corbinChairs

corbinChairs is about attrition of detail. Assimilating an environment is a natural process. The stages we go through as we learn to exist in any new place are predictable and consistent. From fragmentary impressions to sharp awareness of detail. We see clearly because everything is new, if we don't pay attention we get lost. Attrition of detail comes with familiarity. A specific example would living in one house long enough to forget what pictures are hanging in the hallway, or the color of the house next-door.

In this particular context I am dealing with specific issues relating to the over exposure to one specific and fairly stressful environment. The issue for me is that although the process of assimilating our environment is necessary in our daily life, taken to an extreme the associated process of attrition can ultimately lead to a kind of sensory deprivation where the unreal is substituted for the real.

Based on my personal experience I became aware that the more time I spent in the labs at school the more desensitized I became to the people around me. I found it disturbing that I could be daily surrounded by people who's names and personal information where largely unknown. Particularly as many of these same people hailed me by name and seemed to know a great deal about me. I believe that anyone in any extended course of study will by the end of their tenure find themselves in much the same situation. Once we establish ourselves and develop a circle of acquaintances and friends, the need to seek out new people and be assimilated by our peers disappears.

Being visually oriented I also became aware that I had become desensitized to the world at large. When I first returned to school I worked with imagery from my experience with people and places I was intamently acquainted with. I had always worked largely from direct observation. As my direct experience narrowed and became increasingly contained within the labs my subject matter shifted to reflect the importance of small personal objects and micro detail from the limited environment around me. I also found that my work was becoming more and more oriented towards technical proficiency. Once I became aware of this progression it became increasingly important to isolate not only the reason behind it but also any consequences of this shift in my perception. It occurred to me that in order to see one had to look.

A secondary but equally important issues is my experience as female in a overwhelmingly male dominated department. The imagery focuses on what are essentially feminine subject matter, chairs, a rug and the beauty of cast shadow in a sterile gray environment. corbinChairs is simply an attempt to address subjective and objective realities and the necessity of a balance between them. The project presents images both "real" and "unreal" in juxtaposition. My intent was to reexamine the real by a literal recreation of my dislocation.

Kathryn Carlyle
Winter Quarter 1999
Savannah College of Art and Design