I’m at that stage where the unpicking of my practice has begun and trying to piece it back together; in the hope of revealing those key concepts and focal points. After my tutorial with Davida on Wednesday, we discussed how there is too many materials being explored at one time. I need to focus on one or two materials and really push their boundaries, to understand their qualities and potential. The foam is a key material that I’m currently working with; suspending, hoisting, distorting its form and shape to create those bulging and flesh like qualities. The off yellow colour of the foam resembles flesh, fat or skin; a sack or limbs floating in midair. I’m exploring the idea of an extension and distortion of human form; however the forms have developed an anthropomorphic nature. There’s an inside/outside quality that addresses the work, how it suggests the absence/presence of the body.
So I started to soak the foam in water and let it hang from a butchers hook, watching the water seep through the fi and drip onto the floor. There was that quality of control and non-control over a material and my relationship with my making. Foam and substance; a performative object. The water gives weight and bulk to the foam; causing sagging and small movements of the foam swaying. Instantly I thought of how the body is made up of 90% of water and is a crucial fluid for survival. The sound of the water hitting the floor drop by drop from the foam is unnerving, but of comfort. The water forms that connection and link with other bodily fluids; sweat and urine. Referring back to working with less materials but focusing on their potential and aesthetic qualities; the foam forms are my focus over the next few week, challenging the contact with a fluid or substance. How will they suspend or hang? Do I develop a structure or a frame for them? Another element to consider is what space the work resides; an open space, dark or light space, industrial space, an outside space?
What continues to creep into my work is how my choice of materials and objects question gendered qualities or associations. Can a material have a gender? My focus is how I engage and develop a physical relationship with my work as a female artist. The scale, size and weight of the work are important; how it inhabits and engages with spaces. The work having/possessing that quality instead of ‘illustrating’ the quality. Recently I’ve been looking at artists Phyllida Barlow and Jessica Stockholder; how their work focuses on material and space. Both female artists and both working with a range of objects; the physical making, confidence to commit and own a space can be risk taking and a questionable decision by a female artist. However, this is an encouraging attribute and quality of these artists.