UMPUI #1 (Une Minute Pour Une Image)

UMPUI #1 :



Moon Over a Mayo Landscape, Paul Kenny, 2015

Mon. 12:01 PM, July 4th, 2016. Begin.

An ocean hovers over me. My body and my air pulls me to the surface to find the sun falling unto me. It’s almost there. Filling my lungs and dancing with my eyes. The breaks in the paper, the creases of it, something has happened. Something is transcending.

End. Mon. 12:02 PM, July 4th, 2016.


Picture Day

I have finally had the opportunity to sum up this semester in three photographs. I have been struggling through this idea of trash. I began with a very romantic eye, to a more alternative eye, to a clinical eye, to a critical eye.

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It began with surreal compositions made from abstract photographs of trash paired with images of simulated nature found in magazines.

Then it became a very abstract dance of plastics and silver gelatin prints:

plasticgram 1

I was too romantic, there was no disgust. No ugly. All pretty. So I went to the other side of the rainbow and brought a grey cloud clinical eye to the process and catalogued this trash.

catalogue1 FLAT

This was too clinical, but then I had a strike of genius just before the critique for this work. I paired haiku with highly romanticized images of trash:

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And with this, I will carry into my final show of work which will come to you by the beginning of May! I do apologize that I do not have the haiku that was paired with this image. It will all be reworked for the final show.

For your interest, here is the artist’s statement behind the last bit of work.

Romantic Trash juxtaposes an out-of-date romanticized frame of mind with the dissenting subject matter of trash.

The implementation of a softened lens upon a jarring act of indifference is to utilize an alternate of the theory of ‘comedy of waste’; where one can only really self-reflect on under-the-rug morals through comedy. Romantic Trash replaces the comedy with beauty. The excessive use of signifiers of beauty in both image and text challenges the viewer to assess their moral stance on trash and its place in nature.


Until next time!


Into and Out of Nature

I know I have written enough about my interests in nature and romanticism, but in case you need a refresher (or an introduction) my work is very much intrinsically nature-based and romanticized from subject matter to just the essence of the art I make.

With having Directed this semester, I had to work on one concept for a whole semester. A year or so ago, I did a series on trash that I found on my walk to the train station as well as trash from the Chattahoochee River. After the fact, the Chattahoochee River photographs are being showcased in Georgia State University’s Research Conference AND I was interviewed about it; that interview will be making an appearance on GSU’s social media sometime soon.

But, in Directed, I figured that I found a good start and a good direction to aim for. I wanted something more artistic and interesting though, something more romantic than the Hooch Series. So I made abstract landscapes out of trash.

That became too beautiful and made no effect.

So I created an array of images involving nature and trash from juxtaposing the two in a frame to printing pictures of nature ONTO trash to putting a picture of nature in trash. These seemed to struggle.

So I went back to the documentary, cold-hearted cataloguing of trash. This lost my voice. BUT two days before my critique, I had a strike of genius. Pair photographs of found trash with haiku. Haiku is traditionally a veneration of nature in 17 syllables.

This is what I have been developing. I have a critique tomorrow on the work I have made. In lieu of finding haiku (it’s terribly hard to find this online) I perused the library (with books already overdue) to find haiku. I acquired a book with haiku by Basho and a book with haiku by Jack Kerouac. Kerouac’s book is small and easy to carry around, so naturally, that’s what stayed in my backpack to ogle at while I was on trains or buses.

Let me tell you, JACK KEROUAC’S HAIKU’S ARE GENIUS. He wanted to reestablish haiku in a way that doesn’t continue the age old tradition of it. He altered the rules to create an Americanized and modern haiku that is more playful and open to contemporary thinking that traditional haiku. They are perfect to pair with my photographs. Out of context romanticized quality with non traditional photographic subject matter paired with a non traditional poem about nature? I’m in heaven.

However, as much as I love this series I have created, I have found myself in conflicting ideas. Nature is so empowering and overwhelming that it doesn’t care about trash. Of course, trash is affecting animals tragically, but I’m not up for that fight. Plants and trees don’t give a flying flipper about plastic and trash. A recent article that I read from DIS magazine online article that I read from DIS magazine online about Bea Fremderman’s art series “Solastalgia” has reinforced that realization for me. Her work looks at the apocalyptic world where humanity is finished and nature takes her rein over objects leftover by humanity’s existence.

I am not sure where that leaves me to continue on with, but that’s for another story.

Pictures coming soon!



Many contemporary artists—such as Huang Xu, Vik Muniz, and Mandy Barker—emphasize the recycling of trash from an eyesore into something aesthetic. My interest, however, is to impose the stress of trash on nature. People throw trash into bushes and onto grass without harboring guilt. My goal for this series of artwork is to bring awareness to the trash that is burdened onto the part of our environment that supplements our living (i.e. nature).

Sweep the Hooch 2015 is a multi-site cleanup of the Chattahoochee River. This year, over 500 volunteers worked to pick up a total of over seven tons of trash from the Chattahoochee River and its surrounding areas.

I have interrupted the move from river to landfill by taking two bags of trash from Sweep the Hooch into the photographic studio environment. I have photographed each piece of trash in a way that emphasizes beauty; thus, the trash is taken out of the context of its harm and into the context of commercialism. In pinning these smaller prints of trash onto the mural print of the Chattahoochee River, the viewer interacts with the trash before nature. The trash completely overwhelms the natural landscape. This confines the viewer to dealing with the trash that is produced faster than can be destroyed.

Beautiful Trash (Between Don White Park and Riverside Park, on the Chattahoochee River)

To accompany this piece, trash is piled up in front of the Chattahoochee River, infiltrating its beauty.

Trashed (Between Don White Park and Riverside Park, on the Chattahoochee River)

And finally, to take the context outside of the Chattahoochee River, I have catalogued a series of pieces of trash I have seen on my daily walk to the train station.


Teal Gordon, April 2015

“We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it.”
Wendell Berry, The Long-Legged House