Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Exhibition Statement

What interests me is my identity, a complex duality of all the diverse pieces that come together to create my puzzle. I am interested in how I relate to my surroundings and how others in my surroundings relate to me. I am aware of what is happening around me and when I take on the role of being the one in front of the camera, I am hyperaware of myself and want to make the audience hyperaware of my presence as well. My relationship with how my performance provokes responses from those around me often tells the course of my pieces.
                I primarily focus in video performance art which has been a development over the course of the past two years. I work with other mediums and enjoy testing my limits and breaking various boundaries and seeing how far I can push my discomfort and push it far enough to make witnesses just as captivated or uncomfortable. Sometimes the act of doing is more powerful than the act of stating. The presumed humiliation and exposure of vulnerability, for me is what empowers my pieces. I can only hope that the strange acts of locking myself in a box for 6 hours, layering my face in acrylic, wrapping myself in 200 yards of plastic wrap and covering myself in mache will stir up some discourse. 

Monday, April 23, 2012


I think for me art has and always will be my escape from the monotony of hectic daily routines. I am a Sri Lankan American and the first U.S. citizen in my whole family. I have always felt like an outsider, and much of my life has been molded by this duty to conform but achieve greatness through conformity. This idea of and this persona of overachieving has been embedded into my framework and I think the biggest thing that art provides is rebranding myself and those who view it that I am different. I embrace my eccentricities and performance art is a way for me to put my aesthetic visions and ideas into a form. I often spend my time concentrating on others, my life has been dictated by the happiness of others before my own but that is what brings me happiness. I think this is why I dwell even more so on anticipating certain reactions with pieces, that is my motivation the response that I will provoke from viewers or even provoking them to watch but not be able to look away and even just mull over in their minds trying to make sense of what they are seeing.

My process is spur of the moment, sometimes I just have an idea and I don’t tell anyone about it- I just do it and I’m sure the admissions office must love me for it. Conceptually my work is inspired through discussions in my multimedia class, different visions that come to me while listening to artist talks at the Phillips Collection and are often in conjunction with a gasp, stifled smile, and wide eyes.

I’ve recognized my own development as an artist and the work that I began when I was a freshman compared to now there is significant change in the caliber of what is being presented. Going from being shyer about things, to truly being up to taking on challenges and risks that I would have been too afraid to try in prior years. I feel like I overcame my own ego in a way and put that all aside and just focused on creating art. There’s certainly a different type of adrenaline rush from becoming the spectacle and I feel as though this strange stage that I set drives my motivation and I accept it without embarrassment. I’ve definitely grown to become more confident in myself and in my artwork. I stopped waiting for approval and just produced, sometimes the institution of art becomes exhaustive but I suppose a necessary process.

My work went from being about endurance and the act of not doing to the act of doing without time constraints. When I didn’t tell myself that I had 4 hours to complete something it was a better piece because I would finish what I wanted to do in ten minutes instead. Sometimes in our minds we have an idea of how long certain tasks will take us but the most melancholy point of the task isn’t until you being timing yourself.

Critiques of my work especially as an undergrad range based off who it is that is critiquing, but at this point I realize that I can appreciate critiques for what they are a way of entering one’s art work into a form of discourse. I think the best part of critiques is seeing how various people interpret different parts of my piece and how what they find most captivating might be what I found most trivial. Looking at my work in context to other artists and past artists, I think that every artist has their own technique and stage persona, but we are all different people so even if we were to conduct the same piece, it would be different still because we each put our own spin on it making it a separate entity. I’ve learned to have no expectations and even more so, instead of concentrating on what my audience may like the most it is about what I like the most. I create art for myself and the world can choose to accept or reject it. Be that as it may, if I happen to strike a chord or two of interest from others my audience can only grow at this stage in my life.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Paper Mache

So I've done 3 performance/video pieces since the box piece.

A piece about colors and their associations with race, specifically pertaining to how my identity on paper is often ambiguous and leads people to paint their own picture of what I may look like and these painted perceptions are not the most apt depictions.

First Name: Amanda (American)
Last Name: Silva (Portuguese)
Citizenship: United States
Ethnicity: Asian

The other pieces I did was one where I was wrapped in plastic wrap and had to escape, with only one roll of plastic wrap approximately 100 yards, it took me a little over 4 minutes and when wrapped in 2 rolls it took me 11 minutes. The other piece I did was covering myself in paper mache, but I'm not sure how much of the performance is on footage because the camera died. 

I'm beginning to discover that all of what my work from where I see is challenging the idea of artists. Andy brought up throughout our seminar how it's so interesting that we are making careers out of something that doesn't necessarily serve a function. Our "job" is to create, and much of the time not many people understand why artists do what they do, but in the same sense with performance artists- even some artists don't understand why they do what they do. Today as I was walking the half hour back to my apartment covered in paper mache and not wearing much more than my underwear. I realized that my purpose as an artist the purpose of my art for my audience is to provoke them. Provoke them to respond to what it is that they do not understand. Today was successful. Not sure how successful the documentation of it was, but being able to provoke the discussion was vital. To have people thinking that something terrible had happened to me, that someone had just tortured me was the general consensus from masses outside of the AU community. People in cars, trucks, riding their bikes, commuters all asked if something happened to me. Considering something does happen to you, we suffer in our own way, we torture ourselves and take chances that many don't take. We take that ballsy approach to be where someone has not, and it's this humiliation that empowers art. What would make one vulnerable, results in empowerment instead. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Self Discovery ?

When I was producing my work, I was stuck in a rut. A rut where I kept looking for approval or thinking that the idea or concept of the work needed to be discussed before it was even executed. After struggling and grappling with this conflict of where my original conception then becomes discussed in a context before it is even a tangible work and then becomes something contrived and everyone has set expectations. I understand this delicate and complex relationship of art and academia but in the end it is the ART. I am an artist and I need to produce my art work, and as part of our seminar the discussion can only be moved forward when there is completed work to discuss. I'm relieved to be over the hill, to just come to this simple revelation and stop worrying and just create. The second I stopped second guessing my work and analyzing it from the perspective of others- I was able to produce and execute my visions into art forms and truly progress.