There is so much you can do on this course – crits, lectures, tutorials, openings, participation, etc. I sometimes find it a little overwhelming – it occasionally feels as if you could be missing out, this would be interesting to your practice, go and see this artist, come and participate in this activity, read this book, go there, see this, be part of that! Without wanting to appear complacent, it is a bit too much and being selective is a good strategy. However, sometimes assessing just what will be relevant and useful is not always easy, or in my case, successful. That being said, it is wonderful to have so many opportunities that being part of an academic institution affords you.

Visiting artist tutorials are part of the course – you can usually sign up if you’d like one. I haven’t yet done that as I hadn’t thought any of the artists so far were particularly relevant to my practice, but indeed a different and fresh opinion is not a bad thing and usually welcomed.

This week we had Rachel Maclean, a former ECA graduate. Although her work now is video, I was given a spot to chat through my work. I felt a little wary of yet another new person looking at my work after Monday’s experience and I stumbled upon the fact that in the whole time I had been at the institution (from undergraduate) I hadn’t ever had a real, complete, sit down tutorial with a female. I believe I realised this when on Monday (as I emitted to say in the write-up) it was suggested that my work was about being female/to do with a female perspective.  ??  Correcting this error (“that has nothing to do with it”) I later reflected on this and the imbalance there.

I am not a die hard feminist by any means, but surely this fact could make a difference. I am not sure about it/how I feel about it but I will think on it more later.

The tutorial was just fine – Rachel was an enthusiastic and interested listener who had some good ideas and good input. Like many of these experiences it is good practice to talk about and articulate your work and be able to assess it and people’s opinions and ideas about it to your best advantage.


Another group crit this week – the difference being it was with a new set of peers and a different tutor. Whilst I fully appreciate and welcome these opportunities, sometimes I am left a little frustrated at the end.

Participation is great!  I like the opportunity to articulate my ideas in relation to others and speculate and discuss contemporary art themes in the studio context – it is really good critical practice.

What would be even better if participation happened on a more balanced platform. Whilst I fully appreciate some people find it difficult/are just not in the mood for critical discourse, it would be more helpful and fair if more effort was made in these situations. After all, why sign up to a course in which these activities are part of the course if you do not intend to do them justice?

However, no point in dwelling on what is fair or unfair, what can I take from the little that was touched upon in the portion pertaining to my work? Some of the text I have used in the images isn’t working=already know that, thanks. The one thing of note to be mentioned was about psychogeography (Guy Debord – 1955, Situationist International etc.). It’s curious for the relation to some of the research methods I use in image sourcing. However, the crit seemed to focus far too much on the relationship to the city, which although I agree it is a part of the work, is not it in its entirety.

Perhaps seeming too negative – I will diplomatically say indeed this was perhaps the first time the group had engaged with my work – perhaps that was a stumbling block. Also, I didn’t make a great job of explaining myself at the beginning. The work that was on the wall was shit. Whatever. Sometimes it is just not a good week.

How can I turn it around for next time? Force people into making some sort of informed comment – ask questions of the participants, ask for explanation perhaps. Lead the conversation instead of being lead. Be a bit more bold perhaps. I am ultimately responsible for my own learning and the path that it takes, but it doesn’t half help when others share that responsibility.




Taking on board some of the comments and my own ideas after the last group crit a clear direction of investigation came about last week.

Screen-printing lends itself to quick investigation (especially if you are not fastidious about quality) and it is satisfying how much can be done in the space of a few hours. From the idea of taking just one image and repeating it to build up a wave of almost a pattern, with enough to cover a small room, led me to print and print over and over to achieve this. Then, simply pinning up these pieces on the wall to get a rough idea of how this might look. Almost, but not quite what I imagined – it was not enough to cover a whole room, by a fair bit and it wasn’t the quality of image that bothered me but the gaps in-between – I’d like it almost to overlap I think.

We talked about this in my crit later in agreement – and how the possibility of the logistics of the printing could be changed, instead of single sheets, how about a roll almost like wallpaper? I can work out how that can be done later. I’d like to get it done soon so that I can see it better, as a complete installation. I definitely feel its a way to pursue – a flat surface becoming something else through repetition and placement. How would this be either just as a whole room or with other elements incorporated? This is one way to go down.

There was also the experimentation of the same repeat on a more traditional canvas. More of an object, it is really quite pleasing – which is certainly an indication of my thoughts about painting and the object. My practice sometimes seems quite conventional at its core despite my attempts to push it to employ more contemporary methods and ideas.

This canvas, however, is not finished – I discussed in the tutorial the ideas of adding something and the conversation turned back to the idea of some sort of text. The previous attempts to “add” text didn’t seem to fit. I believe more of a billboard style may be more successful – Lucy McKenzie’s Depeche Mode/Erasure paintings (text on found canvas) as a reference point. These things can be tried out through projecting first and seeing what fits or doesn’t.

Returning to the idea of a singular image, the idea to project/paint seems fitting. How these may be painted in another matter to explore. Looking at David Salle’s work has been a starting point – either outlined, quite painterly marks or semi-realist aspects to the work make for contrast within the image as a whole. It is worth finding my own way to pursue how this might work.

Salle’s work makes me imagine how these aspects could work combined in a space, more physical than a canvas however. The seemingly intuitive placing of different elements – could work in a space larger than the rectangle frame it is contained in.

To offset the practical work, I took a trip up to Aberdeen-shire at the weekend to visit Emily at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop. I love these kinds of residency places which are really isolated in small communities – there is this strange mix of traditional, twee, remote, with some really modern, contemporary and innovative aspects thrown in. It reminded me a lot of the residency I stayed at in Iceland last year, but with a lot more resources.Although we are just in the first semester, it did make me think and reconfirm my desire to complete more projects through residency based work in the future, after this course is finished. I know I am the kind of person who works well with a specific project and time frame. Which is why I enjoy academic framework and why I am on this course.





Trying some simplification of images – editing really, so that there is less confusion or just more concentration on one thing. It is something I find a little difficult. Natural instinct being to fill everything with lots of things. This is not necessarily bad but it can be a worthwhile exercise to pair things down and try to simplify, edit and focus on one thing rather than many.

However, I found by repetition of image (not precisely, though) this kind of negates this. What seems to result is a different kind of confusion, almost optical. But why not go with it – capitalise on it? How would this look in a whole room/space? I am interested in creating an atmosphere/experience – this could be a way to achieve it.

I am just not sure though that the images that are being produced are not just a bit too easy. Maybe they just look that way.