British Museum – Hierarchy and Power (T.O.P.)

Although I’m in the Materials, Process and Self group, I chose Hierarchy and Power, mainly because I’m interested in how power is evoked through mark-making.

Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find my notes anywhere but I’ll run through what was discussed on the day and what mainly interested me.

Firstly, we were show some drawing by Goya in which the subjects had power imposed upon them, we also looked at some drawing in which the subject themselves held a gaze, a power in the eye that followed the spectator. Hence this discussion was based on the hierarchy and power in relation to the subject. This was developed on when looking at a drawing by Tracey Emin in which the subject is weak, the spectator is gazing down at the figure draped across the ground, it is the viewer who is perhaps, playing the hierarchal position here.

We moved on further to how power has been evoked though mark-making.

We looked at drawings by Henry Moore, in which the form became like a giant landscape and engulfed the space. I really liked the Matisse drawing of the female figure, although most people know him for his cuttings, this Matisse’s drawing demonstrated his ability before his accident. I find it interesting at to how he managed to allow his abstract style to influence his cuttings too, and how he used this method to continue creating.
I found this workshop to be really useful because it helped me think more about what I’m trying to achieve in my own drawings.

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Wall Painting Update/Installation Panic

I am saddened to be having to write such a blog post, I finished my wall painting in advanced, so perhaps four days before the time we were expected to all install our works so that I could focus on organising my written work. However, I received a call from Roshai to inform me that someone has not only broken her small sculptures she made especially for the Stage 2 show and assessment, but that it had chipped and grazed the paint off of my wall painting. I made sure I was prepared in order to reduce the amount of last minute stress and avoid such things from going wrong. I was not only upset about my own work but also Roshai’s as she made ceramic sculptures – mine can easily be covered up but hers cannot be mended easily.

I think the lack of respect for other people’s belongings and especially their work at such a time in the year is pretty bad – throughout the year I have seen lack of studio etiquette from some and I’m surprised that people of our age group are inconsiderate enough to cause damage to other’s work where a lot of time has been spent and not even admit to it.

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I came in to see what’s happened so that I can go over it and they’ve chipped away at the wall so I’ll just have to cover it which won’t be a problem.

Wall Painting for Stage 2 Exhibition/Unit 7

9/05-18/05/2015 I knew our Stage 2 exhibition was coming up but having been so busy with the dissertation proposal and researching my area, I hadn’t managed to generate any new ideas. But I did mention to Liz that I wanted to do a wall painting at some point in order to: 1) Confront my fear of creating in front of others 2) Confront the fear of working on a larger scale because it attracts attention 3) To tackle working with a different medium like paint – I cannot paint but considering this would be temporal and the surface, emulsion paint is the most suitable medium. I chose a drawing (below) I did which was inspired by the extrusions (like Knots that I made for our off-site show) which I wanted to paint on the wall in monochrome colours. I decided that I’d like the dominant colour to be black and the smaller sections in the drawing that I’ve painted black to be white, because I know it would stand out against the white wall. Also it would be easier for me to cover up in time for the third years to use. pic drawing I set out to draw this by projecting the image onto the wall so I borrowed a projector from the loan store to project the image onto the wall, I planned to work on this over the weekend while the studio was quiet because I knew I’d have to work with the light switched off and clear out the tables from my space so I’d be making a mess! There was a few problems with the fact that I couldn’t change the scale enough for the drawing to project to the top of the wall and I couldn’t move the project back far enough either due to the parallel wall behind the one I was working on so I knew I’d have to improvise the rest of the drawing. Here is my set up and how it looked projected: image2-1 image1-1 I simply drew the lines in, they were slightly pixelated and the wall isn’t the smoothest so it was fairly difficult to create a flowing line. image3-1 image4 This is how it looked drawn onto the wall, it took me a few hours but I knew this would be the most difficult part. I also changed the flow of the lines because I found that the changing of scale altered the rhythm of them. I have this fixation with my lines needing to flow harmoniously together so this took me a while to change. My next step was outlining the lines in a dark paint, I picked up some matte emulsion but I couldn’t find a pure black, I bought a liquorice shade and I actually like this colour more on the wall because there’s something very mystic and foggy about the colour. image5 image6 After painting most of it, I decided to improvise the rest, I painted it first because I knew it would make it easier for me to continue the drawing upwards in a fluid way, in a way that it also flows or correlates to the base. image8 I filled in the outlines around the white areas and felt there was something missing so I added another extension on that reaches to the top. image9 I’ve had a lot of mixed reviews as to what it looks like such as roots, trees, an umbilical cord, female genitalia… But all have said it’s soothing and enjoyable to look at it.

Whitworth Gallery – University of Manchester

I visited a friend in Manchester for a weekend, had an amazing time hopping to museums and exhibitions. I went with her and her mum, it was a fun experience to visit a gallery with someone who doesn’t come from a creative background to observe how they interact and see art. We went to Whitworth Art Gallery where both Cornelia Parker and Sarah Lucas were exhibiting works. I was quite interested in Cornelia Parker, I know very little about her practice but a lot of what she creates seemed to have something quite destructive about it, especially the more process based works on paper and works with rope with for me, I felt there was a relationship between tension and destruction in a sense of how the materials destroy a surface. Her hot poker drawings really evoke this idea, initially I thought they were bullets and I could imagine the action in my head which resulted in the mark making, but when I found out they were hot poker drawings I sensed the painful burning of such a delicate surface. I was also taken by the serialism/patterns created by the poker which makes all seem like destructive/chaotic process are very normal. IMG_0640

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I was also interested in Parker’s sewn definitions of opposing concepts. I liked how she had taken definitions from the dictionary. One was sewn to be read right to left and the other left to right. It was pretty difficult to decipher, but it made me think about my own practice and how there is a blurred line between opposing concepts. I think it’s very intriguing how we as humans can actually define such abstract concepts, for me these feelings and emotions are indefinable but how we use language to express a feeling or the intangible is something I’ll never really grasp but as it’s probably the most universal way of understanding one another there is no other choice but to use language as the tool of expression.

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Having been researching Brancusi for my dissertation, I stumbled across his relationship with Rodin so I was amazed to see his sculpture of The Kiss wrapped up in rope. Within this context, I associated rope  with the idea of either being bound or restricted both romantically and violently, as we know rope is a huge inspiration in my practice and I think of it as uniting opposites and I see similarities in Parker’s practice, especially after seeing the texts above.

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Sarah Lucas

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I can’t say that I’m particularly interested in Sarah Lucas but it was good to see some of her works as I missed her exhibition at Whitechapel.

Exhibitions Around London

24th-27th March 2015

I also went to a few galleries, since we’ve handed in our essay, it’s been working non-stop towards the exhibition and I was feeling pretty rubbish after the crib we had with Liz, in hope that I would perhaps be inspired. I did this in between visits to people’s off-site exhibitions which was really great.

Paul McDevitt – Grand Canyon @ Stephen Friedman Gallery

This exhibition was pretty amazing. I was really taken by the technical skill of the artist, who used chalk and pastel on these large scale drawings below. They reminded me of my rope drawings but also many strands of hair unravelling. The detail is pretty amazing, I liked the ones without the typography because of how abstract they appear, especially the ones in which layers look like they have been ripped away – these seem very chaotic and speak out destruction.

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Richard Long – The Spike Island Tapes @ The Alan Cristea Gallery

This exhibition contained a few, fairly large relief prints and some colourful works too. I really liked the monochrome prints, in fact I thought they were the strongest and correlated well with his older works. For me they were more natural. I felt like I was being immersed in a forest of tall trees, but I could also feel movement, as if I was running through that forest. A silence is captured in these that I associate with nature that I feel the more vibrant prints don’t because they’re loud. I think of fire, or warmer seasons, perhaps destruction?

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Christina Mackie – Tate Britain Commissions 2015

Now, I really wasn’t impressed with the commission for the Tate Duveen’s Gallery, I’m not sure what I was expecting but I found it very anticlimactic. I found it quite pointless and didn’t think the statement that was given really matched what we were ‘being sold’ as viewers, because the physical content was not ‘selling’ anything. And I use the word ‘sell’ because I’m pretty sure there was enough money poured into this commission to make something worthwhile.

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Apparently, it was meant to be exploring a state of flux between binary opposites, these are self and world, subject and object, natural and man-made – but I don’t believe it was successful in doing so. I know the nature of colour was being explored, but this was only being explored through the ink that had permeated the silk nets and water as well as the artists use of colours of the spectrum – so this was probably the natural aspect being explored. In terms of self, I guess that would not only be how the viewer interacts with the installation but also reflections when looking into the water (possibly). Subject and object – I’m thinking this is processes that are intangible or the more natural process that occur and object being the physical installation and the environment, which then goes onto the space itself being man-made. This is me guessing. As for there being a state of flux, I couldn’t see that happening at all. Apparently the colour of the dye is meant to change but there just isn’t enough lighting in the Duveen’s Hall for this to really happen.

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Visits To Off-Site Shows

I went to a few of the off-site shows, although I didn’t make it to any crits unfortunately, I went to a few Private views though. But there were so many going on at the same time so it was quite easy to forget or get confused with dates.

From Art Represent on 9/03:

There were some interesting ideas at this exhibition, I really liked the prints. To me there was something quite primitive about them, they reminded me of African masks but I felt there was a cubist influence there. But I thought they looked great in monochrome too.

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I thought the sound detector piece was pretty great too, didn’t get pictures though as this seemed to be more of a communal area where people were gathering but it was innovative. As for the curation, I think the group probably could have thought it out a bit more but apparently they put it all up on the day because they had the space for a very limited time. However, I did like how Jinah’s sculpture/installation was placed by the window to get natural light.

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The Joint – Rachael & Juan

I didn’t get to see Rachael’s, apparently it broke the previous night during the PV and I was so disappointed that I didn’t get to! As for Juan, I’m impressed by how much his practice has developed since first year (we were both in the same tutor group). His mural was pretty amazing. I did a project on Mayan art during A Level’s so I could see the South American influence, I loved how he took traditional south American art and explored it in a contemporary way through the use of graffiti.

White Spirits – Peckham Rye

This was my favourite exhibition. I think the space itself was extraordinary – it was a bit of a wreck but in a great way. A lot of the internal structures behind what probably would have been covered up by plaster board was on show, the plaster on the walls could be seen, it just felt very atmospheric and desolate. But what the group did with the space was fantastic, the work made loos like it was intended especially for the space and the curation of it was well thought out.

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I thought Binbin’s paintings were amazing, I know in first year she stuck to working with paint but she has definitely become more experimental with texture, I think vibrancy of the paintings worked well with the space because there was a balance where areas of the paintings were fading away. The one’s covered with net like material reminded me of layers of spider webs, you could see she had painted in between the layers. But the colour palettes really added a ‘pop’ to the space.

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These looked really amazing within this space too:

I liked the effect of the cracked plaster (I think this may be the material used on the canvases?), it just worked with this space so well, especially the piece near the firework! The piece that had plaster peeled away revealing parts of vintage looking rug was really clever, in a sense there was a correlation with the piece to how layers of this space are slowly disintegrating, falling or decaying away.

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Off-Site Exhibition Crit with Liz

11/03/2015

Our crit was pretty small, i think four people turned up overall and I can’t say I’m at all happy with how it went. We had to present our work as to what we’d done. I didn’t think the crib would go like that, I thought we’d perhaps hear people’s opinions first and then talk about what we had intended to do. I felt really put on the spot and uncomfortable which is fine, but for a group crit, I felt it defeated the purpose because we spent most of the time talking and presenting our work. I can understand that there were very few people to give feedback but it would have been useful.

When I did receive feedback, I guess i felt really disappointed with myself because i hadn’t successfully put across what I’d intended but I was glad that I was given the feedback, John and Liz both said the installations looked like D’s and Liz said she didn’t really understand the line of thinking by creating the spaces in between. Also, due to the way the material is and the lack of ventilation in the room, a layer of dust kept falling on the sheets which ruined it, which upset me because it’s a beautiful material so it’s a shame. I was upset at myself. But on the plus side Liz said ‘Knots’ was well made which I am happy about. I just think it’s a shame that I’ve done myself some injustice.

I’ve also tried to retrace my steps as to why I made the decision to put the spaces in the installation, because initially I just set out with one idea and that was to create crescent moon shapes with the lights to create a relationship between light and dark in the space, as if I’d pulled half-moons into the room from the solar system. I had this idea just before I started writing the essay and then I worked out that I had in fact, decided to add the spaces in between when I started writing my essay about heterotopic spaces ‘third spaces’ that exist within spaces. So this is where I lost sight of my original idea, and because my mind was so involved in what I was reading and I was working on installation at the same time I somehow integrated concepts I was working on in my essay with the installation. It hadn’t occurred to me that I had done that until after the feedback because of how rushed everything has been. I’ve had no time to reflect on anything it’s just been rushing around setting things up.

As for the collaboration piece, we kind of abandoned this piece. I was meant to finish sticking rope on the other side, I said that I had run out of rope which is why I didn’t complete it but that wasn’t really the truth. I had the rope but Roshai had so much difficulty hanging her piece up, I pretty much helped her with most of it and this was because I was more methodical about it whereas she didn’t think about measurements and how to actually put it up in practice, with the weight of the armatures and the wall merely being plasterboard. Liz gave her lot’s of good feedback but wasn’t to keen on all of the fishing wire. I explained it wouldn’t have held up any other way. I spoke a lot of rubbish about how I liked the incompleteness of it but I didn’t, it was more because I knew that no one was going to say anything about the fact me and Ari diverted out attentions to Roshai’s to help her hangs hers up. Liz said that it was the weakest piece and was probably put in to fill out the wall, which she is right, we did feel uncomfortable with the curved wall being empty but in all honesty we should have left it.

What slightly annoyed me about the crit is that we were told that when everyone has looked around and considered it as a group exhibition because of the cosmic theme we were all following, it seemed fluid and worked well. But since we had explained our works individually, the response from the others – I can’t explain it but it was very anticlimactic. It seemed like they liked the idea of the works being done collectively, but then with the way the crit went with us having to explain our works individually, the exhibition was going to be broken down into individual contributions seeing as we were all expected to submit something individually. 

We will start packing everything away on Friday and treat the walls so that they were in the same condition we found them in to hand the key back to Gavin.