I’m working with collage and finding it really versatile and refreshing after a few months of intently painting. Seeing Matisse’s Cut Outs at Tate Modern motivated me to work with collage. The initial simplicity of his schemes reveals itself to be sophisticated and complex. Its that thing- people with years of skill and experience ( in absolutely an field of work and life) make what they do look easy! I thought about how Matisse created a spontaneity and freedom which concealed the great consideration he put into his work (apparent when looking at all the archive material of his studio practices in the Cut Outs exhibition).
With this in mind I’m using about 5 elements – multiples of the figure; black and white card; sugar paper; photocopied patterns taken from original wax rubbings; highlighter pens and pastel lines.
I move these elements about until I begin to find a composition forming. This process is very liberating- it feels like the play-state we are most relaxed and yet focused in. I then start to stick paper on paper , layering up; and respond to these moves with the addition of pastel marks. Everything seems to wonder about for a while and then comes together when my eye is happy with the balance of the composition.
Its almost something that works best if you don’t think about it too much. And its very enjoyable. I’m learning about how colours work together- how marks coupled with figures begin to take on a sense of sign and symbol that can suggest meaning.
I’m hoping to do some collaborative collage / drawing work later in the week with a fellow artist. Watch this space.
A couple of years ago I rediscovered a letter sent to me many years ago by my late father. This ‘happening’ initiated a line of inquiry about objects of personal value – if and how they can retain their importance a midst the mass of ‘new’objects that enter our lives on a near daily basis.
This inquiry formed the basis of my recent dissertation – see an extract below. I’m very interested in continuing with these questions both through research and my practice; and through discussions with others.
Looking For Home – Locating a Cultural Place for Objects of Personal Significance
‘Whilst comforted to find this tangible link to my father the experience made question whether we acknowledge the value of such objects. Do we instead place too much importance on aspirational objects to assert who we are? Consequently do we overlook the value of things, like my letter, to reflect ‘who I am’ and ‘what motivates me’ far more accurately than any object I could buy.
We appreciate the value of aspirational objects – such as mobile phones; objects that reflect social standing like clothes and jewellery and objects that create security like houses. I consider there to be a lack of acknowledgment for the value of ‘evocative’ objects within the day to day culture of belongings. I want to suggest that the value of objects goes much deeper than pure aspiration and that it reflects our past just as much as the present and future.
I will be taking my father’s letter on a cultural journey in search of a social and emotional place from where I can experience its true value. (It would be impossible to discuss all aspects of culture here so I have gravitated towards areas that I am particularly interested in.)I am going to challenge the idea that objects have value only through function and as aspirational tools. I will also take a wary look at how our relationship with objects is manipulated by lifestyle marketing and will question the survival of my significant object in the face of persuasive consumption.’