From: Hinnenberg, Alison
Subject: FACULTY LECTURE SERIES
Photographs, Drawings, Notations -
Date: October 27, 2003
As a relatively new member of the adjunct faculty here...
I thought it might be useful to start with a little background I have a bachelor's degree in photography from the Kansas City Art Institute in Missouri where I was born and raised and a masters of fine arts from the San Francisco art institute also in photography. My involvement with image making began in working as a photojournalist and writer. I entered college as a Sociology major but, maintained an involvement with photography through a position as a printer and photographer in a county crime laboratory. I provide these details to point out that my initial interest in image making results not from the presentation of images as art but as documents of cultural or societal events, occurrences and crimes.
Coincidentally, as I was preparing for this presentation - my mother
discovered and shipped to me a collection of slides documenting my first
public exhibition. As I looked through these images and reflected upon
the ideas I was working with in that installation I was reminded of
the un-attributable adage that an artist will spend a lifetime communicating
essentially one idea and that a life's work actually represents the
attempts or variations upon this one idea. I believe this may be the
case in my work. In light of this admission, I thought I might try and
present the primary tenets or ideas that I've recognized as consistent
elements in my own work.
First and foremost this work expresses a consistent interest in how
an image or aesthetic experience becomes meaningful both from the perspective
of the viewer and as the maker. The meaning of a work of art is not
an aspect of the work that is necessarily innate - something taken for
granted as having occurred prior to - nor at the works inception but
rather, is an aspect of art making that evolves through an engagement
with the ideas and images - something which develops over time and fluctuates
within varying contexts - both for the artist making the work and for
That the meaning of an image is not limited to the physical characteristics
we perceive in it, nor the cultural experiences we share in recognition
of occasions, people or things - but the unique convergence of past
and present personal experiences, associations, thoughts, emotions and
opinions we bring to the image or experience of a work. Photography
appeals to me as a medium because of a perceived indexical relationship
to the real. The specificity it elicits by drawing into a work references,
parameters of context (time, place, point of view) make for a rich and
complex network of relationships upon which to build conceptual and
Conversely, there is in my work a subversion of this specificity in
the image in order to achieve a metaphoric reading or associative experience
of the image. There is no finite self contained meaning available in
any one image I may present or in any sequence. It is the relationships
that develop between the images, notations and drawings presented or
the context that evolves in an engagement with these diverse elements
wherein the image acquires it's meaning.
Play - My interest has always been the playful rearrangement of references
and the convergence of ideas in an effort to elucidate sensorial memories
or experiences. Photographs, drawings and notations - references and
thoughts - ideas - cast into a frame and forming relationships. Tools,
apparatus and concepts carefully constructed or arranged in a desire
to encourage meaningful play. Or a play of meaning.
An image/text puzzle/poem made of cross references between my relationship at the time and our experience living and working on the beach, characters acting out a relationship and staged on the beach and the notion that there is a universal language of signs that could represent the experience of being a man and a woman in a relationship. The beach as a metaphor for life or a shared experience.
Relationships between images.
Relationships between methods of communication - image - text - diagrams.
Encouraged play by the participants or the viewers in the sand boxes or small beaches provided.
Altering physiologically process toward the potential exchange of /or communication of an experience through vision versus the presentation of or representational image.
Relationship established between my own experience and the visual experience.
Encouraged viewer to actually see things differently.
Eyeglasses as metaphor for an altered or shared point of view.
Alice is You *series
Symbols drawn in illustration of the impact of time, travel and diverse experiences on memory and my own sense of identity. There are implied references to place, art history, spirituality and culture. Making a poetic form of a memorandum - abbreviated and or understood within a shared context.
Relationship between image, drawings and text.
Relationship to linguistic theory.
Language as a shared secret or an internal memo:
Reference to art making and the act of framing events and experiences.
Moving to Sonoma I'm removed from the urban environment - more exposed to natural forces, primary forces. In some sense I've reconnected with issues of shelter and safety. Making sense or making meaningful relationships of art making to natural forces at work and play in nature. Theoretically, there is an engagement with elemental issues of architecture and installation.