re:present L.A. Exhibition

May 3 – July 27, 2012 at the Vincent Price Art Museum

Christine Weir

Statement

I returned to making art in 2006 after I quit my job to stay home with my newborn son. I had been working since 1997 at Bonhams and Butterfields Auctioneers in Los Angeles, first as a cataloger and, starting in 2001, an appraiser in the American Art Department. Before moving to Los Angeles I lived in NYC where I worked in the music industry, attended graduate school, was an intern for the Franklin Furnace Artist Book Archive at the Museum of Modern Art and was a curatorial assistant at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

I have battled a fear of flying since I was a teen. Although this never prevented me from air travel, I would be nearly paralyzed by fear once on board the plane. I couldn’t eat and I was not able to look out of the window for more than a brief glance. Several years ago I enrolled in a fear of flying course and was able to downgrade my terror to a mild discomfort. Feeling more comfortable allowed me to look down upon the world for hours on end.

This newfound perspective took hold of me on a red-eye flight in 2006. In the dark winter night the lights 30,000 feet below conjured up all kinds of ideas about perception vs. reality and the mundane vs. the fantastic. As I began thinking more and more about expressing my flying experiences, I started looking at Google Earth as a way to control my explorations.

Now I use Google Earth as my starting point to find interesting man-made patterns to use as subjects for my drawings. I tend to choose airports, farms, reservoirs, and sites relating to urban myths, conspiracies, military and governmental activities. These places allow me to explore ideas relating to modern mythologies and fear: nuclear weapons development and the war machine, terrorism, surveillance, paranoia, environmental decay and abandonment.

These images can be cathartic, obsessive and controlling. They can relate to a newfound power over my phobias, but also to my continued vulnerability. They are my expelled neuroses; ideas that are a menace to me, encroaching on my happiness. At other times I feel as though I am channeling a “character’s” mindset – an armchair explorer, a paranoid, a stalker, or a conspiracy theorist.

These drawings are done entirely with graphite pencil on paper, generally hot pressed Arches 140lb. On a purely visual basis, I am looking to create a surface texture and tactility that is most often found amongst paintings. They are abstracted nocturnes broken into simple forms, as visualized most prominently by the radiating circles representing light. I am excited when viewers draw upon their own life experience when interpreting or contemplating my drawings. This is not unlike looking from an airplane window at the land below, or using Google Earth to ponder the meaning behind odd landmarks.

Ute Reservoir (Installation View), 2009 Graphite on paper mounted on panel 45 x 30 inches (two panels 22 1/2 x 30 inches each)

"Ute Reservoir" (installation view)
Graphite on paper mounted on panel
45" x 30" (two panels 22 1/2" x 30")

Previous Artist: Emilio Venegas


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