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Tethered To The Sun
September 16, 2009 8:46 PM   Subscribe

They are tethered to the sun. Ashley and Traci are neighbors who connect on issues such as desire, books, paintings, and photography. Ingoing. NSFW
posted by dual_action (55 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
ouch, extra comma
posted by dual_action at 8:47 PM on September 16, 2009


Only if you're a non-Oxfordian.

*cue Jets vs Sharks music*
posted by kmz at 8:51 PM on September 16, 2009 [10 favorites]


I clicked the last link first and was a bit bored, but now can see there's some meat here. It's time for bed, so can't do all the links, but do want to say nice pics in the first link.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:57 PM on September 16, 2009


Interesting blog, I like the mix. I'm off to find out more about ant lions.
posted by tellurian at 9:13 PM on September 16, 2009


This is good art.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:15 PM on September 16, 2009


Anything is defensible as art, and with that statement, I have hope that I may -- someday -- debase myself completely enough to warrant that plea.

Or maybe I've just been reading too much Dostoyevsky.
posted by electronslave at 9:28 PM on September 16, 2009


look at me! I am interesting and smart!

(and nekkid)
posted by pinky at 9:32 PM on September 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


"We are Traci Matlock and Ashley MacLean. We have a website, emails and each a personal blog."

"Great to hear. I'll have the porterhouse, medium-rare, and I'd love a little Bearnaise on the side. Garlic potatoes. Ooo, and I'll start with the wedge salad with blue-cheese."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:50 PM on September 16, 2009 [24 favorites]


You run that joke a lot dude.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:03 PM on September 16, 2009 [8 favorites]


Matlock and MacLean would be a great cop show.
posted by benzenedream at 10:07 PM on September 16, 2009


You run that joke a lot dude.

It's just so fitting, though!

All right, all right. One year moratorium.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:26 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Okay, I'm back. Oh boy! Do you feel like you've fallen into an antlion sand pit trap with your first post, dual_action? I'm expecting your dry carcass to be flicked out the pit any moment.
posted by tellurian at 10:42 PM on September 16, 2009


hey, I'm actually interested with whatever is thrown at it, since it's become controversially subjective as "art". I adore these girls and would love to meet them at some point, if they don't shun me as the "the one who gave us a bad name".
posted by dual_action at 10:51 PM on September 16, 2009


disclaimer: I don't know them in the least, I've just been stalking them for years.
posted by dual_action at 10:53 PM on September 16, 2009


That sounds more like a claimer.
posted by pracowity at 11:19 PM on September 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Seems like an honest search for transcendence in poetry,sensuality and photorealism. Some of the portraits are beautiful even in just how authentic the people seem. It's interesting these two are in Houston in their own dreamworld searching for their own rapture and spiritual journey to escape from what must be a pretty culturally limited, predictable repressive landscape.
posted by Skygazer at 11:39 PM on September 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Or maybe Houston is very hep town and everyone in that town digs Moliere/Bacon/Donald Barthelme/Ashberry and Nerve.com, I have no idea...
posted by Skygazer at 12:10 AM on September 17, 2009


Gets my vote.
Never heard of 'em but, well, they seem like an appealing mix of 'naive' (or at least out of the commercial mainstream) and sophisticated (to be addressing topics that are ongoing in 'ModernArt' and alluding to other, interesting artists). I'd totally go out of my way to see their work.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:39 AM on September 17, 2009


The photographs that are not of each other are vaguely interesting.

They need to stop wanting to be Nan Goldin (they aren't) and realize that pointing a camera at each other is just as narcissistic as pointing it in the mirror.

Young women obsessed with how they look. Whodathunkit?
posted by unSane at 3:37 AM on September 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I left my plate of beans at home and just liked it.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:41 AM on September 17, 2009


"We are Traci Matlock and Ashley MacLean. We have a website, emails and each a personal blog."

Listen, I'm happy for you and imma let you finish, but ...

oh nevermind
posted by jbickers at 5:04 AM on September 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


WE'RE LESBIANS! :D
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:30 AM on September 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


It does come off a bit narcissistic. And it reads like the blog of a teenage girl who took a couple philosophy classes at the community college. Not a lot of real insight, but a lot of crap that can almost SOUND insightful.

But hey, boobies.
posted by ruthsarian at 5:45 AM on September 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


The blog's interesting, thanks. And I dunno why, but this pic makes me smile. A lot.
posted by mediareport at 5:55 AM on September 17, 2009


Damn, collecting a bunch of Francis Bacon self-portraits together amplifies the creepy tenfold. Seriously, some great posts at that blog.
posted by mediareport at 5:58 AM on September 17, 2009


I recognized some of the people in those photos from some previous blog or photo site they had -- it was an odd feeling of "I've seen this before..." until I realized that indeed, I had seen it before.

I like some of the photos quite a bit (and not just for the smutishness), but the overall feel is strongly of preciousness and self-focus which doesn't really captivate me. It's arty, but not so much art, if that makes sense.
posted by Forktine at 6:19 AM on September 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


1) Discover sex.
2) Become self-important.
3) Blog.
4) Art!
posted by Magnakai at 6:19 AM on September 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


5) Do something other than snark.

The step a lot of folks here seem to have missed.
posted by mediareport at 6:20 AM on September 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


I don't know, I hear what you all are saying about the nativity, narcissism, and lacking intellectual rigor, but, for me, part of the charm of this duo is that they disarming my (way overdeveloped) critical gaze. I couldn't help thinking as I read through these links, "Good for you, it won't last, but good for you and you'll look back someday and realize how vital it was that you were these two people and tried to do something great." Whether I was speaking to them or some aspect of my past self, I don't know, but something about them touched the essence of youth for me. Yes, it takes itself too seriously, it is self-focused, it does believe that it can change the order of things, and it doesn't know what it doesn't know, but I'm completely okay with art meaning that. I'm happy to see these things celebrated in creative, ever-evolving, and life-affirming ways. These links brought me back to a point in my life where everything was still possible and the point of being was to create. They made me smile, and that's not something even a lot of "great" art can do.

That, and I have a fascination with ant-lions. I once even built an ant-lion farm.
posted by mrmojoflying at 6:29 AM on September 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


And I find this an order of magnitude less precious than My Little Dead Dick...remember that one?
posted by mrmojoflying at 6:31 AM on September 17, 2009


I swear I doubt I'm ever going to grow up. With that said:

HOOORAAAAY FOR BOOBIES!!!
posted by Mastercheddaar at 6:31 AM on September 17, 2009


As for the page itself and the comments so far what artists are not narcissistic, a little native, and sometimes lacking in intellectual rigor? I say these two are doing just fine. Shoot they made it to metafilter didn't they? :)
posted by Mastercheddaar at 6:35 AM on September 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Let me tell you what I've learned about artists like these.

Sure, they're hot and all. And you get a little thrill when they come into the shop, knowing that they probably just got finished taking naked pictures of each other and making sexytime. And that's why you don't mind selling them one of the old iMacs at a great price when it's time to replace them.

But then they order, like, hundreds of dollars worth of business cards the night before their art opening but fail to pick them up. And you call them once a month for about a year, reminding them that they need to pay for the cards. And they always say, "Oh yeah, thanks, we'll be in later this week. Sorry!"

Until, finally, they basically say, "You know, let's end this charade. We're not going to get those cards. Sorry, locally owned mom-and-pop indie print shop." And you never see them again. And you're simultaneously pissed off by their behavior and disappointed that you'll never see the sexytime girl photographers again.

Oh, did I say artists like these? I meant these artists!
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 6:44 AM on September 17, 2009 [30 favorites]


Well, whatever. As long as you guys are happy. I just feel like I'm bored of the Bad Photograph Of Pretty Young Naked Thing = Art movement that's been so prevalent over the past few years. Thing is, there's a really deep, meaningful beauty in naivete, but this just strikes me as way more cynical than I could ever be.
posted by Magnakai at 7:27 AM on September 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Well, I liked what I saw of their photos a lot more than I have some of the We're Serious Art Photographers Damnit links on the blue lately. And it's not (entirely) prurient interest, either, as this sort of thing [very NSFW, may be triggering, etc.] is not my cuppa.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:43 AM on September 17, 2009


This is what happens when you put the means of production in the hands of the proletariat. When it was prohibitively expensive to make photographs, only real artists made art (read 'took pictures of boobies'). Now anyone can strip naked and photograph their neighbor and then not pick up their business cards at the local mom and pop indie print shop! DOWN WITH SOCIALISM!
posted by spicynuts at 7:43 AM on September 17, 2009


It's interesting these two are in Houston in their own dreamworld searching for their own rapture and spiritual journey to escape from what must be a pretty culturally limited, predictable repressive landscape.

Or maybe Houston is very hep town and everyone in that town digs Moliere/Bacon/Donald Barthelme/Ashberry and Nerve.com, I have no idea...

Or maybe Houston is large and contains multitudes, just like everywhere else.
posted by kmz at 7:59 AM on September 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I figure that if it's good art, the average person will be able to recognize it as good art right away. This seems like a couple of women playing with cameras to me.
posted by Daddy-O at 8:02 AM on September 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I love their Flickr stream and have been following it for a while.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:25 AM on September 17, 2009


Oh, did I say artists like these? I meant these artists!

MetaFilter. Your world, connected.
posted by cavalier at 8:29 AM on September 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I found out about these two in a sorta neat way: a little while ago, one of them left a nice comment on a Flickr image I'd posted, a oil portrait of Baudelaire. The comment was long, thoughtful, and personal, which was interesting since I pretty much never use my Flickr account and there aren't really that many photos or comments in the stream. It bummed me out that they'd actually left the comment months before, and I guess I just never saw the Flickr notification about it.

So I thought I'd just click on their username and send them a short "Thanks for the neat comment!" message, which was I discovered their incredible photostream, their websites, and their legion of followers. I went ahead and sent them a note anyway, but it's clear they're in no danger of dying from neglect.

It was an interesting way to get introduced to their work, somewhat akin to finding out weeks later that the pretty girl who smiled at me on the subway is a huge pop star in Norway.
posted by Ian A.T. at 8:50 AM on September 17, 2009


I figure that if it's good art, the average person will be able to recognize it as good art right away.

I don't know if this is really a fair statement. Great literature is unlikely to get recognized as such by the average person. The average person likes Dan Brown and Harry Potter, which may be fun romps, but hardly Great.

Similarly, an apt, technically proficient photograph, painting, or sculpture might impress the average person, but it probably isn't actually "good art." The average person sees Mapplethorpe as obscenity, and either recognizes Worhol as art only due to being familiar with it, or "doesn't get why a Campbell's soup can counts as art."

Scenes shouldn't always become so introspective and masturbatory that art is only for artists, but I'm not sure the "average person" is a good barometer for "good art" either.
posted by explosion at 10:17 AM on September 17, 2009


I'm not sure the "average person" is a good barometer for "good art" either.

... which is precisely why the "art world" has increasingly less relevance for most people.
posted by jbickers at 10:21 AM on September 17, 2009


Oh, did I say artists like these? I meant these artists!

The sensation of it interests me. The change in light and environment all at once, the surprise of the print shop owner who had no idea when to expect this. And the artists. They're tossed around, pelted with sand. Shredded apart, and consumed. All in darkness. And then what's left is tossed up into the light, and it's completely quiet again.
posted by benzenedream at 10:36 AM on September 17, 2009


I like to assess art using a median person. I use Mechanical Turk to gather a statistically chewy cohort of opinions, and then simply go with the opinion of the person in the middle of the list, ordered by the submitters' heights. If the number of submitters is even, and their opinions differ widely, I write off the artwork as "slyly subversive".
posted by everichon at 10:52 AM on September 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


The naïveté (and the nativity) saves this. It makes for a genuine quest for transcendence...there is a sense of possibility....and letting others share in that whether that's something real or a fantasy doesn't matter so much for the viewer as it is all fantasy, but if the pictures stop documenting what's going on in the real world and become a thing unto themselves thats where they risk this all getting perverted, as in corrupted....Narcissism becomes so ripe for lampooning when its intent is vapid and opportunistic.

Also there's something intense between them that pervades the photos. Ashley (the blonde) can go from looking innnocent, to full on in your face WOMAN and Traci can go from beautiful, to ancient, craggy faced and timeless, like an old photo of women on the plains. Neither has a problem looking open and ugly if need be.
posted by Skygazer at 10:58 AM on September 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


To be fair, for most of human history, depictions of nude or semi-nude women have been prevalent and usually widely enjoyed. I thought the photos were very interesting and pleasant to look at, though some challenge the viewer more than others, but not necessarily revelatory.

The artist's sensibility doesn't just happen overnight, though. What they're doing is a little like what Nan Goldin does, but the palette and tone are different; I think Goldin's work is more humanistic, in a way, than theirs, which is sort of titillating and erotic. They certainly don't seem like unthinking imitators to me at all. I'd be interested to see what they do if they decide to keep taking pictures.
posted by clockzero at 11:03 AM on September 17, 2009


The linked blog is ok, and I will probably never look at it again. Undressed people are often pleasant to behold.
posted by everichon at 11:14 AM on September 17, 2009


Different people have different reactions to art. That said, I found this to be a pile of wank.
posted by rusty at 11:17 AM on September 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


(should probably elaborate....) ...and I'm here using "pile of wank" as convenient shorthand for the much longer "The sort of pseudo-artsy wank produced by people who narcissistically treasure their status as 'outsiders' to the extent that they seem to have no idea how vapid they come off and how little effort it would take for anyone to create a parody of their work that would be absolutely indistinguishable from it."
posted by rusty at 11:21 AM on September 17, 2009


Different people have different reactions to art. That said, I found this to be a pile of wank.

Thanks for writing that because it reminds me why I still check out what they're up to.

They look at the world with a sense of wonder and amazement and place more importance on that than the crappy jobs they've worked over the years. They do what I think art should do, take you out of the here and now and transport you a place outside yourself, remind you that life is more than food or sleep or other basic necessities.


...how little effort it would take for anyone to create a parody of their work that would be absolutely indistinguishable from it.

And yet so few do take that little bit effort.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:25 PM on September 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I really liked this, in part apparently because I skipped any real text from them and just looked at the pictures.

I think there's a lot more going on here than just Nan Goldin—if you're going to dismiss them based on sexualized snapshots, you're going to have to get snarky all the way back to Cartier-Bresson.

Something I did think was odd was the color profile they were using, what with all the yellows and blues. I wonder if their film is getting too hot or something's going on at the lab… I know that they could be digitally altering the color profile to look like they're using expired 100VC film, but that'd seem a little weird.

I do like how they play with the edge of eroticism with female nudes, where a lot of these photos that would otherwise be sexualized more due to the poses come across as more documentary due to the banal surroundings and the flat colors—dropping a lot of the lushness out of the images helps discharge some of the overt sexiness, whereas series like Josie With Pearls feel a lot more charged due to the weird power play.

I also think that a lot of the negative reaction here comes from the audience's own hangups more than anything in the art per se. I think we're inured to sexualization so much that nude portraiture becomes defined by expectations bound up in the "male gaze," where it's assumed that these girls are narcissists or what have you because they're focusing on their bodies. I think these are also an interesting contrast to Dash Snow's moneyed debauchery or Ryan whassisname (I posted the Where Summer Goes set of his but can't for the life of me recall his surname)
posted by klangklangston at 1:21 PM on September 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh, whups. Comment cut off.

Interesting contrast to Dash Snow or Ryan McGinley (?), where Snow's work is pretty nihilistic and Ryan's work is pretty idealistic, this is far more blunt and documentary in its feel.
posted by klangklangston at 2:25 PM on September 17, 2009


ouch, extra comma

Don't worry about it. No one will remember twenty years from now.
posted by Mike Buechel at 7:59 PM on September 17, 2009


thanks, Mike, I will remember that. in my dreams.
posted by dual_action at 10:59 PM on October 2, 2009


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