Category Archives: Making Things

“STJ 86: Taste and Bee” – Process & Theology

This art piece – STJ 86: Taste and Bee – thinks through Anglican, Sarah Coakley’s, articulation of desire in a Mennonite context. Here are a few slightly edited excerpts of an essay I wrote for professor Jeremy Bergen this year at Grebel Uni.:

STJ 86 Taste and Bee

“STJ 86: Taste and Bee” by Lisa Obirek, December 2015

5 reduction linocut on stonehenge paper with added media: water soluble oil, paint pens, raw bees wax, nail polish, gold leaf

This piece is called a “print” and fits within the broader artistic medium of “printmaking.” The more specific term for this particular print is called a five-reduction linocut. This means I use a traditional piece of rubbery linoleum which is essentially just heated up linseed oil and I carve designs into the same block of linoleum in five different stages.  I use carving tools that are similar to traditional wood carving tools on a smaller scale. These carving tools have different ends, or “bits,” that make their own distinct cuts into the linoleum. Continue reading “STJ 86: Taste and Bee” – Process & Theology

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The Idolatry of Genius, part one

We’ve had some discussion recently on genius and the possibility for authentic art. Most recently, Lisa (using Woolf) called the term “genius” into question, suggesting that it does not adequately account for the extent to which those reckoned “great artists” are in debt to those who came before (teachers, colleagues, mentors) and to the social conditions that made possible their position as an artist. In this way, genius functions as a sort of privileged male illusion that allows the most indebted to consider themselves self-sufficient and authentically creative because of their self-sufficiency. I agree with Lisa’s critique and would like to push it further. I want to use Jean-Luc Marion’s analysis of the idol to suggest that much of what we consider the marks of “genius” indicates idolatry and illusion. Nevertheless, I would still like to claim that not all art is absolutely determined by a stifling immanence; in other words, that there is more to art than its context. To do this, in part two, I will draw on Marion’s understanding of the icon. Continue reading The Idolatry of Genius, part one

Making something when I’m angry: Harper, I’m angry with you.

I guess I’ve “known” it for a while but not really known it – making things when I am really sad and angry is a way to come out of that (usually) paralyzing space. Crunk Feminist Collective recently posted something that encouraged me to do something the next time I enter into that sad and angry place. A few days ago I was sitting in a small cafe when I read the CBC news that my prime minister wanted to send military warcraft into Iraq. I sat there, tears streaming down my face, with a reel of pictures going through my mind: pictures of women asking for food, for medical supplies, books, asking for anything but war planes. So I went home and made this picture.

October 7th, Canada decides to send military planes and personnel into Iraq. BOOOOOO
October 7th, Canada decides to send military planes and personnel into Iraq. BOOOOOO

I don’t want to spend too much time and effort learning the contours of Harper’s face (there are better faces to learn to draw), but you get the general sense?