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. 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: 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
Out of the entire T.O.P. unit, this has probably been the most useful part, I feel I gained more out of this one lecture than I have these past 3 odd months of ‘group work’.
I arrived slightly late to the lecture but it was more about social, political and critical aspects of her practice which encouraged me to think about my social, political and critical position as an artist and how this is an influence in my practice. I never thought of my practice as being something political or critical but the more I thought about it, I realised that I am in fact being highly critical of my upbringing, gender, racial and cultural issues which is naturally, where is becomes political.
In essence, I’m criticising inequalities and differences by trying to bind polar opposites together to create value consensus. For example, with gender, I’m a female artist who wants to make really robust and work that has been said to look ‘particularly masculine.’ OR with culture and my upbringing, males are highly favoured and coming from an Indian family, it’s not the done thing to be studying Art because we’re encouraged to study ‘more academic’ subjects such as medicine or law. In terms of black vs. white, this relates to not just the uniting of races but, I’ve always known black to be read as a dark, evil and scary colour and white associated with goodness, purity and innocence. I don’t agree with the connotations of black because I genuinely believe without darkness, you cannot find light. The opposites thrive off one another… coexist. But Mo said something to me which really stuck with me and that’s along the lines of, ‘In Western culture, we are made to believe that there is a more dominant component in binary opposites, one will always out do the other yet they cannot survive without one another.’ This was when discussing my ideas on gender and how this plays a role in my practice.
There are other themes, nature vs. man made being an evident one but in realising some of the themes I’m exploring politically and critically, it’s ignited a ‘fire in my belly.’ Now I feel like I know what I’m searching to achieve in my practice I’m becoming extremely motivated to create even more.
After my tutorial with Mo Throp, I did some research on Eva Rothschild and I’ve become a fan! I think gaining some conceptual understand about her practice and the aesthetics gave me some clarity in regards to what I’m doing because I’ve never been able to explain it as concisely as she has done so in the video. I’ve also picked out quotes that I really liked because they correspond with my practice and have me thinking ‘I couldn’t have explained it better myself!’.
‘What I’m kind of interested in is created a sustained level of visual confusion… or physical confusion in terms of apprehending an actual object… ephemeral or something, there is something solid and real and physical an empirically in front and yet your perception of it due to the nature of the object – which I suppose which is what I do with the object or how I create – becomes confused, there becomes a lack of certainty in your gaze…’
‘Some of the works are quite continuous, some of the works like us women where you’re making those beaded pieces is like something that constantly happens in the studio…’
‘So that there’s a kind of tension between the touch and the untouch…’
From 2:28 onwards, the curator explains how Eva uses simple, industrial, geometric forms but it’s in how she manipulates them that they develop a transcendence or how, when the spectator views the sculpture, in their confusion there is.. ‘a moment of kind of magic that happens there,’
My recorded tutorial with Mo Throp went incredibly well. In fact it cleared up a lot of dilemma’s I have been experiencing regarding my practice because it’s evident that I’ve been trying to bind opposing concepts together. I’ve always been aware of the fascination I have with dualities and how this relationship between opposites has become something very important and inspiring. The only trouble is I’ve had many problems trying to find what it is about the relationships between dual opposites that attracts me the most. And Mo hit the nail on the head when she had a look at my work and asked me what I’m interested in and why I draw the way I do.
I gave an explanation to Mo about how I was initially inspired by the portrayal of Goddesses in Greek Mythology, how they were creative both artistically (weaving), and maternally YET they demonstrate masculine qualities. They are displayed as being extremely empowered and I find these dualities inspiring. I also told her about feedback I had received from the drawings about how organic they look, Mo said they’re really futuristic and alien and asked my opinion. I said I was aiming to put across both qualities and that the reason I used rope is because it’s quite robust and not particularly feminine. I emphasized I did not want my art to look like it has been done by the hand of a woman, I am trying to achieve something powerful, confusing yet otherworldly.
Mo was really excited and enthusiastic by my ideas and what I’m doing with my practice, this was really helpful for me as I’m not the most confident and I feel even worse having had a slow recovery from being ill, it’s set me back a lot seeing as these were new ideas so I felt it was crucial for me to really dig in and get making as soon as our essays were complete. But obviously, things didn’t go to plan. Mo told me not to worry, some people may seem to be confident but a lot don’t have a clue what they’re doing and that even those who aren’t so confident can do just as well.
In the midst of her excitement she also said I MUST have a look at the work of Eva Rothschild, she’s a sculptor who I know of briefly by Mo taught her at Goldsmith’s and said that the ideas and aesthetics of our practice and work are similar and that research would ‘get the juices flowing, a real turn on.’ ahahaha.
Mo told me how beautiful she thought my drawings are and that I need to exploit them more, perhaps go larger or paint on walls, we both agreed a larger scale would really do these justice and I explained to her that I’m easing myself into going into sculpture (I actually visited Ceramics just before the tutorial so I’ll write a separate post on this later).
I then discussed my concerns about how I find it difficult to explain what I’m doing with my practice, Mo summarised it for me as…
‘Where nature and man made collide and become one… Where opposites, both natural and supernatural, form a third entity in it’s own right. You’ve been uniting binary opposites into a singular entity as opposed to playing them against one another…’
This is just parts of what she was saying, but she referred to it as an ‘unholy alliance’ and that I have been creating forms in or from the ‘third space’ that go beyond anything we can comprehend. They cause confusion. She gave me a list of things to research and told me to contact Maria Walsh regarding theoretical sources on the third space to help me out with my essay.
Overall, I thought this was such a good tutorial and perhaps one of the most useful conversations I’ve have with a tutor or lecturer so far because it’s really help me find my feet.
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.