Back from a break from production for reflection, and also a trip to Amsterdam.
About developing practice.
Interacting with others is an essential part of who I am. I have always known that, as I realise that this is why I moved into teaching and also some curating after leaving art school. As a an art & design lecturer in further education for many years, residencies have been difficult to consider. Mostly because of the time demands of full time teaching contracts, but this change to part time teaching and a return to pushing my own art practice allows opportunity for residencies. So this residency brings a good balance and affirms something essential about the kind of engagement that makes me tick. I think that as an artist, finding ways to engage in practice in a way which incorporates fundamental aspects of your personality is a vital part of successful progress. It is sometimes tricky to get the right balance, but I am making progress, and I think residencies for future projects may again be the right way to proceed.
What is good about this residency is not only that it provides good specialist facilities and equipment, and interactions with students at a higher level than my last residency (a long while ago) which makes the interactions very stimulating; but also that the university has an artist’s studio and other groups connected and integrated into the provision. The studios are re-launching as The Waterfront Studios, and I have been making good connections there, and I am planning to join shortly.
My sketchbooks, pictured here, show development ideas that I have been sorting through at this review point, as I move into the last two months of the residency. Other than the trip to Amsterdam, as a break, I thought a pause in the progress to reflect would be a good idea, as running up to the exhibition it was hectic and I wanted to get the balance right between directing the work and the work leading me. Blogging is of course a continuous reflection, and coincidently Marion Michell talks about the values of blogging in Rosalind Davis & Annabel Tilley’s book ‘What They Didn’t Teach You in Art School’, and also that it has a role much wider than reflection. Interesting stuff, and as I read I find more of interest.
Input by Richard Galpin I found interesting too and relates to my thoughts on developing practice, as he talks about balance between reflection/experimentation and production, although in a different way, and different circumstances. Thinking and exploratory time is important. While I was on my MA and cutting and peeling photographs, and found some kind of validation in what I was doing when I came across Galpin in a V & A exhibition. But I had not realised how successful he has been and how his work had evolved. I think a phase of revisiting the progress of artists who work in similar ways to my practice would be time well spent. But on with the residency for now.
Oh and about Amsterdam.
It was great, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Banksy, Dali, and a lot of houses tipping gently from their regimental uniformity. And a lot of bikes. A bit general I know, but that’s it.