Welcome to my blog! My name is Kieran Wilson and I am a Fine Art Student at the University of Suffolk. This blog is going to be focused on my practice as I go into my final year of my degree. I will document my own work, plus some of the things that inspire me as I go along.
My work over the past two years has been heavily influenced by the concept of Memory, Family History and the role of archival material in Art Practice as well as everyday life. I work in a range of media, however most commonly in watercolour, charcoal and occasionally photography. I draw inspiration from old family photographs – something my family have always had plenty of. I find these images so fascinating to look at, to hold and also to reminisce with. That is also another aspect of my work – the way we as a society look back on the past (either fondly or with distain).
Wilson, K. (2020) To See the World in a Grain of Sand
Over the past week I’ve created a few new pieces of work. My main focus this week has been on exploring different materials and styles to try and extend my practice further. The first piece I did was actually an extension of my To See the World in a Grain of Sand piece from the previous week. I printed it off on a 36” x 24” piece of Giclee German Etching Paper and framed it in a black frame.
[My studio space with the framed photograph]
What I liked about this print was the scale of it. Not much of my work previously has been this big and so it was a nice change. What I also liked about it was that the scale of it really brought out the textures in my skin and on the glass ball. Seeing an over sized hand like this really draws your attention into the piece and engages the viewer. It also reminded me of a piece I saw at First Site in Colchester last year called In the House of My Father by Donald Rodney (see below). Rodney’s photograph was also printed off so that the had was ‘larger than life’. What this does to the work is really intriguing and creates a completely different work to what it would be if it was printed off life-size. It makes the subject of the work almost uncanny, and you are forced to step back from it to understand what you are looking at – but also to get up close and see all the detail.
Rodney, D. (1996-7) In the House of My Father
One unexpected outcome from framing my work was that, because the frame uses perspex, I ended up getting a lot of reflections from the room which the work was in. My lecturer pointed out to me that this could in fact add another dimension to my work if I wanted it to. The reflections in the perspex could become part of the work. This was an intriguing thought as it was completely unintentional, and would be something I would need to think about if I were to exhibit this piece.
[The reflections off of my work in my studio]
The next piece I created was a small square oil pastel drawing. Below is the unfinished piece, but you can see it in my studio space (in the picture above) next to my photograph to get a sense of scale.
Wilson, K. (2020) Untitled
For this piece, I didn’t really think a lot about it. I had an idea for this composition in which I was sitting on the floor, looking into a mirror, which would reflect me drawing the image I saw before me. I think it is quite an intriguing piece and comments upon the ideas of reflections, composition as well as the perspective. The use of the mirror to reflect the artist is similar in ways to paintings such as Las Meninas by Diego Velazquez.
Velazquez, D. (1656) Las Meninas
What is also interesting about this piece is the contrast of it next to my photograph in my studio. So many things juxtapose one another in the two pieces; the size, the materials, the highly detailed and thought out structures in the photograph against the impressionistic/rough style of the oil pastels. One thing the two do have in common, however, is this sense of looking through/into something that is reflecting back the world to us. This theme is really quite relevant to my work last year looking at memory and the way we remember things.
The two photographs of paintings I have included above are from Year 2 of my course. They both explore the idea of remembering the past in our every day lives. Both of them were painted from photographs of a set up of imagery relating to my family’s history. One (A Commonplace Memory) is an actual photo frame in my house, whereas the other (Realms of Memory) was staged as I accumulated memory objects (old photographs, books, albums, etc.) and arranged them in a display. These were probably two of my favourite works from last year. I think the subject matter, the composition and the style of them really encapsulated the point I was trying to get across; that memory and the past run through our day-to-day lives together. Whether we stumble across it naturally (such as smelling a scent from your childhood, or hearing a song you once heard on holiday) or whether it is done as a staged process (sitting down with a loved one and flicking through a photo album), it is all the same. The past is not really the past, but is congruent with us and our lives.
The other image I have included in this post (above) is one which I worked on during lockdown. The title is To See the World in a Grain of Sand and is taken from William Blake’s poem ‘Auguries of Innocence’. I chose this title as one of the other lines in the poems goes on to say “[to] Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand//and Eternity in an hour”. I think this coincides with my work quite well as it too suggests this concept of time being manipulate by us.
The photograph was one I took a while ago and revisited over Lockdown. It is the view from my bedroom window, but seen through a small glass ball. What really intrigued me about this photo was how something so familiar (the view out of my bedroom window) was rendered so unfamiliar simply by looking at it with a new perspective. I think this too relates to memory and the past as we can change and manipulate our view of the past simply by looking at it through a new perspective.
Also over lockdown, I have been exploring and developing my drawing skills, as I would really like to extend my drawing portfolio over this year. One artist I’ve looked at in particular is Paula Rego (there will probably be another post specifically for her work in the near future). The way she composes her work as well as uses them to tell a story really captured my imagination and I think there could be a lot there that could influence my own practice.