Guest Artist Presentation Reaction

Martynka Visit

On Tuesday 11/18/14 conceptual NYC Artist Martynka Wawrzyniak was our guest in professor Ryan Seslow’s MFA / MA ART 550 Art Criticism for Artists class. Martynka gave a presentation of her current work, discussed the works of each student and shared insight on being an artist. Please share your reactions on the presentation. You can also share your feelings on the critique that you received about the selected work that you brought to class.

short-link to this page – http://wp.me/P3Px2D-4d

8 thoughts on “Guest Artist Presentation Reaction

  1. Before class last Tuesday night, I had never heard of Martynka Wawrzyniak. In the matter of about an hour, she presented her work as a multimedia conceptual artist to us, explaining her process, materials, where she’s been and where she’s going as an artist. Some highlights from her work (for me) were her video performance, “Chocolate” and also her ongoing current work called, “Smell Me.” Martynka explained that the chocolate piece was her last self-portrait that she was actually present in. I found that the range of meanings this piece takes on to be the most interesting part. She showed up the 1-take video of her lying in a bathtub (focus on the neck, up), being slowly covered to the point of suffocation with 16 gallons of chocolate. While it started as a response to the BP oil spill and ideas of greed, gluttony, and sensuality, Martynka said the experience was cathartic. Watching the video made me think of power and discipline and made me truly uncomfortable towards the end. She lies there so peacefully and has given consent to be covered in chocolate, but when it got to the point of drowning her, I felt like I was drowning too. Although she’s unable to hear through the thick chocolate, and it’s soaking into her pores and suffocating her breath, she still stays there, allowing and accepting it. The format it’s been shown on was very powerful for me too, as she told us how it’s been projected onto buildings and extremely large scale during the Venice Biennale.
    Her current work, “Smell Me,” interested me because it’s so removed, yet so connected to the artist. She explained how her goal was to create a completely visceral self-portrait through this long term project of extracting her own body oils and scents from sweat, tears, and hair. When the viewer enters the gallery, her project literally becomes a part of them as they breathe in her scent. Although the show had a number of ways that she displayed the scents, my favorite parts was the latest extension of this work when Martynka had her sweat scent made into a “perfume” and ran an actual advertisement for this fake product called “Eau de M” in 1 million copies of Harper’s Bazaar. I though it was amazing how she shared her work without the viewer/smeller even knowing it. She called this clever piece a sort of “Art Terrorism” and said she’s even been contacted by people that don’t figure out that she’s an artist and that they’re smelling her sweat. They say that they can’t find it in stores, so she’s thinking of taking this once step further and actually selling the bottled perfume, sharing her art and self in an even more evasive way.
    When Martynka looked at my work she commented on how she enjoyed my process as my work includes a lot of time consuming, tedious mark making to display the population numbers of the endangered species that I’m painting. On Tuesday, I shared a painting of a Hawksbill Turtle, whose population only has 8,000 nesting females remaining, thus resulting in a Turtle portrait with 8,000 tiny dots in the background.

  2. I found Martynka to be a very interesting artist. Her videos and photos of her exhibitions were very different from what I was usually used to seeing. She did give good tips on what to write about our exhibitions and for our essay due next week. The “this means this to me” part was very important, as in why we were writing our essay.

    When she reviewed my piece, she told me about the damage done to my art (as in the ripped parts.) This does give me an idea; as in when I’m done painting, I might want to damage it slightly with a palette knife. It might make the piece more interesting overall.

    I kind of knew that we had to have a second job once we become artists, because most of the art might not sell immediately. I know that if we want to become artists, we have to have a side job to help fund it and to pay the bills.

  3. Martynka Wawrzyniak’s presentation was fantastic and her artwork really resonated with me. I had heard about her chocolate video before, but never actually saw it. I loved the “Chocolate” piece . The way her senses were slowly taken away was very powerful. I was intrigued to hear that the caffeine from the chocolate was absorbed through her pores.

    A student in foundations was doing very similar work to Martynka. She was painting her face and transforming herself through applying substances to her body. I showed her Martynka’s work and she really connected with it.

    I am very interested in connecting science with art and her “Smell Me” series was a strong example of that merger. I was pleased to hear that the college was so willing to allow a collaboration between art and science. I was surprised about the amount of work it took to get the scents. I thought the magazine sample was ingenious. I can’t wait to see the scent in stores in the future.

    I have reservations about ketchup, and the Ketchup piece was the only one that made me squirm. I have a high tolerance for unique performances and shock art, but ketchup as a substance grosses me out.

  4. I enjoyed the presentation, and how it all flowed together chronologically. I like how all of her works create a tension inside of the viewer. The Kids series about bringing the adult out of the kid was unsettling in a good questioning way. The way they were photographed really brought something indescribable out of their real bodies. The Feed work feels most universal with translating the body in that way. Everyone eats, and breaking it down to essentials puts that body into a perspective lens. I don’t know if it would be existential, but I do feel like this removal from the body with each work and reinterpretation of it. The works speak on a level of why we are here where we are going kind of feel.

  5. Prior to Tuesday night, I had never heard of multimedia conceptual artist Martynka Wawrzyniak.Her video performance, “Chocolate” and also her ongoing current work called, “Smell Me,” left me feeling extremely disturbed and uneasy.

    Martynka explained that the chocolate piece was inspired by the tragic BP oil spill and the effects it has left behind on defenseless marine life.She projected a video of her lying in a bath top (from the neck up) being slowly covered to the point of suffocation with 16 gallons of chocolate. (Just thinking of it again while writing this post makes my stomach flip!)

    Martynka said the experience was like a high of sorts, rather an out of body experience. Losing sense of self and control. She lies there ever so calm, as if soon she would break in to a back stroke. This idea of giving consent to being covered in chocolate, to the point of drowning, boggles my mind! Watching her reaction made me choke! I felt like I was drowning along side her. She stated she was unable to hear through the thick chocolate, allowing it to soak into her pores and suffocating her breath, she lies still, as if there is no escape. I give her major props, as soon as that chocolate hit my nose and mouth repeatedly, I would freak out! (Think water torture if you need a visual)
    Her current work, “Smell Me,” also left me turning green. She explained how her goal was to create a completely visceral self-portrait through this long term project of extracting her own body oils and scents from sweat, tears, and hair. When the viewer would enter the gallery her scent would be extracted out from small holes within the walls. Along with displayed scents, in “perfume” like bottles. She also and ran an advertisement for this product ( her sweat) called “Eau de M” in 1 million copies of Harper’s Bazaar. Sharing her work without the viewer/smeller even knowing it. Claiming this BO attack as“Art Terrorism” stating she’s even been contacted by people smelling her sweat strips, hoping to purchase the fragrance. Curious why they can’t find it in stores. With this she’s debating actually selling the bottled perfume, sharing her art and self in the most personal of ways. Personally I found it all a tid-bit GROSS, for lack of a better word of course.

  6. I found Martynka Wawrzyniak’s presentation was interesting and her artwork really caught my eyes. I never heard about her chocolate video before, but was shocked me. Also, I am very interested in connecting between art and science. Her current work, “Smell Me,” enjoyed me because it’s so isolated, yet so connected to the artist. However, I was surprised about the huge of her work. The Ketchup piece was the only one that made me hold my breath. I am wondering if she uesd the water color insted of Ketchup becouse I have a high shock art with material. maybe becouse I can not use any food for artwork.
    Overall, she was an uncommon artist. She has won idea, thinking, thoughts, and creation.

  7. I wish I could have seen this. Martynka really pushes boundaries. I saw her lipstick videos, where the subjects use red lipstick to smudge and mark their faces. She pushes concept far in the length of time. It was very hard for me to watch a 7 minute video. After a minute I began to feel uncomfortable. It’s hard for me to describe the reaction I had. In some ways the act of putting lipstick all over your face, smudging it, then adding more created a frenzy. The application was excessive and that made me feel uncomfortable. It’s as though the subjects are not human anymore. They become primal or elemental beings, not really a person. They are the act. The performances become very intense and it makes people react in a strong way. In some sense you are confronting a dark element of humanity. As an artist it’s amazing to create an acute response, it’s almost involuntary.

  8. I enjoyed Martynka Wawrzyniak’s presentation, and like the concepts of her artworks. The cholocate performance art shocked me a lot, I love to see all kinds of contemporary art. Her new ideas of art creation inspire me to create my own artwork. Also, she gave comments and suggestions are really helps us.

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