The group tutorial this week was insightful; it’s always interesting to get feedback and listen to how people observe and read your work. The discussion was about the work in general and what direction I could see the work taking over the next few months. There is a clear emphasis and exploration of form but not only the human form but it was discovered how the work has developed an animal/anthropomorphic nature and quality. I find this quality interesting due to how we have an animalistic nature and instinct as humans; we are both linked in some way. My space seems to have taken on a life of its own; it was mentioned how the work seems to have developed a life of their own, there’s growth, stretching, a flow and connection between the forms. The objects represent body elements; the limbs, pieces of flesh or meat? There tends to be juxtaposition between the organic and manmade.
Space and scale; the restraint of the familiar and unfamiliar tendency in the work. I don’t invision the work as vulnerable yet it has a tendency to question the purpose of everyday objects. What continues to creep into the making or assemblage process is the morphing of materials and objects into one another; almost a representation of an umbilical cord. There is a clear interest with structural components and the organic element. Why? What does this suggest of the nature of the work? The seminar with Andre Stitt on ‘Site: Situation’ was based on site specific art; the idea of the de-contextualisation of space is engaging and an area that I wish to explore the work further. The balance of industrial manmade objects and materials that lay against organic elements needs further exploration of space and how the work would read in the setting it’s placed. The question that was of particular interested from the seminar was when you bring work into a gallery or museum setting, what does its discourse suggest? The settings and environment will always read different for a viewer and can result in the reading of the work in a new or different context.
I currently read my work as sculptural forms within an installation context as space, scale and site is an important factor for the positioning of the work. However, how do installation artists begin their research? What are their interests to create the work? How do sites become specific to human scale? Something that I have not yet realised was how tension and relationship between materials is crucial in my work. The continuous juxtaposition between materials and objects and the unbalance of feminine and masculine qualities questions their purpose; do they even have a purpose? There’s a distortive association of play and balance.
The ‘Theory and Practice: a workshop’ with Clive Cazeaux was a discussion on whether both theory and practice cross over, connected or are they separate? I personally feel that they run parallel with one another and are progressive factors for an artist. The creation of work from somewhere, whether this is a subconscious or conscious thought. Therefore you learn theory not only through reading or discussion but through practice. ‘Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind.’ (Kant’s theory) Theory and practice constantly relate and will expand and enhance ideas; it’s important to use your research as a tool for expansion.
How do I feel stuck yet have so many ideas and thoughts relating to my practice. The work feels very open so far and has a clear, strong sense and essence of play; however some aspects have a controllable element. There’s a shift between sculptural forms that imply humanly forms and play with objects and materials; forming relationships with one another. Space is clearly a major factor whether the work is placed in relation to a new space or play and installation works are created based on their surroundings at that moment in time. My studio space has that contrast of play and control.
I’ve spent time in new spaces with the work; arranging, placing, playing and creating new forms with various materials and objects. The use of space and engaging with its environment and settings is liberating. Does the work therefore become site specific? Not necessarily as some of the works are premade that collaborates with other forms, objects and materials. Floor and wall space seem to be the main point of contact; however I wish to explore hanging materials and objects and play with the notion of weight and balance. Form, structure and movement; all key aspects in the work. How can these forms, objects and materials form a relationship in a space?
After my tutorial with tutor Mark Gubb, he mentioned how my work seemed to have an anthropomorphic and animals’ nature. This was an interesting comment due to the nature of the materials. I need to consider the relationship between the pre-fabricated buoys (simple but perfectly crafted) and my own work (simple materials, roughly made) and how this reads in a space. Structure, form and material are currently the key aspects that engage my work and making process. The use of industrial and domestic objects instantly has masculine and feminine aesthetics and associations; their nature is alluring and raises those questions of sexuality.
The most exciting part for me before entering the performance was to experience something live and up close and personal; this is exactly what ‘Smash It Up’ provided. In May 2013, the mural, representing the Chartist movement in Newport in 1839 was torn down; this mural represented so much for the people of Newport. Mr & Mrs Clark are now demonstrating how it felt to lose something so precious in this thought provoking show. The performance was engaging, inspiring and had a liberating quality. At first, the audience walks into the theatre and we were directed and encouraged to walk around the stage to view the objects that were placed on the tables. The safety tape was restrictive; we had no other option but to walk around the stage and engage with one another and instantly came into contact with the performers.
The mixture and use of both live performance and pre-recorded work live in Newport city centre was exciting and beautifully documented. What drew me in was the use of words, Gareth Clark who was the main speaker during the performance was engaging and the focus was extraordinary. The use of an audience member whilst sustaining poise was interesting and drew attention to the focus on how we are consumed by materialistic objects. But why? We need to consider what is really important in life.
The performance included a clever use of media; the footage showcasing the destruction of art, thus creating new art. What was interesting and moving was how they had protested vigorously on the streets of Newport; these clips were powerful and demonstrated their commitment. The performance showed how much work, time and effort had been put into the entire production. My favourite moments of the work were the dancing of Marega Palser; her movement and direct engagement with the broken objects was alluring yet dangerous. Her focus was mesmerizing and the choreography was beautifully elegant.
Overall the set had an appealing yet vulnerable aesthetic. The sound and lighting were clever and thought through; enhancing the subjective qualities of the performance. Helen Pickering did a fantastic job with the lighting. The set was clever and well-presented but soon became a destructive mess that captured the movement and heart of destruction in art. This performance was definitely worth a watch. “Every act of creation is an act of destruction.”- Pablo Picasso. The use of references and contextual aesthetic to the history of art and other happenings was captivating and created a sense of realness. It demonstrated their dedication and how much thorough research had been used to create this powerful and moving performance. When art gets destroyed or most recently funding in the arts are cut then what is the future of art? The arts are the life and soul of any community therefore we must fight for its survival.
This week has led me to the realisation of how materials and the human form; in my tutorial with Judit we discussed what my exact context for the work is and the interests that engage the work. Is it the female body, distortion, extension or gender that I’m addressing? Could it be all four areas that I explore? I can see clearly how the female form is a focal point of contact for the work. I need to consider the relationship between objects – space – body; spending time in new spaces and environments with the work and documenting the process of movement. Is it me as (a live body) making a performance? Is it an installation of objects relating to the (absent) female body? Are the objects directly relateable to my body? Is it about the relationship between the viewers body to the objects? Is it a static artwork or an event? Is it an artwork to be looked at or to be inside? (Installation, tableau or a performance) I need to consider all these questions and analyse, objectivly clarify clarity and understanding of the artwork.
What materials do I consider? I was thinking reusing human hair, lard and soil; all natural and organic elements that need further exploration. How can I engage with these materials? Sculptural forms engaging with domestic and industrial objects is an area that I’m currently coinciding with. I’ve been experimenting with the sausage skins but am struggling with their purpose and how I can develop their use. Their aesthetic and appearance is alluring and the tubing form is of a female nature – similar to the tube forms I’m exploring in lead using surgical tubes. These forms are similar to the work of Eva Hesse, an artist that I somehow share connections and similarities with my work.
Another area that I’m hoping to explore further is the foam forms in bronze. Since I’ve been chasing the bronzes last week I’ve thought of continuing with the idea to cast more of these forms. The organic and raw nature of the forms can be manipulated prior to casting. The more I observe the bronzes, the more they resemble lumps of fat, that bulge and ooze on appearance. What’s interesting is the preserving of the foam using the bronze. The notion of transforming a soft object into a solid form has an interesting concept. Again, I invision these forms in multiples. Would they resemble lumps of fat?
What my main focus is now, is to continue developing and making work, testing and exploring new ideas; but also focus on space and how the work can and will sit in a space? Spend time in a space, moving the work around and photographing these changes and not using film. The process or performative elements are no longer relevant. It’s now about the sculptural forms, space and object and building installation works, also using found objects. Key words to focus the work; sculpture, form, object, space, installation, body, gender, documentation, organic, materials. Already I can see a shift in my work over the last few weeks, the focus on the making is now essential.
Yesterday I found myself filming the process of my work; continuously recording me in a space engaging and surrounded by my work. I was playing with how the work can interact with one another and the surrounded space; manipulating their positions and functions in a new environment. Process had always become a focal point in my practice but had never thought of filming this for documentation. It was suggested to look at artists Ann Hamilton and Tatiana Trouve both of whom are known for their installation work. I soon realised how space orientated the work has become.
My studio space has developed into simply a storage area and sometimes a making area for objects, sculptural works and materials. This space is proving difficult to work in and develop ideas due to limitations of area. Therefore I propose to let the work visit other spaces and environments on a weekly basis; this will allow the work to breathe, some thinking space and enable me to spend time with my work on a one to one basis. There has always been a clear dialogue of engagement with me and my work; however I’m not entirely sure whether filming was the right format for documentation. The aim is to continue to explore these objects, sculptural forms and materials in a range of new spaces away from my studio environment, allowing both the work and the artist to develop a richer relationship.
The difficulty I face now is after watching the film footage back I realise how irrelevant the whole process was. The process aspect was working with organic materials that deserved that moment of capturing the process develop and unwind. Whereas the filming yesterday was purely me moving and rearranging objects and sculptural forms in a space. Was the filming necessary? The body is clearly apparent and important in my current work; however the body is read through the objects and forms and how they engage with a space and not by me as the artist being present. Installation and environments are areas that Judit Bodor suggested I research further due to the nature of the work. The relationships that these objects and sculptural forms with one another and the space, this can be documented but as still photographs and not using video footage.
This lead me to the clear confusion of the presence of the body in my work. The body is a strong influence on the work; however this does not necessarily mean that the body or my body needs to be present. The peculiar suggestion is that, after my tutorial today with Judit Bodor and her saying about the playing with the work in a space and how it should have been photographed and not filmed; I had the same thought. So why didn’t I follow that instinct and use photography? The work is not performance, this is an area that I need to leave behind and continue to move forward. I need to continue leaving the studio space and environment and work in new spaces with the work. I need to develop my sculptural forms and use of industrial and domesticated objects and develop space and installation concepts.