Yesterday I went to the Open Forum session led by Matt Roberts Arts at the Bath Artists’ Studios where I had a one-to-one portfolio session with Matt Roberts where I had the chance to discuss with him ways to promote my practice. This has come at a great time for me to come out of the college world prepared with knowledge of how I can make it work for me.
In the evening I listened to a panel discussion between Matt Roberts, Cara Lockley (of Hand in Glove, Bristol http://handinglove.org.uk/ and Jennie Syson of Syson Gallery Nottingham http://handinglove.org.uk/ ). This was a fascinating romp through so much of the art world that I’m unaware of. Really exciting projects Jennie and Cara are involved in. Particularly interesting to me was that Jennie’s first London exhibition experience was at R K Burts Gallery with Works on Paper – as Fine Art HCA students are doing in October (I’ve just got the proposal in a week ago). Also the ethos of ‘Hand in Glove’ that Cara is a director of is along very similar lines of the Framework Group in Hereford, both aiming to support emerging artists in our areas.
I know what I need to do now – and that is focus on my practice. I have had so much going on – all good stuff, but it has meant time away from making. I’m working half at home and half in the studio at the moment, with slightly my larger scale piece at college, but both cutting up writing and layering.
My piece at home needs cutting and sticking repeatedly to break it down, but involves drying time between each. The piece at college needs tonnes of sheets of writing to keep up the layers. With these pieces there is no obvious end point.
I’ve been doing further research into Fiona Banner (http://www.fionabanner.com/). Katrina M. Brown said of Banner’s work “but what we’re really looking at is the gap between function and failure – a word spelled incorrectly collapses the relationship to meaning and foregrounds its authors’ feelings.” The bold text is key to my own work now too. Banner is usually working with text (rather than writing, in my case) and she focusses on text sources that are often only a small part of the overall stimulus, i.e. film, where just showing the script is only part of the source.
The small things phrase I’ve torn up and glued onto postcards have become part of a postcard exchange, in a collaborative project with other artists I know (many being graduates from Hereford College of Arts). I am excited by the prospect and results of this exchange, and wonder whether I could do this with even more artists.
In my own work I am seeing how far I can destroy writing, while still having an indication that the result came from writing. I often utilise processes which takes the control out of my own hands. Ripping, random sticking, etc.
I find the conversation that goes on around pieces of work, artists and studios really exciting. I could start a visual conversation with more postcards (or some other form?), maybe with the same broken up ‘small things’ phrase. To increase the postcards reach I could make a mass of the postcards and provide addressed envelopes for their return.
On the wall at college is unneutral, which I haven’t added to since last week when I stuck pieces on partially so they stuck out. These bits are superflous and so now I’ve torn them off and thinking now how to destroy the writing further on this. Most likely next step is to tear the whole piece up and stick onto another sheet of card to break up further.
Fiona Banner has come to my attention and now I have read a bit about her and looked at her work, I wonder how on Earth I have not come across her work before?
She’s working quite a different manner to me, but her material is words and similar avenues of exploration.
I haven’t stopped to think about the individual pieces of work I’m producing enough. I’m impatient to make new work. Around a month ago I began breaking up writing by tearing my (frequently used) small things phrase (in sienna) and sticking onto card in various sizes.
Now I am doing a very similar thing but focussing on the gap between the pieces more but working into the space, pieces of work called the gap.
I think there is more I could do with the small things series. I’d varied the size of the card I worked on. In the smaller postage stamp sized pieces the cut up gestures of writing were layered on top of one another, so only the top few layers ended up visible. As the support became larger, more space for the fragments to spread out on. The focus on these was on the interaction between marks. Because the background of the paper written on was the same as the support, the gaps between the pieces of torn paper weren’t highlighted. In the gap I’ve been drawing around the pieces, adding definition to the edges. The first one (image attached) has a ritualistic feeling about it. To me, this piece isn’t neutral at all. The lines around the parts of writing play with the spaces in between, creating new shapes with their paths. I have managed to do what I was attempting with wood for the trees (large green and grey painting, with vertical green lines and grey block, drips and pencil writing) – with that piece I wanted to have frission between two contrasting marks. So here with the gap I have the written gesture and the drawn gesture trailing around the pieces in an unplanned way and without notational meaning.
I had a tutorial with our temporary course leader – Robin – on a two week visit.
Robin probed me on whether I am interested in the meaning of the words I’m using or the form – it’s the form of writing broken down, rather than their meaning. The piece I am doing on the wall at college ‘unneutral’ – I have tried to force meaning into by writing the names of people I know and cutting those up. This doesn’t have any effect on the piece or me. It is still broken up words. Cutting the names up doesn’t stop me knowing the names, it hinders others from reading it. I’m not interested in that – what is exciting to me is what new meaning the forms might take on, but more that I might find something in the process. Once back working with unneutral I started to glue the writing in loops, coming away from the surface as the flat surface was really dull.
Last night I was playing with the forms of handwriting in small macquette 3D forms, prompted by items I found around my house and garden.
I was also writing more material to work with. As I’d decided that the content of the writing didn’t matter I started copying out a page of dictionary, but this was mind-numbing and I soon began stream of consiousness /free writing which flowed much better than any copying. I’ve been copying Shakespeare and repeating phrases recently. Breaking up a short phrase helped to limit the material I was working with, and I varied the size I worked on, but with the same size and amount of writing – varying the space available helped me to push the form around in playful ways. Again I find that having a limit / s aids creativity.