It’s been a few weeks since I last updated my blog; it’s been a busy month to say the least but I’ve had some exciting news and fantastic opportunities. Most recently I was selected as a member of The Royal British Society of Sculptors; this truly has given me the confidence to say,’ yes I am a sculptor’ which is something I’ve struggled with in the past. I have continuously referred to myself as a visual artist, when my work is plainly of sculptural appearance, language and aesthetic. As part of the RAMUS|EVANS Collaborative we had the opportunity to develop a new show and body of work for Spit & Sawdust Gallery, Cardiff; Dialogue: Detritus explores our relationship with materials, form and organic elements that feed into our daily dialogue and studio practices as MFA students. The show is open until July 31st. I then received confirmation that I would be showing ‘Maureen’ in SHE in London, an International Exchange Exhibition exploring the construct of femininity. ‘Baked Beans’ was also then chosen as part of the exchange in their partnering galleries in Texas, USA and Vietnam; this will take place at the end of July and I am truly honoured to be exhibiting work alongside such a diverse range of artists.
I’m now on the final stretch trying to overcome that hurdle prior to the MFA show; I’m at that stage where I understand what needs to be accomplished yet feel panic and a sense of resilience towards the work. What became a reoccurring question was whether the work was Sculpture or Installation? I struggle to answer that question and identify those qualities that reside in sculptural or installation based works. I recently listened to a panel at the Nasher Sculpture Centre, including artists Eva Rothschild , Phyllida Barlow and Michael Dean with Lisa LeFeuvre as the immediator of the discussion on Why Sculpture Now? It was interesting to hear sculptors and curators define sculpture as a discipline, discussing the conversations around sculpture and its ability to wrestle and go beyond material but to think about narrative. Can I call myself a sculptor? Rothschild explained that it had taken her years to call herself a sculptor as she was not confident in the understanding of sculptural language as a whole. We call ourselves ‘artists’ but often struggle to express that we may be for example, a painter, a photographer; however does this then put you into that box and then the problem of only allowed association with that discipline?
In my proposal for the show I originally would only proposed to have the steel tripod pieces but have now decided to exhibit a second sculpture. My research has led me to artists Monika Sosnowska, Robert Gober, Carol Rama and Gunther Uecker; the material assemblages, exploration and process involved in their work has influenced the second structure that is made of angle iron, and now latex will be introduced as a secondary material. Process and material is the core focus that surrounds the work, in my tutorial this week with Mark Gubb he mentioned how I need to be aware of other possibilities and narratives that may surround the work and that playing with materials is not the only element to consider. I have this desire to make things that will exist in the world; however my interest and use of organic elements or substances suggests a non-permanence, a vulnerability. But I see sculpture as a relationship, there’s so many physical encounters and a continuous battle with this uneasy companion. The scale that I am working on for my MFA show is the largest I have produced to date, its competing with me as a human being and is challenging my skills, ability and its response to the space. The question that I ask myself is whether I care about the encounter with the audience? Is my own personal encounter, experience or journey more important?