First week back into uni didn’t actually happen until October for myself and a few others, as we travelled to Lithuania for a week’s residency (22nd – 29th September):
We flew to Kaunas airport from Stansted, met by Rimantas Plunge and Kaunas students. We then drove by minibus across to the western coast to the Curonian Spit, to the Nida Art Colony. We arrived tired, hungry and probably slightly disheveled. Assigned rooms (Hannah, Emily and myself in one) to unpack and settle in.
We all met up later in the communal dining area, for first introductions and sharing a dark circular loaf, a Lithuanian custom when greeting new comers. We talked about the plans for the rest of the day and also for the week ahead.
We met up later and traveled back across the spit to Amber Bay, Juodkrante to their Autumn Equinox ceremony of Flaming Sculptures, giving thanks for the harvest. After parking we walked along a pathway lit with candles as the light was starting to drop.
It was a magical event, very pagan with drumming, singing and amber powder thrown onto the fire for spectacular effect. Apparently Lithuania is still a very pagan country, in a beautiful simple way.
Back to Nida and out to eat, very cheap and we all found something we were happy with.
Left my Lithuania sketchbook at uni, so will have to wait until i’m back in to fill in info from the trip.
I absolutely love travelling to new countries and being part of residencies, its amazing and I feel very lucky to be able to do these, long may it continue. I’ve gained in confidence in doing so, especially being thrown in at the deep end with this latest one. Very first morning split up from our peers and grouped with unknown students. Thankfully they spoke English, but they were very unsure to speak it at first. It was just as scary for them as for us. They are students either of graphic design or new media, i.e. film, so we were doubly out of our comfort zone. I only had the one meltdown thankfully and recovered relatively quickly. We very soon started working together and a lot can be conveyed with pointing and monosyllabic noises.
Rimantas was good company, very intellectual and told us some history of their country, we are very lucky here, Lithuania is a very poor country, although since joining the Euro there is funding coming into the country. Now would be a good time to pair with them.
I struggled with the time difference, in that I couldn’t adjust and stayed on British time the whole week. I didn’t like the distance we had to travel from Kaunas to Nida, felt quite isolated in case of an emergency back home.
I didn’t produce as much work as I would have liked to, felt a bit restricted by our task for the week and having to fit in with them constantly. On a positive note we spent one morning all sitting together in the kitchen area, working on our own projects mostly, but good to work together in one space.
Back in the Studio, First Semester
Back for five minutes and almost immediately straight into Flipside at Snape Maltings for the weekend of 2/3/4 October 2015:
A great weekend, lots of visitors, especially for the art marquee, pinata making could have been booked twice over at least. The music was great and mexican style food was yummy.
Our Activities (UCS): Visitors could pay for face painting, I had a go at it, but I need lots of practice. One of the Flipside helpers was amazing, very happy customers when she took over. For one inclusive price children could make a badge, a flower and paint a ‘day of the dead’ skull face poster. This worked really well and was very popular. The flower was made of tissue paper and a pipe cleaner, very simple, but effect and loads of variables for future occasions. Ready printed posters for colouring in, easy but messy and because of the marquee being very damp inside they weren’t drying very well. The organisers had bought a badge making machine on my recommendation for children to either draw and colour their own design or use a pre printed image and it was then turned into a badge for them. These were my favourites:
It was really busy and tiring too, but a great event to be involved with and would happily do again. I really enjoy events engaging with the public, I find it exciting and really rewarding. although it does depend on the event and in what way.
More in here on the semester
Every time I sit down to write this blog I immediately grind to a halt, uncertain what to write and how to write it, today being no different! So, I’ve done the sensible thing and I’ve found up my copy of the Dissertation and Critical Review Student handbook and guidelines, as given out to us at the beginning of level 6. I know it sounds obvious, but sometimes the obvious just isn’t and you can easily get bogged down with worrying instead.
When I very first started here at UCS, I was excited and terrified all in one. Although it felt completely right to undertake this degree, I was also besieged with feelings of doubt to me being worthy, especially compared to other students. The very first fortnight, especially of drawing was incredibly intimidating looking at the other students abilities. At the end of the first day of drawing, I met a friend outside for lunch and as soon as I saw her I burst into tears ‘I can’t do it’. A pep talk from the friend and I regained my focus to keep moving forward, regardless of the fear.
The rest of that first semester flew past, painting, sculpture, then printing and lens based. I was very confused by the grading and hated having to grade other students, too much pressure. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and I felt it wasn’t explained clearly enough to us before being thrown in at the deep end. Not sure I will ever forget the horror of seeing the distress on fellow students faces at the grades being attributed to their work, nor will Adam (sorry)!
The day of grading in painting was particularly painful. In the run up to it, all I could remember of what Robin had said was, don’t worry if its not finished, explaining that he sometimes took years to complete work, so i didn’t worry. I also didn’t take in my accompanying sketchbook, or a label for the work, in fact it was a complete disaster. When Robin asked me why i hadn’t taken in the sketchbook, I was honest and said that I actually didn’t know. Luckily I could hand it in later. A huge learning curve, but needless to say it didn’t happen again.
For sculpture I was focused and engaged easily with the subject. Had an idea very early on and carried it through to fruition, being very happy with the result. I still have the piece in my house, without the leaves of course.
I’m not sure David was particularly taken with it, but I was true to myself and after an initial period of not liking it, I now love it and am very proud of it. I was true to an idea of seeing faces in tree trunks, something I look for now too. I loved my drawing of my hand onto the piece of wood, which I had sourced for free from a local firm; I cut it out myself, with guidance, using a jigsaw in the workshop; and I followed a path of initial idea, sketch, hone it down, evolve through; to the final sculpture, making finishing changes even up to the last minute. I had also made a leaf skeleton out of wire, including soldiering that I was very proud of too.
Printing and Lens based were the next two subjects and I through myself into them, with work I was happy enough with. My results were okay, but supporting sketchbooks let me down. I think having not done anything formal since high school meant I didn’t know how to do this side of the course, unlike others on the course. The good thing is that I learnt from this and by the time we started back in the new year I realised I needed to up my game.
When we started back we had to choose what subjects to follow for groups. Lens based was one, but at first I wasn’t certain whether to choose painting or printing. On meeting with Sarah with a few others for printing I got really excited when getting into discussions and soon realised that that was my choice.
I did up my game and threw myself into the work, producing lots of prints, following a theme through, but also experimenting with new ways to do so. I did firstly start with preconceived ideas, but soon learnt to let go, under Sarah’s watchful eye. And when I did so, the magic began to happen, letting the reins fall away, the creativity started to flow through play. Around this time I came across John Cage and fully embraced his ‘rules’:
By the end of my first year me and my work had blossomed from “I know its inside, but I’m scared and am not sure if i’m worthy and if I am I don’t know how to let it out” to “I am worthy and it doesn’t matter how I let it out, just follow the rules and keep working, contextualising, researching and reflecting”.
When it came to writing essays, each time I’ve got bogged down with looking at it as a whole, instead of breaking it down and concentrating on each stage at a time. It was only when we came to the dissertation that I was able to break it down and follow what Jane told us to do. In the end I still lost a couple of weeks, where I got stuck, but it was so much better than for the essays and I actually enjoyed it. I never thought I would say that about academic writing!
That first year was a real journey of enlightenment and discovery, but it also took its toll on me emotionally, not helped by the news of my sister’s step-daughter’s suicide. This time I knew I couldn’t deal with on my own and sort help. Since then it has been a bit of a roller coaster: to get the right medication; right dosage; to take it properly; and to learn to live with myself.
Second year, level 5, was difficult for me and I didn’t produce anywhere near as much work as compared to the previous level. But that’s okay and I’m happy that I kept going, there was a time where I wasn’t sure if I could. I am proud of what I have achieved in spite of my ill health. The beginning of level 6 was quite scary, the realisation that this is our final year and I’ll then have to go out into the real world, oh boy.
How things have changed from eighteen months ago or even, three years. I can now say with complete confidence “I am an artist”. I don’t know where my path will take me once I’ve graduated, but it will be a creative path. I was explaining to my husband how I used to have, what I can only describe as, energy oozing from me and didn’t know what or how to deal with that. I don’t have that now, as I express and use it all the time.
Landscape and Light at Letheringham Lodge
Following on from a talk and workshop with artist Lol Sargent, we were invited to apply for a residency at Letheringham Lodge, just down the road outside Wickham Market. Very pleased to be accepted onto this. This came around really quickly. The run-up to it was very busy, with the TtC training on Saturdays (see below) and helping Mother-in-law pack in preparation for moving. There was a point where I wondered if I was being selfish in going, staying away for a week when I was needed at home. I allowed myself to consider this as an option, to pull out and realised that it was ok to have these feelings, but that I would regret it if I did, so onward!
I wasn’t sure what to take art equipment wise, although I knew we would be looking at video/projector work, I still need to allow myself expression in whatever way seems appropriate at the time and place. That’s simple then, just take everything! I am going by car and don’t have to share the travelling, so that works. I limit myself to clothing, which I judge well, taking layers, boy was I glad I did. I’m anxious and nervous before I leave, but again that’s okay and I prepare myself by reading the directions, looking up estimated time for travel etc and leave a bit early, so I can arrive just before dark.
I find it first time and arrive early, the first one. Its clearly signposted, which helps my anxiety, a few minutes later and Adam arrives too. David and one of the owners, Pauline Bickerton, come out to find us, they saw us via the security video. We are given a tour of the facilities for our stay, P’s studio, pub, lots of other rooms, our equipment, boy’s cottage and girl’s cottage with an Adam too! As we’re first we can choose where we sleep, although the downstairs room makes sense for ‘token boy’, as there’s a second bathroom downstairs. I choose a single room, wahoo.
Gradually everyone arrives and get themselves sorted. Mealtimes will be in our cottage, as it has a working kitchen and good size dining table. The kitchen is stocked with the basics for us. Pauline will provide soup at lunchtimes, we sort our own breakfasts and we take turns doing evening meals, eating together. Matthew Bickerton gives us a talk on the History on the Lodge after dinner. Dave had brought Tension Towers, not Jenga!, we all join in apart from John, who apparently has stabby fingers, he plays an accordian in the background.
The first morning we meet over at the Lodge for a tour. An incredible house and they have great taste for how they have decorated, as you would expect as artists. Love the Unicorn! Another tour of the grounds and buildings. By the time we’ve finished its lunchtime.
After lunch its time to explore, where will we work, what do we see, what do I see?
As I’m writing this, I’m watching an Imagine episode with Alan Yentob and Anish Kapoor. Ideas are coming thick and fast, as I let my mind map as I watch, listen and take in the glory of Anish’s work. Whatever the feelings and ethos behind his work, I know what I get from it, how it moves and inspires me. I have looked at him briefly back in level four and obviously been very aware of his work, but right now as I’m watching the programme I am so inspired, excited. His work is brazen, awe inspiring, moving, tactile, erotic, . . . it fills you up, it leaves you craving more and wanting to go out and create big, beautiful, buxom pieces, solely for my pleasure! Wow. I can hear you saying, ‘so why haven’t you referenced him’ . . . well that’s easy, i’ve been focusing on other artists that better matched my work, trying to stay focused and pragmatic, not going off track.
Anish Kapoor C-Curve 2007
Anish Kapoor Shooting into the corner Royal Academy 2009
Anish Kapoor Dismemberment 2009
Just as I thought I could get back to where I was a few moments ago: I had been watching another Imagine programme, on in the backgound, this time about the painter Howard Hodgkin. I hadn’t been that interested in him, apart from the journey to India, that was stunning. Then Alan talks about Howard’s mural on the side of the British Council Library HQ in New Delhi, a collaboration with architect Charles Carrea and I stop in my tracks. It was a representation of the shade of a giant tree, made of black stone and white marble, as if sitting there in the shade of the tree reading a book. Absolutely incredible, especially the magnitude of it.
Letheringham Lodge cont.
okay, okay, i’m back.
On the Tuesday morning I had had a hot lemon drink, using a slice from a fresh lemon, with breakfast, followed by a left over mince pie (yes I know). I put the cut off lemon end into the mince pie foil tray to put in the bin, but as I was about to walk towards the bin, I looked down at it and the light caught it. . . . I had a moment, walking around the room to change the light onto it. Not surprisingly everyone laughed at me. I took a few photos, knowing something would happen.
Later on Lol Sargent came in and spent some time with us each to talk about our work and obviously I showed him the lemon photo as well as other examples of what I see.
I always go back to the scene in the 1999 film American Beauty, where Ricky Fitts, played by Wes Bentley, and his parents move in next door to Thora Birch’s character, Jane Burnham, and her parents. Ricky is a camcorder-obsessed adolescent who is dealing in drugs to earn money to escape his abusive Marine Corp Father. He shows Jane what he considers to be his most beautiful piece of footage he has ever filmed, of a plastic bag dancing in the wind. It is an incredibly beautiful and moving piece, with beautiful music to match:
“It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing. And there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it, right? And this bag was just… dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. That’s the day I realized there was this entire life behind things, and this incredibly benevolent force that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid ever.
Video’s a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember… I need to remember. Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world I feel like I can’t take it… and my heart is going to cave in.”
At the end of the film, Jane’s Father Lester, played by Kevin Spacey, is shot dead and in a voice-over he says:
“I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me… but it’s hard to stay mad when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… and then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life. You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry, you will someday.”
When I have ‘a moment’, and see or hear something, it is with my whole being; it runs through me from finger-tips and up my spine, ending in a spiritual shudder; that ‘eureka’ moment.
On the Thursday, Lol came back and worked with us individually on our pieces for the Private View. I showed him my video for a tree blowing in the wind, which he edited it for me. I showed him the lemon photo with the background edited out and explained I would like to project that too. He put a black mask over the blanked background, which also put it the photo into the correct ratio. Here is the Lemon Tart.
Private View – The last day, we start to prepare the site for our work and the guests. Tables out, refreshments and snacks ready, a proper dinner to sustain us, projectors set-up and tested, a site-map, floors swept, make-up on, we are ready!
Lots of guests, tours and successful projections. An excellent evening with lots of positive feedback. Landscape and Light was a huge success. Sadly I had to leave this evening, whist others stayed to celebrate and leave in the morning.
It was another wonderful experience, lots to inspire and work from. The other students taking part were great to spend the week with, some of whom I hadn’t worked directly with before. We all got on well, had fun, as well as working hard, thank you to them for making such a good, positive experience, especially those who made me laugh and hugged me when I needed it. The owners, Pauline and Matthew Bickerton, are an amazing couple, nothing was too much trouble for them, they are incredibly generous and passionate, talented too, a massive thank you to them; also Lol Sargent, and David and Jane for organising it. It was very hard leaving them all after such a great week, I found it really painful for the first half of the journey back. Thankfully, as I got closer to home this was replaced with excitement to be back home with my husband and family. I nearly forgot to thank the Trumpeter swans and of course Dottie!
It’s February, not sure how that happened.
Time to Change
In 2014, I found out about Time to Change (TtC), the social movement trying to end the stigma and discrimination experienced by people with mental health problems, as do I. I attended as a volunteer at one of their Villages, at Stowmarket’s Museum of East Anglian Life and had some really good conversations with the public who attended (written about in another blog). Following on from there I haven’t felt comfortable to attend any similar events, but did attend a TtC networking event at Ipswich Town Football Club last year. I have been Tweeting about mental help and sharing posts relative to mental health on Facebook too.
I was offered the chance to attend three training sessions for Time to Change and jumped at the chance, as this is something I am passionate about and want to Champion. I have now attended three consecutive Saturday training days in Norwich: Media Training, Champions Portfolio and Speaking Out and it has been brilliant. Like minded people, all with their own private reasons, wanting to take an incredibly brave stand, to stand-up and be counted, to say:
its all health,
whether physical or mental.
One impacts onto the other and can create an associated issue.
So please . . . use your common sense and work it out!
Stand-up . . . and reach out too.
1 in 4 guys, 1 in 4 . . . look around you.
It WILL make a difference and it could save someone’s life,
it’s Time to Change, its time to talk!!
‘Join Time to Talk Day 4 February 2016. Let’s get the nation talking about mental health!’
An Alternative Ending
Janet and John met and fell in love
They bought a house together, married and started a family.
They had a girl and then a boy
Their life was complete.
They lived happily ever after,
Janet had postnatal depression, twice
The second time life stood still
No-one saw it, perhaps they didn’t want to
Life wasn’t rosy, it wasn’t cosy
It was hell, for them both.
Janet was scrutinised, cross examined and found guilty.
The accusers hindered, supporters soothed
But, the helpers did help.
Janet wasn’t a bad person, she was a wounded person
Struggling in the survival of the fittest.
She started with hands clenched and head hung low, in shame.
With time, she released her hands and lifted her head
She saw the light at the end of the tunnel;
She wanted to walk into the sunlight.
It was her Time to Talk, her Time to Change.
Louise H Todd, 2016
Time to Change Champion
How exciting, I’ve been invited to put this piece of writing forward for their blogs, with some additional words. Done, sent in!
It’s not amazing how fast the time is going, it’s to be expected, if not scary too. The plans are well under way for the Fine Art Auction, to be held at the UCS Waterfront building, Ipswich on Thursday 25th February. With kind support from James Neal, auctioneer extraordinaire. The perfect opportunity to purchase a piece of art from an elite band of artists, many famous and local names, such as Ryan Gander. So please do come along, have a drink, socialise and help us to raise important funds for our end of year Degree Show. Thank you.
Critical Review Blog
In other words, that’s this. First tutorial this semester, with Sarah, to make sure we are blogging and critically reviewing. So far okay, keep going.
Degree Project Tutorial
Also the first one. I went through a couple of ideas, which I need to get on and try out, to see how they work out, or not and how I feel about it. I was telling Jane how last semester I had been talking about how I had wanted to create a safe space (a cabin), based on my Library Project from 2013, level 4, with the outside being the ‘bad place’, safe inside. Whereas my ideas this week, have been about the bad inside (my head) and the good stuff outside of myself, my art. This is a significant change, brought about by: how much I have learnt here at university; from other students; visiting artists; researched artists and their practices; exhibitions; the tutors; residencies; my mental health struggles; and not least, my drive to keep going, regardless, and in spite of, the fear and self-doubt I have and still continue to have.
I am creative,
I am an artist.
And I love it!!
Yey, i’ve completed and uploaded my project proposal for the Deutsche Bank Awards for Creative Enterprise, just have to wait patiently to see if I am put forward to give a presentation about my project.
I am so pleased with myself: firstly, I had an idea for a project that I think is workable; secondly I am extremely pleased I completed it; and thirdly I am so proud of myself for putting together a business plan, mistakes and all, for the first time. I will need to edit it so, to take out the mistakes I have already seen, but its more about the idea, that the ability to write a polished proposal (I hope). Although, I don’t really have confidence that I will be selected, I am proud of myself for at least giving it a go and why not, someone has to win it, could be me!
Coming soon to a Waterfront near you . . .
Pop My Mind
Live collaboration: Sonifications – Thursday 18th February 2016, 6pm, University Campus Suffolk, Waterfront, Ipswich.
Event based around the practice of Sonification, the process of taking raw data from a visual image and using software to turn this data into sound.
Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to see a piece of my work turned into sound, see you there!
10 PRJCT Drawn Together
Following on from the extremely successful ‘10 PRJCT‘ of 2015, I am excited to announce there will be a second one:
More to follow!
Royal Academy Students Talk
Monday 22 February we were very lucky to have three students come in from the Royal Academy MA course in London. Tom, Molly and Neil each gave talk about their work, what took them to the RA and at what stage in their life/career. All three were really interesting, with different bits to take away from each one.
After lunch they came to our studios and gave a critique on our work blind (no info supplied from us), just on what they saw and then some feedback from us in relation to their comments. Is is a fantastic opportunity to have this, as they come to your work with no preconceived ideas or knowledge. It really made me look at my work from a different angle, lots to think about.
Here are my notes exactly as I wrote them at the time:
Royal Academy 22/02/2016
Tom Worsfold, Neil Kidgell & Molly Palmer
Tom third yr of postgrad
BA at slade, then straight to ra
Self portrait in shower
About himself, sexuality
Couldn’t keep using himself, needed to move away
Liberating, where come from
Went back to painting and textures in postgrad, hadn’t had time in BA
Moved to larger painting with many different mediums, responding to day before a work, starting in one corner
Angst, anxious situations
Pushing back into the world
Gouache, oil, acrylic, mono print
From memory, but not so much about him, about anyone in that moment, blood test
Implants onto the memory in future ( b to a to b) cognitive
Subconscious pushes through
Sold all paintings in show
Something suppressed in the rendering
Dealing with now
Perspective of inside a girls mouth, tooth fairy
Doodles, once drawn is done, doesn’t then paint that
Jasper Johns, quote
John Cage self alteration not self expression
My response in the moment – The fight (?) between just going with what happens, allowing it to and the questioning of how it came, where from. Don’t question, just do, accept, embrace and ride the wave, like a magic carpet. Letting go of control, and see what happens, that’s when the magic starts. Anxiety is born of over thinking.
BA at Chelsea 2003
Sublet part of studio with friend
Group shows, social scene, get involved in as much as possible
Seven years later postgrad
Free, 17 and three years
Applied three times before got in at RA, common
Brick wall image, circle formed by cleaning the brick surfaces
Marking of time, transformation of material, everyday, surface, geometric forms
Plywood, lost wax then bronze
Formal composition and investigation into acting in bronze
Physical traces of memory and traces
Connection to memory, destroying and making, no longer existing
Evoking absence, weighty presence
Specific meaning and connotation
Abstract art looking at then, from conception
Gouache do drawing as way of thinking through process, became interested in them in their own right
What look like in colour, layers
Went back to painting, from memory, not immediately identifiable, formal decisions
Blind from memory of laying in bed and light coming through window and obscuring
Me – Feel really excited at Neil’s work, amazing, interested in Toms work from the honesty point of view and what happening, interesting he doesn’t believe in art therapy! When looking, it seems to me to be doing just this.
Intimacy of smaller sizes as apposed to being pushed away by bigger pieces
Loving cadmium yellow of cross
Phil Guston quote, baffle me!
Finding it harder to talk about his work and it’s now coming about the not knowing of his work and drives him forward
Me – The Kings voice film, when he finally speaks out
Representational, mark making,figured imagination, abstract
Uses a lot of ink on paper
Can’t be reworked, speed as opposed to paintings, occilates between the two, relate to each other, one doesn’t follow other literally
Art reaching higher level and not understanding polish artist
Talk yourself out of work
Frank Kline and embarrassment
Simon O’Sullivan freeing
Doesn’t matter if stuff falls flat, temporality
Sugar house studios
Unnecessary anxieties about pathways etc
Goldsmiths different registers of reality
Images of bird ringers and birds
Frustrated with art world, gigs music groups
Album cover etching
Diagramatic, inside and outside
Objects reclaiming objects, paper mache
Music practice and day job
Symmetry, multiplicity of self
Film, studio costumes, sets
Glasgow Centre for Contemporary Arts funding
Back to studio, film, green fabric, music sampling
Fade film circle of broken mirror
Transformation from broken to empowering spiritual after thrown into river
Applied to RA twice
Knew where interests were, hurled self into it, playful, uptight about outcomes
Anthropomorphised conversations and relationship with lift where living
In addition to everything real film
Lines on hand remind me of the drawing on Hannah’s hand
Felt seduced by technology, most immersed in the sound
Residency in Paris, good no studio, music equip, indeterminacy, writing
Hopelessness, paralysing despair
Music in response some shapes without edges
Filmed trees at night
Wasn’t watching the branches moving, it was the wind, given shape by the branches
Filming at night of branches and leaves moving in the wind, in the light, electricity
Aware of herself, her heart, neurons
Electrons jumping from atom to atom
Come back to BA work
Sound pieces, telephone, sleep song
Like sketchbook pieces, existing solely as they are
Audio works, maybe short visual pieces to go with
Align with David burn, laurie anderson
Seduced by transformative side of technology
Trust the essential drive of the work
If you’re still producing work after your first two years out, then that’s good
Bursary support from RA
Best part time job is one that puts you into situations that make you look at things you wouldn’t normally be stimulated by intellectually, ie usher at Royal festival hall
Be sassy about what put energy into, I.e. Higher paid work for less hours that doesn’t suck you dry
Be genuine to yourself
Talking genuinely, not networking, work with your temperament and what works for you
Rejection is good, can spur you on
Personal statement- write about you’ve actually done and not what you think, makes you more focused
Frustrations are good, what do they tell you?
Sell work abroad, has an interest in that style of work abroad
Marvyn gay chetwood paintings sell, doesn’t talk about in respect of performances
Names used when looking at my work were: Roni Horn, Joan Jonas and Laurie Anderson. Molly thought my photographs, particularly the two where I am in one and not the next, were disturbing. I can see why, those two in particular stood out to me when flicking through them. It was suggested that if I were to use these two in an exhibition, that they would work better, displayed separately, bigger effect and statement.
Perhaps what I am looking at is opposite ways of looking and seeing, the reverse almost. I know when I think of solutions for things, I often look in a different way. Such as talking about UCS students wanting a quiet room to study in the waterfront building, as group talking can easily disturb others; maybe it would have been better to have a noisy room for larger groups to discuss, therefore leaving the other areas quieter.
In the group discussion for the project of students and umbrellas going to Arras, they were looking for a project title. To me it was obvious PArrasol, although I did surprise myself that time. Things do really seem to be coming together now, when I allow it in and not fight it.
Talking of Arras, I just haven’t been able to engage with the project at all, leaves me cold. Its like someone throwing a ball at me and I am not able to catch it, let alone return it. Oh well, can’t do or be involved in everything.
Ctrl-Art-Del Fine Art Auction
Wow, the committee and team of artwork hangers have all worked so hard and now the day has arrived, it looks fantastic.
Fingers crossed for generous bidders.
Wow, its over and what a night. On-line bids, absentee bids and visitors all made for a very successful evening, thank you one and all.
Photo of myself, Fern Hillen, Emily Godden and the wonderful auctioneer James Neal, a star in his own right, who made for a fast and exciting turn around.
We were all done and dusted by just after 10.30. Then the memory that we have to make good on the display boards in the morning, when full of cold, joy. This was an easy enough job, could have gone faster if we’d had a couple more people to help out, but well done to India Hammond and Naomi Barrell for helping with this.
Sunrise to Sunset at Quay Place (St Mary at the Quay) Ipswich Saturday 27 February 2016, From 7am to 5pm
St Mary at the Quay is changing; the structure of the building is undergoing a transformation. Before the scaffolding and dust sheets are finally whisked away to reveal a glorious new public space, come and explore the transition of St Mary at the Quay to Quay Place.
You are invited to come along – take a look around and in response to what you see and feel, make work onsite using your own arts discipline. You can spend the whole day creating or come and go throughout the day.
Many local artists have produced work inspired by the church during its 500 year history. During the launch of Quay Place later in the year we hope to show the response of contemporary artists who have worked in this unique space.
Refreshments will be provided. If you need help towards material costs there is a small amount available upon application.
To take part please email Blue King: [email protected]
Quay Place is an innovative project designed to create a new wellbeing and heritage facility while preserving the fabric of St Mary at the Quay
So Trudy and I did, although not from 7am. Boy was it cold in there, but they did have hot steaming tea, which was much appreciated. Explored a bit, up tight windy steps and discovered the bells, beautiful.
Well worth the journey and very thankful for lack of H&S.
We found a cosy light spot, not difficult there, where the bells would be rung from and spent the rest of the afternoon there. Amazing how many photos you can take in just one small area, when you engross yourself somewhere.
We were finally kicked out, which was probably just as well as the temperature was starting to drop even more.
Out of all the photos I took, I think the one that possibly stands out in my mind is that of the slightly creepy head onto of the workmen shed. Bit weird.
Quiet concentration and contemplation with good company.
Yey, haven’t been to London since the trip last year to see Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy. Jane had organised the trip, but it ended up just being her, myself and three others and two of us made our own way there.
We met up at The Photographer’s Gallery not far from the Oxford Circus Tube stop. I’d never been here before, so it was lovely to visit for the first time. The first exhibition we saw was Rosangela Renno: Rio-Montevideo (22 Jan – 3 Apr 2016). A wonderful exhibition, especially if you have a fondness for retro technology and an itch to press a button, particularly in non-touching exhibitions. She used 20 analogue projectors, each with just one slide, taken from salvaged archives of photojournalist Aurelio Gonzalez, taken between 1957 and 1973. Drawn from 48, 626 negatives that were hidden between the walls of the Communist El Popular newspaper to prevent them being seized before the military coup and which were only rediscovered by chance 30 years later.
We next saw the wonderful Saul Reiter exhibition (22 Jan – 3 April 2016) a pioneer in colour photography, only now getting recognition for this.
He’s one of a few photographers who’s work I think are incredible. He had a way of seeing the world in a different way and of being able to capture that with a camera, so beautiful, moving and inspiring. I hope that one day people will look at my photography and experience the same feelings.
I love going to London, travelling on the train, the tube, exploring. Tiring but so worth it. At first i’d thought to was a shame to have arranged the trip for a Monday, when so much is closed, but actually in the end it made it easier to choose what to see.
We moved off to find our next destination, the Lisson Gallery, but got sidetracked by Easter bunnies in the window of Tyger, oops. We eventually got back on track and found the gallery, although we may possibly have gone in through the fire exit in error.
‘Line’, 22 January – 12 March 2016, at the 52 Bell Street gallery a group exhibition, guest-curated by Drawing Room, from 15 International artists: Athanasios Argianas, Ceal Floyer, Monika Grzymala, Victoria Haven, Susan Hiller, Sol LeWitt, Richard Long, Tom Marioni, Jonathan Monk, Julian Opie, Florian Pumhösl, Fred Sandback, Maximilian Schubert, K. Yoland and Jorinde Voigt. Some of the works date back to the late 60s and others were especially made for this exhibition.
It was a real joy to visit such a great gallery, not too big, well lit space with different sized rooms for flexibility, light and dark spaces. Exactly how a gallery should be.
Drawing is both physical entity and intellectual proposition in ‘Line‘ (quote from the press release) and coming from the guest curators, Drawing Room Directors, Mary Doyle and Kate Macfarlane.
In the accompanying exhibition pamphlet: Ceal Floyer Taking a Line for a Walk 2008 – line making machine and water-based marking paint on floor. Her work makes a direct reference to Paul Klee’s statement that: “A line is a point, which goes for a walk… An active line on a walk moving freely, without a goal.” In keeping with other works of instruction-based conceptual art, Floyer dictated that the line must start at the door – as if the road markings had strayed from their routes – and finish at an exit point, when the pot of paint has exhausted itself. The line-making machine was not designed to ascend stairs; the outcome being of an unruly line.
It talks about Floyer often employing familiar, functional objects combined with clear thinking and emotional sensitivity to generate works that challenge conformity, create constructive irritants and produce ephemeral effects. That each enactment is unique and fleeting, with the line later being washed away, leaving not trace of the work. Real herself said “Art is just a manifestation, a Trojan Horse, for ideas.”
I love the simplicity of the line being drawn on the ground, of it literally being walked along a path. But I find the concept of it mind-blowing, it says so much, contains so much of the person drawing the line. No two lines would ever be the same. So much information contained in such a ubiquitous, seemingly unimportant tool, wow, incredible.
Raumzeichnung (outside/inside) by Polish artist Monika Grzymala, conceived especially for Line and used 7 kilometre of black and transparent sticky tape to form the structure that stretched from the street facing window, linking it from the outside back to the inside back of the gallery. She describes all of her installations as architectural interventions or spatial drawings, which is what the German word Raumzeichnung means. The lines in this piece of work represent the invisible paths taken by people moving around, both inside and outside of the gallery, charting the energy as a sculptural mass and replicated by her movements in its creation.
Again, a mind-blowing concept, to replicate people’s movements with tape, into a tangible, visible creation. One you can literally immerse yourself in, to imagine people’s thoughts, lives, how they moved, why they visited, how were they feeling.. Was she thinking those thoughts when she conceived the idea and again as she was creating it herself?
Red Line Through Land, 2013 by K Yoland is one of a series of multimedia works as part of a four month residency at Marfa Contemporary in West Texas, on the border with Mexico. Her project used video, photography, sculpture and performance to investigate sites of division and restriction. The red paper
Sol LeWitt said, in his ‘Paragraphs on Conceptual Art‘ of 1967, the ‘idea’ was emphasised over and above its physical execution. Furthermore, he stated: “The idea becomes a machine that makes the art. This kind of art is not theoretical or illustrative of theories; it is intuitive, it is involved with all types of mental processes and it is purposeless. It is usually free from the dependence on the skill of the artist as craftsman.” Sol has his first solo exhibition in Britain at the Lisson Gallery in 1971. To imagine these amazing artists conceiving these ideas is incredibly exciting, to be around this kind of creativity must be so inspiring, assuming they are also nice people.
Jonathan Monk’s Fallen, 2006, is glass neon tubing fabricated in the design of a measurement of rope exactly the same length as the artist. The rope is dropped on the floor of the fabricator’s studio into a random spooling, different each time and each time it is made it is in a different colour. He describes his work as abstracted self-portrait and quotes Bas Jan Ader on images depicting himself falling from a roof or into a canal: “…gravity made itself master over me”. He connects his work to his own biography and personal experience and reworks work from the past, gently undermining the idea of artistic authority. Apparently!
I found this part of the exhibition very peaceful, contemplative, but at the same time inspiring and invigorating, emotionally and artistically, but not physically. I could have spent a long time in this space, just being. Fallen is an incredibly powerful piece, even more so when you have read the supporting literature. To imagine myself representing in such a beautiful piece; in my head it comes alive, dancing to internal music and rhythm, swaying and writhing to nature’s motion, simply stunning.
In the past i’ve looked at work with neon and apart from James Turrell, it has not really inspired me, but this is completely different and i revalue the idea of using this within my work.
Susan Hiller’s Work in Progress, 1980, was made from thread of a deconstructed painting, unravelled canvas thread, then reunited, looped and braided and then pinned onto the wall. Apparently it is a politically charged action associating her activity with craft or women’s work, also the repetitive nature of the piece engages with Minimalism, abstraction, durational performance and automatic writing. The literature goes on to say how it is an embodiment of the artist and also of a drawing practice losing control, of a trance-like unconscious creation.
There is definitely this feeling with any similar task, I used to do a lot of cross-stitch in the past and that hands busy, but mind focused and free at the same time is quite therapeutic in its qualities of action. To take something apart and recreate something new with it is a different experience to creating something from scratch, somehow more satisfying, a ta-dah moment. And working with your hands, guiding the material to its new form, impregnating yourself into the material, leaving a part of you with it, a sensuous experience.
This is possibly the best exhibition I have ever seen, a real inspiration. I’m not sure if I can properly put it into words: its a feeling, an excitement, a knowing . . . that I get it and it feels so good. I absorb it, in the hope that the more of these exhibitions that I visit, understand and take in, that it will help me to be able to produce work of equal measure. That others will stand before and have the same feeling . . . I can hope and dream’!
10 PRJCT – DRAWN TOGETHER
Time for myself and Trudy Read (level 5 at UCS) to take our turn for Week Three of the project of 10 artists over 5 weeks in 1 space. On the way home on the train yesterday we spent the whole trip brainstorming the concept of the Line and ideas:
Drawing a line under
Keeping people in
Line of attack
Line of defence
Line of sight
Chain of command
Crossing the line
Line of duty
Read between the lines
Outline – death, art
Line of cocaine
Lines of print
Camera, iPad, tripod
Rolls of paper
Project over lines
Lines from ceiling
Film underneath, on wheels?
Avatar tree connections
Lines of binary, shorter for zero and longer for one
Beanbags and lines between
Matrix of lines
Lines of data project over the lines
Lines of plastic, acetate, print wrapping
Newspaper sheets, rolled and fixed
Thoughts and note:
Rosalind krauss expanded consciousness – look at
Rope up strung from hooks in ceiling
Taped Fragile tape onto lowest point of where rope hangs down
Tape pattern onto door that is not attached
Got out A3 sketchbook and shone phone torch onto , also piece of mirrored card, filmed and photographed into corner
Placed these in front of door and filmed photographed over
Shook camera as took photo for different effects
Talked about projecting over tape
View only through window in door
Black cloth over head
Both brought in round crystals
Head torch, hand torch
Taped bricks in centre
Moved rope, so fragile now hanging off centre; the urge is to re-centre the tape, but I fight this and leave it as it is, its part of the piece.
Photograph through crystal
Crystal photograph through
Crystal onto mirror card, small torch
Childs light thing, changing lights, shine torch over, amazing shadows
If the viewer only views from outside and has a torch, then they are creating too
Performance piece of us inside, wearing black, face covered, it is a performance piece, of them and us
White block with child’s light thing on
Light hanging in cupboard space, with door angled over for back lighting
Looked up the definition of ‘spectrum’.
Time to choose a name, write some blurb, make posters and final changes to the set-up. The idea is that the exhibition will only be viewed from outside, looking through the window. Shine a torch through the glass and interact with the exhibition for some of the effects. Something black over the doorway to block out light from the corridor. Works well with Trudy’s torch.
Monday 7 March, Following a Line 11.30 – 13.30
Unfortunately life decided to conspire and Trudy was unwell, unable to come in. If it was just my exhibition this wouldn’t matter, obviously, but because it was joint, i’m now responsible for the exhibition of two people’s work. No pressure then! I want to do right by Trudy. Anyway, I set up as we had discussed. I had to move the light box, as it was clashing with the projection, but this meant it was then clashing with the light behind the door, so I turn the latter off. I have brought in a curtain to put over the door and borrowed a torch from Emily Godden (thank you), she also kindly went over to the waterfront to meet Pauline Bickerton, who had come in to see the exhibition. For some reason this torch doesn’t work as well through the doorway glass. So change of plan. Now you do walk in, one at a time with the torch and interact directly with the exhibition. Just need to wait for visitors, hopefully there will be some, I had put posters up and announced on FB too. Pauline said she loved it, so that’s one!
What you can’t see clearly, if at all, from the photo of the mirror, is that above the mirror was an A3 sheet with the following words written backwards:
Drawn together, following a line.
Let the light in, explore the spectrum, reflect
and embrace the shadows.
One the corridor outside the accompanying information to the poster for the pop-up exhibition said:
The Spectrum of Drawing
Monday 29 February, Trudy and Louise experienced the Line exhibition in London, running until 12 March, at the Lisson Gallery and inspired us for our turn in 10 PRJCT – DRAWN TOGETHER.
“Drawing is both physical entity and intellectual proposition in ‘Line’”
Initially we brainstormed the concept of the Line, then Drawing:
- Produce (a picture or diagram) by making lines and marks on paper with a pencil, pen, etc.
- Pull or drag (something such as a vehicle) so as to make it follow behind.
- Take or obtain (liquid) from a container or receptacle.
- Be the cause of (a specified response).
- Finish (a contest or game) with an even score.
- Cause (a bowl) to travel in a curve determined by its bias to the desired point.
- (of a ship) require (a specified depth of water) to float in
- (of a sail) be filled with wind.
Old English dragan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch dragen and German tragen,
These we brought into the white space and explored. Through play and exploration our collaboration evolved and broadened, to encompass light:
- A band of colours, as seen in a rainbow, produced by separation of the components of light by their different degrees of refraction according to wavelength.
- Used to classify something in terms of its position on a scale between two extreme points.
Early 17th century (in the sense ‘spectre’): from Latin, literally ‘image, apparition’, from specere ‘to look’.
This was the first time I had gone into a project with any preconceived ideas and the influence of the Line exhibition is obvious to see, but done in our own way. It was good to collaborate, we worked well together as we had hoped and there were a lot of ‘ooh’ moments in our creations. It has been a significant move for me from taking photos of what I come across to creating those moments myself (with Trudy obviously). Before it hadn’t felt right to do so, that it was somehow false or dishonest, guess I just wasn’t ready to do so.
Phew. I take it all down and pack away, I know I shouldn’t be, but i’m relieved to have finished. Now I feel I can concentrate on completing my blog, trying to sort out my website and planning for my final degree project. David asked what space I would like, but I couldn’t say as I hadn’t had time to think about it.
David sent out an email on Sunday calling us all to a meeting first thing Monday morning to talk about our space allocation for the Degree Show, a sure fired way to get everyone in. I emailed a reply with my request, first time I’d really had the chance to ask, having brainstormed over the weekend. He’d made allocations based on requested already made and his knowledge of what we would potentially all be doing. I had been allocated the section where Adam and two level 5s are and Lorraine had been allocated, as per her request, the seminar space, which was my preferred area. After a discussion we have now swapped places to mutual agreement.
Time to Change Blog
I had known it was coming and now its happened, I feel a mixture of excitement, trepidation and slightly anxious too, probably normal mixture I imagine. But mostly I’m very proud to have a piece of my writing published on their website. I’m getting lots of kind supportive feedback, so i’m happy.
Right, focus! I have done lots of brainstorming , as you can see:
I could do this endlessly, but perhaps now I should get on with playing and let the work come together, well durrrr. So easy to put off creating, safer that way.
Decided this morning to spend some time looking at my library books whilst at home, not something I tend to do too much. I tend to get the books out and then leave them in a pile collecting dust, renew and repeat.
At the moment my aim is to have my family dolls house, made by my Dad, in the installation. Looking through Themes in Contemporary Art, chapter 6 Dream houses: installations and the home, artists who have featured this theme, include Louise Bourgeois (I’ve previously looked at her a lot): Passage Dangereux 1997 mixed media and Cell series made in the 1990s. Light placement sometimes being of the gallery and room in the centre, or light being central within the installation, but very important for atmosphere, shadows and emphasis.
Bourgeois’ houses are full of references to personal experiences that took place within; full of painful memories that she later processed through psychoanalysis and also through her art. In psychoanalytical terms, to reconstruct a house-like form that is resonant with painful memories can help the process of recovery. In Gaston Bachelard’s (French philosopher 1884 – 1962) book The Poetics of Space, he argued that the ‘house is our corner of the world’. That it shelters daydreaming and imagining and thus helps to construct memories. It acts as both a physical and a imaginative space, with those daydreams, fantasies of childhood, remaining with us in later life.
Gill Perry, co-editor of this book, talks of houses being units defining and bringing together people and families, and their social and sexual interactions. That when inhabited they become ‘homes’, ‘signifying an enclosed dwelling or shelter which is familiar, comforting and secure’. ‘A home does not simply specify where you live; it can also signify who you are (socially, economically, sexually, ethically) and where up ‘belong’, this last bit was talking about geographically and culturally, but obviously our home is supposed to be just that home and where you belong emotionally too. This can often change as you are growing up and you want to make your own ‘home’, a nest. But for many their family home will always feel like home too, with some taking over the family house as their own when parents or grandparents have passed away. We make our stamp both physically and spiritually onto a house, making ‘home’, leaving indexical traces as we go. Walter Benjamin (1892 – 1940), German philosopher and cultural critic, wrote: ‘To live is to leave traces‘.
Cornelia Parker had a shed blown-up and then reassembled around a light, creating amazing shadows.
Mona Hatoum, Lebanese born artist, created Light Sentence 1992 and Current Disturbance 1996.
Both involve moving light sources creating shadows falling unpredictably around the gallery walls, confusing boundaries and encouraging a kinaesthetic response from the viewer. With all these pieces light is a primary importance to the pieces. For the work of Louise Bourgeois and Mona Hatoum there are cages, boxes and boundaries of restriction in one form or another, making reference in particular with Mona Hatoum of imprisonment. Wow, having just read chapter 6, it has clarified a few things for me. My ‘house’, with peaceful memories with mum and dad, were mostly of being on the boat, somewhere I always felt relaxed and calm, safe. I used to spend hours playing with children of family friends, all of a similar age, who we sailed with, making up stories and imaginary happenings; reflected in my installation in The Orangery at Holywells park last Summer. Or laying on my bunk, with the sun shining through the for’rd hatch, reading or daydreaming. The only times I felt otherwise, were when other family members intruded into that space, which I always found incredibly stressful and caused great anxiety for me. I love being on boats and in caravans too, they symbolise the same for me. A house doesn’t represent the same for me, I couldn’t wait to leave home as a teenager, to create my own safe place. Mostly it was just me and parents on the boat, whereas, the house felt more open to intruders, more vulnerable.
At home, I often move furniture around, changing the layout, trying to create that perfect space, perhaps that isn’t possible in a house. Lighting, particularly sunlight is crucial for me, on a boat or in a caravan it is easy to always be sitting in the right place, you just more a few feet and you’re there again. Perhaps I can only really achieve that feeling in a small multipurpose space, a bungalow, a loft space. Ideally every room that I would use would be south facing and the garden too.
I got a couple of DVDs out of the library, the first one episodes of BBC Two’s Making Their Mark: Six Artists on Drawing (1990); Sir Hugh Casson (1910 – 1999), Maggie Hambling, David Gentleman, Charlotte Fawley and Roy Marsden. Hugh Casson was very interesting, he started out as an architect and was taught to draw with a fountain pen, not pencil, which taught him to mark marks quite quickly and confidently. He makes shading by simply wetting his finger with spit and smudging the ink, simple, but very effective. He often writes notes on the drawings, enlarged sketches of particular building parts, or information on colours, so he can make a watercolour at a later date.
The most interesting episode was the one on Maggie Hambling CBE (b. 1945). Drawing done in 1985 on return from Barcelona Decent of the Bull’s head, significant, head is up and proud, fine handsome, innocent becomes humiliated, head defending until suddenly it hits the ground dead. Spent three days drawing bull, became laboured, tore up drawing, had one more go and it came together in 20 minutes, without thinking, it just happened and came together, which sometimes happens. To have these moments is why you keep drawing, otherwise it would just be so masochistic. “You don’t feel as if you’re doing it, you feel as if it’s coming from somewhere else, err and so you don’t really feel responsible for it. I mean I . . . I feel it came from somewhere else”. One of a series of seven drawings she made of her Mother laying dead in her coffin, she felt it was the right thing to do, 1988, drawing from life, from death, stillest she’d ever been. Maggie is moved by a subject that causes her to make a drawing and it becomes something outside of her, it doesn’t move her anymore, it becomes some else. Its not up to her what she is moved by, what is important is that she remains sufficiently vulnerable to be moved. “Somebody, i can’t remember who, possibly Rothko, said painting is an act of faith and I agree with that”.
Maggie was talking about having the same rituals for what she does when she enters her studio and how nothing can go right for days and days and days; “quite unaccountably something will go right and I don’t know why or how.”
Where does ‘it’ come from, and why? That’s how I felt when I had looked down at the lemon end in the foil tart case in Letheringham and it then became the beautiful video. Where did that come from? How? Why? I think more importantly, does it matter? Just embrace it, make the most of it and enjoy . . . have faith!
A trip to Gainsborough’s House with Mother-in-law, she has work in the shop their through Suffolk Craft Society. Great to see the printroom and that it’s well used and loved too. I hadn’t here before, although I wouldn’t rush to see his work as it doesn’t excite me, I do appreciate the talent and expertise. Its always good to look at other artists, especially to visit their actual work. I do enjoy looking close up and seeing the colours, light and brushstrokes, wondering how they mixed the colours. I don’t think I would rather be able to paint like that exactly, but I am in awe of his skill, that’s for sure. I did notice the difference from looking close up and that of from a distance with his larger pieces. And of course the cracked surfaces all telling their own tales. Something I may continue with in the future.
The Old Bath Hotel, Felixstowe
Mother-in-law has bought an apartment there, the one with her ceramic commemoration plaque for suffragettes on the front, how apt. Its comingly along fast now and I visit with her to measure up, look at potential colours etc. Its the first time I’ve been inside her apartment and make sure I take my camera with me. It looks out to sea, with amazing views, shame it’s not mine! Anyway . . . some of the windows have black plastic over, with holes poked through . . . light is streaming through these tiny holes, worming it’s way in:
Oh dear i’ve had another idea for the degree show. I write it down, adding it to the list.
Months ago I accidentally printed from my inkjet printer onto a laser acetate; the result being the ink just sat on the surface. At the time it wasn’t what I wanted, but it gave me an idea for another time:
Mono print with acetate, I love the result, one to do again with more obscure images for ambiguity I think and on bigger sheets.
Whilst pinning on Pinterest for research for 10 PRJCT Drawn Together I rediscovered Olafur Eliasson’s work, amongst others, such beautiful work and really inspiring. Again, looking at these works makes my brain start mapping again. I think of water in containers, reflections, metal spraying and reflecting, river water lapping against boats, etc etc etc. This has very much informed what I would like to do for my Degree Show, on a separate Pinterest board.
Time to start experimenting, to see what works and what doesn’t:
Hmmm much more work needed . . .