The last few weeks have involved very little making but more reading and trying to form a basis and understanding of my practice. My interested lie in purely material and objects manipulation and defining space they coexist in. I began to wonder whether my work was focuses on responding to a space but this has never been a focal point when making and I’m still unsure whether it’s important or even relevant. That’s not to say site and location shouldn’t be taken into account when making work; however this can restrict decisions. As part of this module, a critical study essay is required that somehow relates or is relevant to my practice. I began working with metal to construct frames and instantly had an urge to enquire into this material further. The sculptor Richard Serra who creates sculptures on such a monumental scale offers both a physical and visual experience; these qualities intrigued me; the invention of form and how this has developed over the years. “Does Sculpture have a language?” How can one answer this? What is interesting reading about Serra is that he explores a material and the process of that material to the extreme; his work banishes those pictorial qualities and focuses on forming a relationship with the movement through space.
This has reinforced an interest in steel; how I can begin exploring weight, balance and form by enquiring and testing materials and their transition through process. Another artist that creeps into my research is female sculptor Phyllida Barlow; she explains ‘I need time to understand what I’ve done, and that is an odd paradox,’ I can completely relate to how she works as this has been a reoccurring problem for me with my practice. I tend to make and continue to make work and then I soon realise that I’m left with ‘stuff’ and then the WHY? gets asked. I want the work to remain minimalistic; minimal form that engages with various materials to explore weight, balance and colour. Colour had never been anything to consider or of any importance in my previous work; however this quality will become an area to explore and consider further moving forward. I decided to make a visit to Michael Beutler’s ‘Pump House’ at Spike Island, Bristol. The installation is a real experience and captures the space and redefines scale using industrial and various materials that explore form, surface and texture. What initially caught my attention was his use of bold colour and how playful the work read, the structural build and mass of material that surrounded, filled and interacted with the space defined its environment.
This led me to play and explore certain elements from my previous work that could uncover possible encounters with various materials and objects. I have built a steel tripod to test suspension, weight and gravity; using tarpaulin and building merchants bags that are filled with water hanging from engine hoists. Scale is a crucial factor with this work; what I found difficult to achieve was a perfect circle form which needs further time to develop. What also comes into the work is site and the environment the work will inhabit and the space it will define. Due to the industrial nature and qualities, a warehouse or open indoor space would suit the aesthetic. I had previously used balloons with nylon tights so thought about playing with a steel structure and balloons; referring again to form, weight and colour. The problems that occurred was that the balloons fell through the steel frame; I then thought of using reinforcement mesh to construct a cubic shape frame that will contain the balloons. What’s an interesting quality with the balloons is how they will loose air or burst over time; therefore the work will take on a performative quality and will allow both a physical and visual experience.