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Series 1: About Looking

By Michelle R. LaFoe

“Stainless Steel Cups,” Part of the Tools and Materials Series by M. LaFoe, charcoal, 19” x 24,” Strathmore 400 paper

This section is part of an ongoing series of work that I do within our studio and includes drawings, paintings and installations as they relate to our design projects or on their own accord as an artistic series exploring an idea.  It’s about looking at the world around us.  It’s about close observation fostered by exploration, curiosity, discovery and imagination to try out ideas in various medium.  It is about analysis and problem solving as well as the engineering of perceptual mechanisms for seeing and interpreting the natural and manmade world.  It’s about an understanding that the boundaries of what one chooses to perceive and see, such as the panorama or a detail, are constantly changing, expanding and contracting.

It’s about:
How you view something
How your eyes see it
Perception and representation
Positive and negative space
Light and shadow
Translating one artistic process into another
The transformation of materials
Looking at it or through it
The ineffable mystery of beauty
Picking up a pencil to draw
Line, form, color, light, details, texture
The process of exploration
The tools of the hand
A gesture of the body’s movement
A process of questioning what we see
Incremental layers and patterns
An unexplored idea
Intuition

Parallel to our practice at O52, I work in an interdisciplinary mode producing installation, sculpture, painting, drawing, photography, video and architecture by using a variety of materials and methods.  Even though we use digital and analog means in our studio practice, the final assembly of components of the fabrication process for an artwork or installation or building is still governed by the presence of the hand, even on the construction site, most times with the assistance of technology, tools and devices.  I work on both series-based and program-based projects with intense personal involvement in all apsects of the artwork, design, fabrication and construction.  And in my studio I continue to explore the medium of drawing as primary, dynamic and relevant to contemporary culture and creative thought.

“Don’t ask me about this building or that one, don’t look at what I do, see what I saw,” Luis Barragan.