Exercise 1 Presence/Absence


siber_untitled15_n.jpg
siber_untitled15_n.jpg


Some student examples

Photoshop, like any other art tool, has some strong inherent attributes. We will touch on several, like layers, selections, masks and edges. These tools inform both how we work within the framework of digital imaging and how we think about those digital images. If there is one thing that the prevalence of these tools has taught us, it is that what is not there is just as important as what is in front of us.
In this project you will be exploring the conceptual ramifications of tools like Photoshop by constructing a sequence of images exploring the idea of presence/absence. In this project you should be thinking about both content and context. What is the function of your subject matter? What are the social repercussions of manipulating that subject? Where is the “truth” of the image? Can there be a truth? Does the manipulation of the image subvert or enhance the the intended function?

You will use 5 original images.

Photoshop tools:
Selection Tools
Content-aware fill
Clone stamp tool


Think about what the images are showing and what they are not showing. How do these images describe our selected topic?

Directions: Go out in groups of 2 to 3. Use the areas around the Smith building, the library, the grocery store, parks and public areas. Take photos of subjects that that might be interesting and their meanings changed if something is removed. When taking the photos, make sure to frame only the information that is relevant to your idea, don't include extraneous visual information; get close to your subjects. You should shoot more than you think you might need. Try and gather a variety of subjects and locations. Import your images in to Photoshop,1 file for each image.

Use one of each of these techniques for your images:

  • remove something leaving a white or flat color space
  • replace something with a portion of another image, leaving the original shape of the removed object
  • remove objects and put them in a blank area next to the original (ala Siber)
  • remove objects and leave little trace (ala Robak)
  • one of your choice

For expanding the width like Matt Siber:
Go into Image>Canvas Size and double the width of your canvas, anchoring the image to 1 side. Use selection tools to select a portion of the image, copy the selections and paste the selections on to the blank side of the canvas.

For all the techniques:
Select portions of the images where the act of removal adds to the content of the work. The areas should be left white or black, or filled with a solid color. Does the separation make you think about the implications of removal? think about what is left? Does either side become abstracted?

Save your Photoshop files, then export JPEGs of your finished works no larger than 1200 pixels wide and post the results on your wiki page.

You will be graded on the complexity of your work and the concepts you explore in your images.


Readings about presence and absence.

matt siber.pdf
matt siber.pdf
matt siber.pdf

dekooningpages.pdf
dekooningpages.pdf
dekooningpages.pdf

Charles Cohen.pdf
Charles Cohen.pdf
Charles Cohen.pdf



Examples of "absence" art
John Cage


rauschwhitepainting51h15.jpeg
rauschwhitepainting51h15.jpeg

The history of white painting began in 1951 when Robert Rauschenberg created his "White Paintings." Rauschenberg was interested in "how far you could push an object and have it still have meaning." Rauschenberg's all white paintings follow the tradition of monochromatic painting, whose purpose was to reduce painting to its most essential nature. In 1951, the gesture of painting an all white canvas was a courageous and unique idea.


johns flag.jpg
johns flag.jpg

Jasper Johns


earased-de-kooning.jpeg
earased-de-kooning.jpeg

Robert Rouschenburg


snowpiece.jpg
snowpiece.jpg

Yoko Ono

yoko_ono_painting_for_the_wind_en001.jpg
yoko_ono_painting_for_the_wind_en001.jpg

Yoko Ono

invisible_friedman.jpg
invisible_friedman.jpg

Tom Friedman

Invisible-Art-Hayward-Gal-008.jpg
Invisible-Art-Hayward-Gal-008.jpg


art and language pacific map.jpg
art and language pacific map.jpg

Art and Language


2008_03_wtc1.jpg
2008_03_wtc1.jpg

WTC memorial


Tom Friedman, Open Black Box, 2006.jpg
Tom Friedman, Open Black Box, 2006.jpg

Tom Friedman


garfield minus.png
garfield minus.png



cohen u3032.jpg
cohen u3032.jpg

Charles Cohen


cheese-460x360.jpg
cheese-460x360.jpg

Matt Seiber


Charles Cohen

caml3.jpg
caml3.jpg

Tabor Robak-Content Aware Military Vehicles


camil4.jpg
camil4.jpg

Tabor Robak-Content Aware Military Vehicles


camil2.jpg
camil2.jpg

Tabor Robak-Content Aware Military Vehicles


camil1.jpg
camil1.jpg

Tabor Robak-Content Aware Military Vehicles


Charles Cohen

cohen1.jpg
cohen1.jpg


cohen 2.jpg
cohen 2.jpg


cohen 3.jpg
cohen 3.jpg


cohen 4.jpg
cohen 4.jpg


cohen 5.jpg
cohen 5.jpg


cohen 6.jpg
cohen 6.jpg