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.
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.
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.
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.
So I went into the workshop one morning to start off on my small shell spiral shaped sculptures, however, I didn’t have much luck. Obviously, I wasn’t expecting miracles as I know I haven’t worked with clay before but, I was working with black clay, this is fired at a very high heat. However, as I started using it I realised how it’s a lot harder to mould to shape in comparison to modelling clay, the technician told me after my few attempts that I wouldn’t be able to get it how I want yet until I practice on modelling clay because it does take some skill.
So that felt like a wasted morning.
Anyway, I did make one thing in the work shop…
I’ll add a picture of what it looks like once it has been fired.
Whilst walking around the workshop I found this:
I want to make a few of these for our exhibition, I think they’re beautiful! In black of course… I asked the technician how it was made and he told me it was done through an extruder:
I’m looking forward to making a few to be honest, however I won’t be able to use black clay, I’d have to glaze them instead due to the same problem I was having whilst trying to model the black clay in the workshop that morning.
Just before Christmas I had this huge idea, huge for me as I haven’t worked with sculpture before. And the idea was of a pair of hands holding a brain resting on a plinth, and a heart on the floor, all in black (of course). I started drawing it up which took me a while (see drawing of heart). The more I worked on it the more I realised that I should probably try out smaller things in the workshop, starting with ceramics because I know that what I wanted to do is a bit complex, so I’ve drawn up a few ideas of shell shapes that I’d like to make, I just need to take them to the workshop to speak to the technician when we return after Christmas holidays!
Happy holidays guys!
Been a pretty productive week, I’ve already started prep work for the off-site exhibition in March (slightly early I know!). Thought it would be a good idea as I’ve finally pushed myself into working with sculpture and it is something I’m set on exhibiting at the show.
I’m working on something slightly different but I’m incorporating my rope work into my preliminary drawings, but I’m working on drawing organs. I’ve not tried drawing organs so I’m a bit crap but I’ve made a decent start.
The idea I have in mind is to draw a pair of hands holding a brain, and a heart separately, in terms of how I see the works, they will be separate components displayed together, with the heart on the floor. The heart will have black rope either around/on the veins or wrapped around and tied down to the floor. I’ve spent a few hours here and there this week working on the drawing of the heart, and have now moved onto the brain which I’ll post about later.
I’m fairly happy with how the heart has turned out for a first try, at the moment I’m considering buying a pig/sheep heart to work from (perhaps cast it somehow). I’m also trying to figure out how to go about making it but that’s a problem I’ll take to the workshop with me.
Now I’m back after being ill and working on T.O.P. research, I thought I’d also fit some studio work in when I can. I decided to experiment with my rope drawings and abstractions by making a landscape out of them. We have been working on T.O.P. quite a lot and as I seem to be trying hard to do my bit, I have been doing a lot of research which has taken away time spent on studio work, I like this drawing, it’s different to my previous drawings and still has that abstract quality to it. What I don’t like is that it doesn’t look as unambiguous as the rope drawings, to me it looks pretty obvious that it looks like a landscape but someone else said it looked like female genitalia which made me think of Georgia O’Keefe’s abstract flower paintings? Although most people worked out that there was something ‘rope’-like about the drawing which is great. I was considering drawing this in a larger scale but now it’s complete I don’t feel like I’ve got the effect that I wanted to achieve from it. Which was that pure sense of ambiguity and confusion as to what it could be, followed by an awkwardness.