning breath for their DISARMING and HEARTBREAKING tales of bore involving their failed careers, dead family members, and crossed eyes, and the SONGS, oh do be silent and dispense wisdom in a condescending fashion like my two favers up there.

When I accidentally stumbled upon "Work of Art - The Next Great Artist.", (yes, it was whilst going to stream The Real L Word... I'M NOT ASHAMED), I thought... ooooh! OVERLAP, my serious life, and my boldie avoiding serious life combining in a reality televisual tantric orgasm of splendour! Wonderful! Well letmetellyouthis! Not only did this assist in future blimpage, but it ALSO, yes also, contributed to the fact that i am AGING, by furrowing my brow and having further necessity for those anti wrinkle creams my mother keeps giving me. How very dare you Bravo, how very dare you indeed.

Launched by Sarah Jessica Parker, (Yes, CARRIE, squeeeee, screeeeeam, everybody paint your nails, start getting-to-wonder, be a sexy horse, neigh for me.) as she is EXECUTIVE PRODUCER of the show.... widely known as a conceptual artist Sarah Jessica Parkers work lies mostly in dealing with socio-economic... oh no, wait, she has NOTHING to DO WITH ART, except for maybe having extortionate amounts of money to buy it, (which if you're reading this Carrie, which I'm sure you are, I have plenty of paintings for sale... CALL ME!)...

We are introduced to an array of KOOKEE KARACKTERS, lots of shexshy wimmin, a couple of weirdos (see below); some anti establishment i'm-a-builder-but-i'm-just-magically-good-at-art-stop-judging-me-or-i-will-flatten-you-with-my-expansive-chipped-shoulder, already 'established' artists, and a host of dubious judges from the art world in New York.
(now I'm most aware I'm a huge weirdo, and I adore weirdos, I did sense a sensationalist aspect to the "weirdo" here though, where it seemed somewhat exploitative and unconscious, particularly in relation to Nao, a literally shit artist, not that she's literally shitting, just simulating shitting of course, CANT GO TOO FAR.)

What irked me though, as I was indeed quite substantially irked, was that their final sentence upon awarding an artist as being the 'winner' from each challenge was that China Chow, the host, would repeat weekly "You really made a true work of Art". Now, though I did admire some of the art on display, (well when I say some, I actually mean only one artist, that being Peregrine Honig, (featured below)
she does some delicately touching and twisted imagery of which I am most fond. Check her oot.) UNFORTUNATELY FOR MY LOOKS, to a majority it was largely underwhelming, half baked, insincere work, and the eventual winners own work was condescending to the extent of my having to wince when hearing him assert his opinion on our socio economic condition through repetitive use of the word CRAAAAZY. Growl.

I'll stick to the High Art in Reality Television of Project Runway then... what would Tim say? THANK YOU MOOD.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pen Pal Pear Project

My work is involved in the Pen Pal Pear project at the Little Ghost Gallery in Kilkenny, opening this Friday the 6th of August to coincide with the Kilkenny Arts Festival.

This was a project where selected artists were combined in a visual pen pal partnership. We were encouraged by Anne Keenan and Mick Minogue (who run the gallery) not to do google searches, or email, or phone the other artist, and to literally post imagery to each other in order to create a piece for the eventual show.

I was placed with artist Stacey Shine, whose delicate insightful drawings dropped into my letterbox like little droplets of joy. I struggled a lot with the project as, though the materials with which we work are somewhat similar, I thought our concepts were vastly different.

It was when she sent me this image, that something began to resonate and I could see a language and dialogue with which we could begin to visually combine.

She didn't send me details of what was happening in the work. And this, for me, meant I could view it as an objective source, i.e. as a viewer, but the fact that I could respond to it, as an artist, meant that the project began to escalate. I addressed it as a young boy, smiling strangely and carrying a log. I found it curious and the children's illustrational style to it almost gave it that sumptuous play of being disturbing, which is integral to my own work.

My own work operates mostly within the tension between flattering portraiture, sincere emotion, the difficulty of depicting that through a liquid substance and to a majority, all of my source imagery originates from internet imagery. I'm interested in extremes, I'm interested in the horrific, I'm interested in the titillating nature of the eroticised image, I'm interested in genedered imagery... you would think all of these interests would make me interesting... at least my vocabulary is vast... at least I HAVE THAT.

Well, anywho, if you're INTERESTED! (yep, she uuuused it again) in seeing how we combined our work to create a finished cohesive piece - it actually only fell into place when we met up in Café Irie on Thomas Street and worked through everything we'd sent to each other - after the initial weird, oooh are you Stacey? moment... my first blind date!... the show runs until the 14th of August. (Incidentally it turns out that little boy carrying a log was a female construction worker from the second world war. Excellent!)

Here are two examples of pieces we sent to each other that may OR MAY NOT be in the show...;

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bunny's Hutch and Mackey being INAPPROPRIATE

I suppose bloggling forces you to be opinionated about certain things, to write out your ideas, and to eventually allow people to read these ideas... makes me feel a lirrul exposed, but sure who gives a fuck about my feelings.

Fast approaching is the first anniversary of my first ever 'burlesque' performance. I suppose what I do could be classified a lot more as cabaret, but I think I'm fascinated with burlesque, and not just for all the bootiful boobulars, but for the glamour, potency, subversion, titillation and intelligence that comes with it as an art form. It toys with the objectifying eye and subverts yet celebrates it. It's a duplicitous confusing form of performance, which, for me, makes it all the more sumptuous and intriguing.

Something I've always struggled with is my consistent inner dialogue of whether to suppress my narcissism and to maintain, nurture, and add fuel to my flaws. I really love this quote from Luce Irigaray, MY TOP FAVE PHILOSOPHER BABES; (I think she'd appreciate that eloquent introduction)

"...more than other senses, the eye objectifies and masters. it sets at a distance, maintains the distance. in our culture, the predominance of the look over smell, taste, touch, hearing, has brought about an improverishment of bodily relations...the moment domin ates the look dominates, the body loses its materiality”

There's something about the experience of performing that is equal parts objectifying and subverting, exposing and hiding, glamourising and de-mystifying yourself. It's simultaneously the most exhilarated and terrified I've ever been. I agonize and question myself and my motivations for putting myself in this position, I curse myself for not being thinner, not making my face look nicer, I CURSE FACEBOOK PHOTO TAGS. But I'm also weirdly impressed with myself for being so brazen... for just saying fuck it so I'm a bit fat, I'm still ridey!

I'm going to be introducing a brand new performance at Bunny's Hutch in Panti Bar on Capel Street on Tuesday the 3rd of August, that, for me, expresses all these discomforts, subversions, and sumptuous elements of narcissism, over indulgence and PROPRIETY with which I struggle. Come seeeeeee. The Hutch, for me, is one of the most interesting new platforms for young performers to test out new ideas, and it's potential has been far surpassed by the wonder of the displays of talent there each week. It's bahrillo, totally free, and I'm in love with it, and with Bunny.
She's beyooooteeeful! LOOK!