The investigation of colour began with my screen prints, where I was investigating using the transparent coloured inks to show the colours underneath. Unfortunately due to the transparency of the inks this meant that the colours were dulled down or made more of a pastel shade, which lost the brightness of colour that I associate with India. In India, and other hot climates, colours seem to be brighter and more colourful than that of colours in the UK. For this reason colour is really important in my work as if I want to aid the viewer in seeing and experiences Indian culture then I must try to make the colours brighter. I have been thinking about why colours may be brighter in India than in the UK. “Colour depends on the reflection of light from an object” (Dba.med.sc.edu, 2017). Due to the greater amount of light source in these hot climates, there is more chance of the light to be reflected from the object towards the eye. This allows the eye to pick up more colour from the object, therefore increase the brightness and luminosity of the colour. I have considered this in my own work and have increased the brightness of the colours in my work. I have also considered that as part of my degree show exhibition, I may need to add some strong artificial lighting to my piece to increase the brightness in my work.
Holi Paint/Holi Festival
Within this investigation of colour this lead me onto to look at Holi, the Hindu festival of colour, which marks the beginning of spring in India. I have been working with some of the holi powdered paints that I bought whilst I was in India. These can be used as dyes for the fabric and also the paint with and just throw at the canvas as the raw powdered paint. I have used the powder to dye a few fabrics, and also to paint with. I have also tried just throwing it at the painting, which I made on pre patterned wallpaper.
All of these techniques worked quite well but they lost the energy of the colour and movement of holi festival. Therefore I am going to try to use the fabric and powder to create movement. The idea is to have someone wrapped in the fabric and then throw the powdered paint at them as they run around, to dye the fabric that is wrapped around them.
Ink and Dyes
I am also looking at dying the fabric that I am using. I have tried this on a smaller scale using coloured ink and the Holi paint mixed with water. I really enjoyed the results of these testers. The have a lot of texture and colour and movement in them, which is the the basis of what I want my work to be about. I want the 10metre length of fabric to have colour and depth, with lots of movement, to mimic the busy life and bright powerful festival spirit of Indian culture.
Stemming from my research into sari fabrics and their patterns and decoration, I have also been working into several material using sewing. This has included sewing into brown paper, and also fabric. I want to develop this into my 10 metre of extended fabric. Textiles is the main enterprising export of India and is also a huge part of their culture. All of the clothes in India are hand sewn together, they buy the fabric and make their clothes themselves. This means that they stick to their traditional values and all of their clothes and individual to themselves.
‘Rauschenberg is well known for his “Combines” of the 1950s, in which non-traditional materials and objects were employed in innovative combinations’ (Tate, 2017). Rauschenburg blends together print and readymades in his works that become almost 3d sculptural pieces with layers of print. His combination of both 2d and 3d is similar to my own work, in the way that he prints onto the 3d canvas be that a simple canvas or a found object.
In my dissertation I looked at the found object as a carrier of trace. A trace of a past life brought into the present by that object. It holds a memory and a history of people that have used that object.
In my second year work, I was working with both 3d and 2d together. My final culmination of work in second year combined 2d drypoint prints of footprints with 3d casts of actual prints in plaster.
My final degree project work will combine the 2d print along the length of fabric and display this in a 3d sculptural installation piece.
I went to go to see Rauschenburg’s current exhibition at the Tate Modern a few days ago.
I have recently been watching Chris Ofili painting on the Turner Prize 1998 film. This has been completely eye opening to his painting technique. The way that he creates layers using multiple mediums on top of each other. He uses a variety of materials; varnish, paint, photos, glitter, sequins, and even elephant dung. His piece that is in the Tate Britain Gallery, No Woman No Cry 1998, is an example of this layering. “No Woman, No Cry is a very large, densely layered painting that depicts a crying woman set among various abstract patterns” (Tate, 2017). The piece is made up of oil paint, acrylic paint, graphite, polyester resin, printed paper, glitter, map pins and elephant dung on canvas. This layering is something that I am using in my own work. The layering creates a depth in the piece. I am hoping that in my own work the layering will create a sense of chaos in the piece. A chaos that mimics the vibrancy and busyiness of Indian culture.
Dba.med.sc.edu. (2017). Light and Color – Basic Color Theory for the Desktop – Technical Guides, Available at: http://dba.med.sc.edu/price/irf/Adobe_tg/color/light.html (Accessed 26 Mar. 2017)
Tate. (2017). Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) | Tate Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/robert-rauschenberg-1815 (Accessed 2 Apr. 2017)
Tate. (2017). “No Woman, No Cry”, Chris Ofili 1998 | Tate. Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/ofili-no-woman-no-cry-t07502 (Accessed 3 Apr. 2017).
Turner prize 1998 (1998) [DVD]. Channel Four Off Air Recording
Since I last posted, I have been developing my project through using the process of screenprinting. I decided the my original screen print design that I developed was too structured and controlled for my work and therefore have been developing screenprints by drawing into the screen with my finger, using stencils and creating negatives by pushing the ink through the screen. This has created a body of work towards my practice on both fabric and paper, for me to develop in the upcoming weeks.
The collection of red prints that I have made of faces, I am on the edge about developing further as I have think that they have reached a point already where they work well as both individual prints and also as a series of red printed faces.
With other prints I have developed by using layers of different techniques, I have found that sometimes the more layers that you add that it improves the overall look of the piece by giving the piece more depth and texture. Sometimes add more layers of screenprint can detract from the overall image by overpowering the lighter layers of print and making the overall image to dark. I have been using stencils and transparent inks to create the different layers in the prints.
In level 5 and throughout my dissertation I was researching and studying Indexical Traces. An Indexical Trace is a mark or evidence left behind by a person or an object that can be used to identify a point in history. In my studio work I was looking at footprints and the traces of people walking. In my dissertation, I was looking at the way traces are highlighted through the process that artists use to make their artwork. Charles S. Peirce, who wrote about Sign Theory in the 1880s, describes Indexical Traces as “an account of signification, representation, reference and meaning” (Pierce in Atkins, 2006).
To make my prints I have been pressing through the screen with my finger, this has created trace elements in my prints. Traces of the movements that I have made and also traces of my finger prints. these traces in my work, can help to bridge the gap between the viewer and myself as the artist. The artwork has a personal connection to me as my traces and traces of my fingerprints are in the artwork. This allows the viewer of my prints, to have a connection with myself as the artist as they can see the traces of my process.
Leading on from making these prints and also looking at artists that use process and trace in their work, I have come across the work of Christopher Wool, who uses painting and silk-screen print to make his pieces of work which show clear indexical traces of his process. Wool creates his original paintings by painting onto either aluminium or linen. He then develops these into a digital image for silk screen dividing the image into four images for silk screen due to the scale of the image. In the image the edges between the four parts are visible, as a trace of the the artists process of producing the print. (Funcke, 2017)
Atkin, A (2006) Peirce’s Theory of Signs, available at: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/peirce-semiotics/ (accessed 9/10/16)
Brinson, K. (2017). Christopher Wool, Available at: https://www.guggenheim.org/exhibition/christopher-wool (Accessed 25 Mar. 2017)
Funcke, B. (2017). Revealed in reproduction, Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/context-comment/articles/revealed-reproduction (Accessed 25 Mar. 2017)
My work in level 5 was mainly focussed on traces. This lead into traces that people leave by walking. This can include physical traces such as their footprints or the non-physical traces such as memories that we make, journeys that we take etc.
Over the summer break I went travelling to India, where I lived for a year in 2012/13. This is what has inspired my work for level 6 work. I am inspired by the colours, festivals, textiles of the places that I have travelled to, but I have also been inspired by the insight into women’s lives that I had whilst living out there.
In the last semester I have worked with the laser cut, to help to design some woodcut prints in the style of traditional woodblock printing. With these prints I intend to carry on with these to try different techniques. I have cut out a block using the laser cutter and I have cut out a block by hand. I want to try the differences using different techniques. I am expecting the laser cut print to be much more defined and accurate, as you can get a deeper depth and accuracy to the block when cutting it. However in traditional woodcut in India the blocks are cut by hand and for this reason I want to try to print from the hand cut block. In India the traditional method of block printing is being over taken by machine and factory made items, which loses the authenticity.
I have also developed some techniques and designs for screen printing. This will be a good way of developing my idea of making a large-scale fabric piece, which will also be wearable in a similar way to the traditional sari. The piece will have layers of design on it with different images of women and also traditional decoration. So far I have cut out my stencil for a large scale screen and printed this onto A0 fabric and paper. The technique worked well but there were areas that I was not happy with. Due to the size of the screen and the stencil cut the print did not come fully through the screen meaning that parts of the print were missed off. To develop this I am planning to make the stencil and the print smaller and instead of just using one layer, use multiple layers. This technique of screen printing has become the more prominent area in my work and the area that I wish to continue with the most in my upcoming work.
For me the element of trace comes into my work, as I am using images and photographs taken from my memories and my travels. They are traces of my journey and also traces of the lives of the women that I have met. There are also elements of trace in my work through embracing the naturals marks and mistakes made in my print. I think that these are something to be embraced and not ashamed about, as they are a sign of the process and the authenticity of the work. You can see these traces of process, quite predominantly in the left image, where I have printed the screen onto fabric. Due to the tautness of the screen and the looseness of the fabric some areas around the edges have failed to print leaving behind traces of the ink.
In the current work that I have been doing with the screen-printing I have been inspired by many screen print artists. One of these is Helen Marten.
“Helen Marten uses sculpture, screen printing and her own writing to produce installations that are full of references, from the contemporary to the historical, and the everyday to the enigmatic.” (Marten, 2016)
I went to see the turner prize exhibition in London and this is where I came across Marten’s work. I particularly enjoyed the way that she combined sculpture and print within her work, which is something that I have used in my level 5 work and is something that I would like to include in my on-going practice. With Marten’s turner prize exhibition I particularly liked the way that she juxtaposed big bold screen prints with the small everyday objects. This in itself posed questions to me as to the story behind the object and the meaning. The traces and memories that these objects held and their relationship to the prints and the artist.
Other artist’s works that particularly inspire me are Christopher Loos and Barthelemy Togue. I take inspiration from both of these artists in my work, as I am interested in the way that they display their print plates alongside their print, adding an element of sculpture or installation to their work. I am really interested in this combination. In level 5 I displayed my prints with a plaster of Paris sculpture piece. In Level 6 I wish to do a similar thing with my work, if this translates to block printing then I think that I would be interesting to display the printing plate alongside the artwork. This also adds another element of trace and process to the work, allowing the viewer to be able to see the process used.
The techniques that I want to develop through my upcoming work are printing; mainly screen print, I plan to use layers and a wide variety of both silkscreen printing and hand cut stencils to develop a more bodied print, that contain more depth and trace of process. I also plan to work into these prints more, using other mediums and techniques. I plan to sew into them and also paint and draw into them. Whilst developing these prints I also plan to work on my wood cut designs, developing the two different methods from the laser cut method to the hand cut method.
For me working onto fabric is a really important aspect of my work as it links into the context of my work. My work is about women and Indian culture. For women in this culture the way they express their personality is through their clothes. I think that this is something that is true all around the world throughout many different cultures. This is why I wish to make my work on fabric and also make the fabric so that it has a wearable quality. I may also choose to add some elements of my own personality, my own journey and my own experiences whilst travelling and experiences these other cultures.
Marten, H. (2016) Turner prize 2016: Helen Marten. Available at: http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/turner-prize-2016/about-artists/helen-marten (Accessed: 5 February 2017).
Martin, R. (2000) Sculptural printmaking. Available at: http://www.robertmartin.biz/printmaking-art_574/sculptural_printmaking.html (Accessed: 5 February 2017).
What am I inspired by?
*20 minutes of writing uninterrupted
I take the majority of inspiration from my travels. I spent a year living in India when I was 19. I lived within a community of people in the south of India in a small town called Ongole. It is small, in terms of India but massive in comparison to English towns – bigger than Ipswich. I lived in a hostel with about 150 girls aged between 3 and 19, who became like sisters to me. We lived with them, ate with them, I taught in the school that they went to, teaching English to them and playing games and doing arts and crafts with them to help them learn. It was one of the best years of my life. Within this being immersed in their life I got to immerse myself into Indian culture. I experienced festivals, one of my favourite being the festival of colour Holi. I wore saris and Punjabis everyday as part of my uniform at the school and also because I felt it helped me to blend in better.
We also got the opportunity to travel around the country as part of our breaks for teaching so I have been to loads of places in India and experienced all the different sides of India. I recently re kindled my love for their culture after I went back there for 12 weeks over the summer with my partner. We got to experience traditional block printing in the factory and bought some beautiful fabrics.
I love all the colours and textures that India provides but I am also inspired by the lives of the people that I met whilst out there; they were mainly women that inspired me. I have met plenty of women or girls out there that have been discriminated against due to their gender in their culture and country but yet they are so powerful and strong which is inspiring. I met a women whilst I was travelling and she was only 19 and already 4 children and was pregnant again, to an abusive husband and yet her faith (she was Christian) kept her strong, we worked within a Christian based establishment and the lady that was my Indian mother worked within the local villages to empower women through faith. I love the strength of women, who are in a bad situation and yet they become strong through empowerment and other women giving them strength. I want to highlight these strong and powerful women in my work, I like my work to be big bold and confronting similar to those women attitudes that I experienced.
I have been working with layered prints in my work, using layers of screen prints and mixed media. I have mainly been inspired by the work of Chris Offili but I have been looking at other artists as well such as Christopher Wool and Sigmar Polke. I find that mixed media and screenprinting helps me to get the scale in my work and also the bold prints and patterns mimicking the colours and experiences I had whilst travelling. I am interested in printing on fabric inspired by the textile industry in India and the importance of it. And also the way that it is so important to women as it is a way of expressing themselves through their sarees, their sarees are beautiful all individual and decorated to perfection. One of the things I took from my year in the importance of following what you want to do despite what society tells you that you can do, one of the girls I was living with called Kranthi (18) wanted to be a nurse and she worked hard to get into college, she came from a low caste, a poor family who couldn’t afford to look after her so put her in a hostel to give her an education and she went on to go the university to learn. We became really good friends and I was so proud of her for being what she wanted to be despite being told otherwise by every element in her life.