The Ireland study abroad trip for Columbia’s Photography MFA students is so incredibly worth it. The above image is another photograph of the site, which is obviously phenomenal. But the real treasure is having the time in January to be exclusively connected to our studio space, making for a highly productive month.
We have been thinking and talking a lot about what a studio is and its importance (or lack thereof). For Richard Long, the studio is simply a room for concentrated correspondence and book design. His actual work is conceived and laid out in the world. In a way, his studio practice is simply a practice of walking and engaging in a landscape.
In his writings, Long says that he has special relationships to certain pieces of land, such as Dartmoor, close to his house, and Avon, for the mud it can supply. To me this suggests that Richard Long does in fact have a studio. But because of the nature of his work, his studio is an entire patch of land versus a room in the built environment. For his work, Long takes walks. He ends up creating lines and circles, playing with these simple elemental forms over long periods of time.
By taking a break from the studios we have in Chicago and using a fresh space to generate work, we are all establishing a deeper connection to our studio practices. Since the very first day, we’ve used our studios roughly from 9 to 5. The below images are views from my own studio, and I suppose from my studio practice.
I’ve been finding that my innate tendency is to take things from the out of doors and bring them in—not necessarily into the kind of isolation that this image presents, but there is definitely a consistent order and spacing to the whole affair.
Another key usage of my space is for installations. I find myself living in and enveloped by installations, such as the image on the right, which I have been working on for several days, and the installation of Post-Its in the shape of Ireland and the dead ivy in the foreground.
This is the view of Jess Sladek’s studio from mine.
And here’s an inside look into the mind of Eileen Rae Walsh, who is working in the most beautiful hues of reds, pinks, and subtle shadings between. Having no barriers between studios has been nice. We find that when one of us is zoning out, seeing the others across the way can inspire new directions in our work or just simply more vigorous approaches to making.
I think, though, that my room has always and will always be the most comfortable place for me to work on and through ideas. We concluded our time here on January 21 and headed back to the States. I’m totally bummed to leave, but I’m already looking into coming back as a visiting artist this summer. If you are interested, check out the Burren College of Art and look up their residencies!