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By: Rebecca Strain

It has seveal meanings some of which being:
a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network
in Geology; a major range of strata that corresponds to a period in time
in Astronomy; a group of celestial objects connected by their mutual attractive forces


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# 139 [9 November 2011]

It's the new term, I'm back from Estonia and London and today I held the first peer critique session.

Writing the blog has been great, but actually having a discussion face to face with other artists, talking things out, much like writing helps me clarify my ideas. Talking unlike writing flows unconstrained by written grammar.  It is a direct communication, immediate reaction and response allowing ideas to develop as they are verbalised.

Now it is time again to reflect and focus, (right after I get through the list of to do that continues to grow) and I think the blog is the place to do this. 

Time must be made - I need to reinstate the habit that gives it's title to this blog.

# 138 [22 September 2011]

What s art for?  When I went to see the work at Out of Sight exhibition on Friday I remembered what art s for.  For me it is a reminder that we are each individuals with the right to see the world the way we do.  When I witness art made by others i am reminded that the voice of the individual within society s what stops us from becoming robots.

I had to go back this morning and make my wasp my own.  I cannot bend glass, I don't know how to make pretty things, I am not able to paint but what I make is what I have made and if I don't make it my voice will be lost.


Photo: Andy Walders.

Photo: Andy Walders.

# 137 [21 September 2011]

I went in thinking I knew what I was going to produce, but when presented with the reality of the materials and the time it was clear that I would have to rethink.

In the back of my mind all of the time is my supervisor's words about not being concerned about whether what I create is art.  But it's like not thinking of blue - to not think about whether it's art or not, it's just a little confusing.

I was so glad to be taking part in the neon workshops on Monday.  Working with something I had no experience with and therefore whatever I made was an experiment and whether it was art or not was irrelevant for now.

I had planned to make 'document me' n Ernest Truely's handwritting but it was not to be.  Instead I designed a wasp an master neon maker Julia Bickerstaff creafted it into neon sign.

So there I didn't even make the work.  I looked at a picture of a wasp on-line and drew a picture and watched whilst t was realised into lt glass.


# 136 [15 September 2011]

How do I not make my work look like art?  This is my quest as laid down by my supervisor today.

It has been noted that I appear to be over-occupied with the idea of making what I produce look like art.  Is this because I spent a small fortune on framing for the last piece of work I made?  I remember bringing them home and saying aloud 'these look like art'.  Is it wrong to make art look like art.  Is it perceived as over egging the pudding?

Yes the frames are totally over the top.  The decision wasn't made lightly.  I thought I had done the right thing been true but this is also seen as a fault.  I 'must not attempt to present an absolute' or to disclose a truth, yet at the very beginning of my research I reflected on Bruce Naumans neon sign "The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths"

"The most difficult thing about the whole piece for me was the statement. It was a kind of test - like when you say something out loud to see if you believe it. Once written down, I could see that the statement [...] was on the one hand a totally silly idea and yet, on the other hand, I believed it. It's true and not true at the same time. It depends on how you interpret it and how seriously you take yourself. For me it's still a very strong thought." Bruce Nauman

When I read it I took it as a statement of an epiphany by an artist who's work we refer to frequently because of the huge influence it had on the art world.  I have to admit I don't know so much about Nauman if I am honest.  Sometimes it feels like I don't know much about art.

Strangely enough I am enrolled on a neon workshop on Monday.  Maybe  should make my own slogan?

# 135 [14 September 2011]

In an attempt to avoid thinking about what I will do for Global Container on 29th Sept I played around with Cyanotypes today. I made about twenty images and there's one or two that quite interesting, but I really won't know for sure what they look like until they are dry

Last year when I went to Tallinn I made 100 sheets of paper a day until I had made 1000.  Maybe this year I make 100 images a day? I could use the paper I made last year to create the images - although they have not been sized so that could be a problem.  Also today I have found that with handmade paper you need to act quickly or the chemicals darken.  This is the same with newsprint.

I'm so unfocused at the moment.  I'm meeting with Lisa tomorrow so hopefully it will organise my head.



# 134 [13 September 2011]

When I'm at a loss for hope, inspiration or general confidence in the idea of being an artist I go and delve into the minds of those academics who have gone through the selection process to have their musings published in a contemporary art journal.  Today I was not disappointed.  In the summer edition of Afterall, published by Central St Martins College of Art and Design I came across Francis McKee's essay on Minerva Cuevas.

Human undertanding and the relationship with animals is explored as a way of viewing the work of Cuevas.  I've read it twice today and I can't say how overjoyed I was to find references for commodity and consuming, museums and ideas of presentation, social unrest, camera obscura and the work of Ayn Rand; all of which have been floating around my head for the past year or so.

I'm so excited by this discovery I don't have the discipline to make sense of it in a blog post.  All of the strands of reference that contribute to the beginnings of my understanding are floating like single stands of a web floating in the breeze, expectant of a venue to create. I feel that this essay is a strand that has attached itself and now I can begin to weave my web.  From here I can spiral outwards.

# 133 [12 September 2011]

I've sorted out some of what needs sorting out but for yet another day I have avoided art.  I think I need to plan my days better or I will continue to fritter my time away.


# 132 [11 September 2011]

I should go to the sea more.

# 131 [9 September 2011]

I had a meeting with Carly from marketing today about doing schools workshops at AUCB on a regular basis.  Violet at the Gallery has already got me booked in for a session in October when I come back from Estonia.

I'm glad I will be putting my skills and experience to use.  It's already making me feel valued even though it's just a date in the diary for the moment.

I also made an appointment with my supervisor for next week which is timely and will give me a deadline for preparing a plan of work for the residency.

It's been all paperwork and meetings today, not very creative but these things must happen I guess.



film still

film still

# 130 [8 September 2011]

I'm not a morning person. It's not my fault.  I went to bed at 11.30pm and stayed awake playing an unwritten film of the drawing with light workshop I'm hoping to do on 20th October.

Then my mind wandered to performing in Tallinn.  Only 19 days and I will be there.  I arrive on 27th and perform on 29th so I was hoping to have a fairly clear idea for what I will do.  I sent Sandra an email last night and she says I should develop the work on site.  A lot has changed she says.  The place is a constant state of flux so I shouldn't be to precise about how I see it happening.

I played around today and made a film that my partner can't watch for more than 30 seconds because he says its creepy.  He says he doesn't like the tune I'm humming.  It's sounds familiar he says but he doesn't know it. Here I go again, my supervisor says I like to upset people with my work - maybe i do.  I like that he finds it creepy.  Nobody else has seen it so I might post it on the MA group and see what my fellow students think. 

Actually I think I need to do it again because I'm not in the shot properly.  It's shouldn't take long and now that I've tidied the room a bit there should be less hassle. 

Also today I made some simple Cyanotypes.  I was impatient and rinses them before they were fully developed.

I was pretty productive today when I decided to accept that I'm just not a morning person.  I spent some time watching art21 on you-tube and found this artist who make portable performances.  This is what I have to do for Estonia.


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Rebecca Strain

student of Fine Art