Visual art exhibitions and events with a platform for critical writing
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By: Jo Farnell
Online sketchbook space -
# 70 [23 January 2013]
Photographically speaking, EBay images are 'pictures';-deliberate and staged, (unlike the 'snap shot' which captures a moment). They have the amateur, home spun quirky quality about them that appeals to me.
All EBay photos share the same purpose, they are taken for the same reason, to sell something. How amazing that millions of people worldwide are shooting 'things' in the same way, going through the same processes and modes of approach.
I found this photo of a floral sofa on EBay, with only 14 seconds of listing left. I saved the photo to my hard drive before it disappeared, there was a sense that it would be lost to me forever even though it was neither precious nor important. I've reproduced this image as a cyanotype. So now the floral sofa photo exists outside of the realm of EBay.
# 69 [20 January 2013]
The best EBay photos show a snippet of the seller's life; that bit in the background just behind the sofa for sale that they couldn't squeeze out of the frame; the bad carpet, dying plant, dirty window or someones reflection.
Despite this, used objects are photographed with care but they are most definitely portraits of 'things'.
EBay still offers a sense of discovery, a search will often harbour an irreverent or awkward object filed in a mis-matched category. Chancing upon such items is treasure hunting for those attracted to tat. (Me).
Whilst browsing, this got me thinking; how does the inherent qualities of an EBay photo change outside of EBay?
# 68 [2 August 2012]
These drawings were made in response to the site. I'm asking myself why I have begun to draw the body, particularly in an unfinished, disembodied and floating state.
They are so simple and naive they remind me of Francis Alys work. Although the lines do not render the body in any anatomical way, instead they suggest the form, something I like.
I haven't begun printing yet, but on first inspection the black line is not visible to any degree until a closer look. So really they look like photos of clouds.
# 67 [1 August 2012]
(site specific drawings on perspex, held up to the sky and photographed)
I've limited theses types of drawings to the sky and the ground, it seems that everything in between is not required...
These drawings are made in response to the place and time, for instance I drew the smiley face because there was a cloud in the same shape, but it's a shame it can't be seen in the photo.
I'm drawn to the ambiguity of the unfinished body shapes. Whatever is drawn and held against the sky has to compete with it's vista, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't.
Each photo is taken pointing North and straight up (zenith?). I felt it needed some sort of grounding. The drawings only exist momentarily, much like the snippet of sky, it gets wiped away.
The drawings are about possessing the sky in some way, making a mark.
In the meantime I've been working on some other ideas as well;
reconstructed clouds:clouds are photographed, measured by eye, positioned and re-made as faithfully as possible with stuffing and then photographed in situ.
bruise catalogue: still at initial stages, Google images of people's bruises are re-drawn.
# 66 [2 July 2012]
I drew on a sheet of perspex then photographed it over the grass. Discovery: perspex is the most reflective surface in the world, I had to resort to holding a sheet of cardboard up to create some shade. It took alot of snaps to get a half decent image.
This first photo is the drawing held up against the sky. Would be great on a blue sky and fluffy cloud day, not many of those around. The drawing would really capture a time and place - depends on where you are in relation as to how a cloud looks. It reminds me of lying in a field and watching the clouds go by; wanting to capture them somehow.
The grass drawing worked well, I had no choice but to include the weather (raindrops). By using the perspex, the drawing and photograph can be made simultaneously capturing site and moment at once.
# 65 [1 July 2012]
I'm exploring the idea of drawing through site specifity, inspired by the Mario Merz drawings from post 59:
I take a photo of a patch of grass, approx 15cms parallel to the ground.
Print out the image.
Go back to the same patch of grass with the image and draw an automated, continuous line drawing on top of it.
These images were printed out onto yellow lined memo paper and graph paper. The bottom image is on glossy photo paper producing a clearer line. I've found that grass creates a background 'noise' leaving the drawn lines indecipherable.
Essentially I want to connect the drawing to the site. I have thought of another way to do this which is to replace the drawn image with a page of clear perspex - the perspex is held over the grass with the drawing and photographed, all in one, two birds with one stone.
Sometimes I think I have the answer before I start looking elsewhere but these decisions are so difficult to make!
# 64 [26 June 2012]
Another dead hat...
I have three 'undone' hats with before and after images. Is it enough just to have these photos? It's so difficult to edit your own work. You have to rely on your own judgement but at what point do you get to recognise if you're flogging a dead horse?
# 63 [21 June 2012]
I've found a way to engage with drawing that seems to make sense; to use objects as part of the drawing. They need to be part of it somehow.
I bought some second hand tape cassettes then took them to pieces, I was intrigued at all the parts that make the whole. Does anyone use cassettes anymore? Surely they will be antiques sometime soon? While I was taking them apart and drawing them I wondered if this was all they were good for now, documenting their existence.
Using the object as part of the drawing makes it a documentative process. Here is the physicality of the object, buttressed with a pen.
I traced around the parts, drew over the tape and these images are of some drawings made with one of the tiny reels.
Similar to how you would use a Spirograph, I placed the reel onto the paper and attempted to draw the inside of the reel but without any anchorage so the pen chased the reel all over the page. It was frustrating, pointless and futile. Good. There is only an implied restriction.
I'm using A4 yellow lined notepaper. I think it's memo paper. Maybe I use it because it's already marked, white cartridge seems too formal.
These are preliminaries: I fight the temptation to try this process with different paper or a larger size, - it is what it is, so it's best to continue as is.
# 62 [20 June 2012]
"What a pretty hat!" said the old lady at the charity shop... yes I thought, I'm going to cut it up when I get home.
I've made a conscious decision not to become too prescribed with this, just go with the flow, but I've had some new thoughts worth exploring.
I've been watching Grayson Perry's exploration of the classes, particularly intrigued about his view regarding contemporary art being a middle class pursuit. I'm working class but had the opportunity to study art at university.
Thank you Laura Alabaf for making me your choice blog! Last time someone wrote about my work it was at uni. It's fascinating to hear about your own work through someone else, it helps you see where you are going.
# 61 [13 June 2012]
I took the sombrero apart piece by piece, tearing away at each strip of plastic, undoing the thread. It came apart so easilly. I feel a bit sad for doing this!
When you take something apart you find out what it's really made of, how these bits make the whole.
This is the second photo, with the undone sombrero in the same position with the same sitter. I'm going to keep on and see what happens. I will decide what works as I go in an attempt not to be too prescriptive.
I'll find some more hats tomorrow, it all depends on what the charity shops have on offer.
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