My research direction and ideas have taken a new direction over the last week. After having a refresher induction in the metal workshop I had a sudden urge to work and play with this material. I have always been surrounded by metal and other industrial materials but seemed to avoid their existence and use in my work; maybe I wished to find my own identity and work with new materials that I had no connection with. Since starting my MA and studying away from home, I have this urge to work with metal, lead and rubber, all of which I can find in my father’s garage. This could be a nostalgic attempt to connect my work with home.
Most recently I watched a documentary on Richard Serra ‘Imagine Man of Steel’ from back in November 2008 and I was drawn to the simplicity but mesmerising aesthetic of his work. More importantly it was interesting to hear him describe his work; there is no subject linked to his sculptures, he relies purely on the subjectivity of the audience and how the individual experiences each piece. The scale of his monumental sculptures are powerful and atract attention; the thick sheets of steel are a phenomenal achievement and own the space they occupy.
Space and scale are elements that I will now explore further using diverse materials and traditional sculpture methods. I’m curious to explore the balance and relationship between artist and the work; work and the audience. How will an audience engage with the work? It’s about experiencing the what? The work becomes has a whole different meaning when it is put in an exhibiting space; whether this is a gallery, outdoors or any other space that involve an audience. As an artist, it can sometimes be difficult to let go of work and set it free for an audience (either public or the art world) to critique.
Having an open plan studio space and surrounded by a range of materials to play with and manipulate informs my practice and is my first point of contact. The exploration of minimalism and form has drawn me to new and invigorating materials that were always in my surroundings but never touched or approached as a medium.
These forms act as maquettes for larger works; using rubber and plastic tubing both of which are flexible allows me to manipulate their form and natural tendencies. After observation of the pieces I can see that weight as an element is missing; possibly concrete would transition as an interactive medium. Another element that is explored is the rawness of the rubber and plastic and the marks of cutting and ripping that are left in their raw form.
It was very helpful to have had the advice and guidance of Holly and Stefhan in our presentation morning. Following on from my previous work and concepts, they informed and challenged my under of my own work. What am I trying to achieve? Why are certain elements cast and others kept as the original objects themselves? After viewing my presentation and looking back at my work, realising that the interest lies purely in the material and the materiality of what surrounds us every day. Holly suggested that I take one aspect e.g. plaster and focus entirely on plaster; its properties, pushing and testing the boundaries of this material and what can be achieved. My previous work has an abject aesthetic that has always been a challenge and difficult to deliver to an audience. The next step is to develop a clearer understanding and a direction of how the work will be read from an audience. The possibility of filming process, performance and sculpture; most importantly is the simplicity of materials.
Exploring and making has begun, testing boundaries and working with new materials. My recent work involved looking at British serial killers, unearthing details of their crimes and creating work within a sculptural context. Process has always been a focal point within my practice, specifically casting and mould making using traditional materials of plaster, wax and bronze. In my most recent work I began exploring concrete as a medium and its possibilities were endless; the rawness and industrial properties began to take my work in a new direction.
My most recent experiments involve braking traditional boundaries in sculpture with my use of materials; jelly, hot dog sausages and bakes beans are organic elements that I’ve began to explore. Minimalist forms engage the work; the interaction between the wall and floor within a space is an element that I wish to explore further. Artists Eva Hesse, Carl Andre, Duchamp have influenced my thoughts and making over the last few weeks. The forms and unconventional materials that Hesse used; the grid and repetitive works of Carl Andre and Duchamps’ ready-mades of found objects displayed as art inform my practice.
Material and process are the crucial elements that I am keen to explore and engage further with; the materiality of what surrounds us every day. Minimalist and repetitive forms using traditional materials of plaster and concrete that will interact with organic elements; jelly and soil. The balance, weight and the tension of these materials will inform a sense of instability and restlessness can engage the work.
On Friday 9th October I attended the private view for The Body as Language Women and Performance at the Richard Saltoun gallery, London. The work was a fantastic dynamic range of women artists working in Italy during the 70’s; the exhibition examined the development of performance art through gender, the body, language and the expression of self. As a women artist myself, specialising in sculpture which is a particularly male dominated field; I found the work liberating yet challenging; provocative yet tasteful.
Jelly is a wonderful material to work with and the process of this organic element is engaged with the work. The use of the soft and almost translucent tights allow the jelly to reveal its colour, texture and the seeping down the wall and on to the studio floor. I’ve documented its transformation and filmed the dripping jelly hit the floor, however in future a continuous recording and documentation of the work would become a ‘process through performance.’
This was a fun and experimental series of photographs using a range of found objects that lay around in our daily surroundings but are taken for granted.
Eva Hesse’s practice has become a focal point of my research and her use of new sculptural materials and found objects. Her feminine touch and minimalist aesthetic is what provokes me and has feed into my current practice. The interaction with the walls and floor of the studio space is the fascinating aspect of the work and the forms that have been created and manipulated.