Eva Hesse Documentary at the ICA

The screening of Eva Hesse at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London was an in depth journey of understanding the life and work of the artist. She truly dedicated her short life to her practice; Hesse’s use of materials, forms and the psychological presence in the act of making was borderline uncontrollable. That human presence and eccentric chaos was a pivotal focus that developed into a material manifestation of creating mordacious forms. What were of curiosity were her journal logs, the intertwining of her relationships with family and friends and her art. Hesse’s material choice was a particular artist decision that would eventually result in the temporality of the work; working with new materials (at that time) such as latex and fibreglass were classed as industrial, waste materials. They had not been transferred to sculpture or considered as a traditional material but this profound quality in her work is what is of interest. ‘Life doesn’t last, Art doesn’t last.’ Eva Hesse.

The end is nigh!

What a physical and emotional drain this week has been in the lead up to the MFA show deadline. It has been a continuous battle assuring that the work captures my initial vision; however curating a show and working amongst other artists and their work has been a struggle at times. Also deciding to exhibit two separate pieces from the same body of work in two separate locations has been difficult and at times has caused a sense of uncertainty. The focus has to lie with both works, spending equal amounts of time to secure a high standard of execution and curatorial skill. My work has had a strong emphasis on space, responding to an environment and initiating that contact. Both pieces are of a large and some would use of a ‘monumental’ scale, this brings into focus the ‘human’ and how heavy materiality forms a relationship with the movement through space. Working with heavy structures that are constructed out of steel and angle iron initiates my interest in minimal forms that contrast with soft, fragile and visceral materials such as latex, balloons and jelly. There is a sense of control and the loss of control and how I’m exploring the relationship between function and form.

I’m now beginning to conclude this work, working to a strict deadline can sometimes deter from the enjoyment and immersive mind set. This body of work has demonstrated potential ideas and materials that my next works will encompass. I view this show, this work and this course as the beginning; a stepping stone, an experience into the ‘real world.’ I have not produced the best work by any means on the MFA but it has allowed me to introduce and experience my potential; working with new materials, new concepts, and new theoretical, contextual and philosophical themes. As I will be taking up a residency in October with Exchange in Kensington, London, this will mark the starting point of working outside of an institutional environment allowing me to continue to explore and engage with my practice. It’s safe to say that the last twelve months have been a whirlwind of a rollercoaster. I have found juggling a full time course, working part time and taking on opportunities outside of the institution strenuous: however this is the process of becoming an artist and making decisions that will enhance and establish my career. It’s a gruelling process writing application after application, getting rejections after rejections but I’ve immersed myself into obtaining opportunities for exhibitions, residencies or creating a new dialogue with my fellow student Natalie Ramus where we explored the dialogue of artists working in a shared studio space through exhibitions, performances and recorded conversations as our material. The MFA show will highlight our passion as artists and emphasise the gruelling process of postgraduate study and my experience at Cardiff School of Art & Design.


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I’ve recently been visiting exhibitions and exploring artists work in the flesh, Nairy Baghramian’s Scruff of the Neck at the Marian Goodman Gallery blew me away. The space itself and her material choice was a new encounter to objects that you were unaware of its purpose. What I was particularly interested in was the steel structures; the fabrication was visible yet elegant. The sculptures were engaging with the wall, floor and ceiling, residing in an open space that allowed for an immersive dialogue. I then went to visit another artists’ work that I have been researching; Louise Bourgeois at the TATE artist rooms. Her methods of suspending pieces were compelling and were an opportunity to study the forms in relation to their scale, weight and space they reside. Bourgeois’ understood materials and their properties, qualities and colour; the pieces instantly embodied amorphous qualities and were a study of the human form. These female artists influence those questions in my practice; why I work with certain materials and what are their qualities? What has recently come to my attention is the emphasis on temporal qualities and how my work questions whether there is a final state? My use of organic materials results in an unknown length of process. My work has become concerned with the body in relation to material choice appearing as skin or flesh; the colour and texture appear flaccid, grotesque that transcend into a dialogue between the inside/outside of the human form. ‘Devices to dissolve the visual sense into an awareness of the body.’ Lygia Clark. Clark was always in search of the body whilst breaking new grounds in examining the relation between art and society.

Nairy Baghramian. Scruff of the Neck, Marian Goodman Gallery.

Louise Bourgeois. TATE Artist Rooms.

 

Last week’s residency at the Sidney Nolan Trust, The Rodd Farm, Presteigne was an awesome opportunity to explore new mediums and processes whilst spending time away from the preparations for the MFA show. The week allowed me to ‘switch off’ and step out of the manic, continuous and rigorous structured schedule. I spent the week drawing, carving wood and print making; all processes that I am not familiar with or are part of my practice. However working with the printing process allowed for a new dialogue to occur where I explored sculptural forms in a two dimensional matter. Again using tools, materials such as masking tape, duct tape and balloons to create line, shapes, texture that resulted in large scale prints that were a response to my surroundings, space and touched upon elements of my practice. I allowed myself to become submerged in a ‘rural’ location, unaware of how much work was generated over five days. The farm, studio space and access to the facilities created a new dialogue and interest that has liberated my thinking process. I used the prints as a journal; enquiring, resolving and exploring organic ideas that became a repetitive way of making.

 

Dry point print & Mono print of balloons.


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