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We got our module feedback from last semester as a final grade on Wednesday and its fair to say I was disappointed with the result.  There was certainly some blood on the carpet so you need time to digest and stand back a little to allow yourself to move forward. I have been doing some more research, the Art and Text book was especially good and has given me a good grounding, as has ‘Writing on the Wall’ by Simon Morley.  I have been scribbling lots of ideas and playing with ambiguity and words and visuals but of course, for it to have any value it needs to be respectfully in understanding of those who have gone before you and located in contemporary culture. To language is to be the content and paint the medium but I need to question my source material with regard to mass media and ‘low’ female magazine culture as a source material. Although I am still clinging onto this, I am not sure if I need to jettison this also and move away from it completely.  That in a way I don’t need to anymore.  So there is so much information that it is almost too much for now but I need to get a good grounding of ideas before I can fine tune my direction and knowledge is the key. I think my lesson this year is keep it simple and keep it honest.  Its all about the integrity of the paint for me and I want to enjoy the medium as much as I can and the experience before university comes to an end.

I was quickly playing with the start of ideas in the studio yesterday and my research wall looks like this at the moment.




Today I started my research. I have started with Art and Text which starts with 3 academic essays and takes you through the types of text art.  This will give me a far greater understanding of the historical context of text paintings and artists to research and plunder for ideas moving forward.  The essays are always a great place to start for extracting wordings for artist statements later on.  So, just at the start but I feel confident that I am going in the right direction.

Its nice to see the link between the book and the Warhol brillo boxes I saw on friday.  A nice link.



Today I went to see the Warhol show at Tate Liverpool.  I have watched a documentary on Warhol before so the show was pretty much what I had expected but it was enjoyable to see so many of his works on display in the one place.  Of most interest, in that it was not an over used image was the surround sound, full 4 wall video piece, complete with disco lights where the viewer actually became part of the work as you stood inside the large space.  Great to immerse yourself within the world of Warhol and the era as the music bounced around the space and you watched various images move around including more than a few suggestive queer imagery that even how is perceived by the viewer to be voyeuristic and close to the bone.

I also find Warhol personally interesting for his use of commodity and fame, consumerism and popular culture as his themes.   There is a parallel in this with the magazines I have been looking at as part of last year. Every artist is at their best when they comment on the times they actually live in and what they are exposed to, and their viewers around them. The artist as commodity and the consumed?  Not much else going on at the Tate at the moment as the other levels I have seen before.  Sadly, just a postcard of a Christopher Wool work and not the real thing. I would have enjoyed seeing that now.

We then went up to the Walker where there is a small display by the photographer Catherine Opie which I thought were deeply thoughtful and sensitively done.  The large exhibition space at the rear of the Walker was closed at present so again, not much new to see but always good to revisit earlier friends and appreciate them with new eyes as my knowledge and experience develop.


On tuesday we had the external examiners in to talk to us and I had the fortune not to be one to be selected for interview, but apparently it means there is more than a chance at the end of the term.    So it was a day of waiting around really with feedback received for one of our modules from last year but no final mark.

On the wednesday, we got feedback from the work we did last year.  As it is our final year, the level of detail we get back from the lecturers is increasing all the time, and of course, as the work is so personal to everyone, there are naturally some hard punches in the contents but when you read it a few times to have to accept that everything said within the report is valid, fair and more importantly feeds you advice on artistic direction to conclude the work this year for the end of year show.

So all in all, I am not unhappy.  I had already worked out at the end of last year that text pieces were the way forward for this year and this is confirmed in the feedback.

So now I need to start at the beginning again in terms of research but I do not feel I am in a bad position at all, I know the direction of what I want to do; that is paintings on mdf with text, embracing the process of painting but I need to now delve in great detail into the artists and concepts/history of language in art, especially in our modern day commodity culture as this will greatly affect how I can move this forward.

So I have a medium and a theme.  Now I need to play with content, what text will I end up using?   The feedback suggests words with ambiguity will work much better than others I have used and I need to begin to understand and work this this idea better but before that I need to gather information and do the research.

I have been to see Dave in woodworking and ordered a number of A4 and A3 MDF boards for the forthcoming text pieces.  I have a number of ideas already and there include:

Review of new set of magazines, to get headlines/straplines I can appropriate

Do Not Cross The Line photograph from the Tate London

my own quote ‘Life is a game, you just have to decide if you want to play or not’ done as a test in the style of Christoper Wool where the viewer has to work to read the lines as they flow down onto the lower line.

So I have some ideas already.  I have been to the library and found a book on appropriation, art and text and have ordered an ART WORD AND IMAGE as a present to myself as I know it will assist me greatly with my theme.

So a start but very early days.



Today, after a long break we have our first day back at university.  I started the morning by going to visit the Artist and the City exhibition at the Potteries Museum to see my painting in situ.  I do feel that it is kind of cool as an experience and I especially like the presentation artist statement that accompanies the work.

Then over the road to Airspace to see the the solo show by graduate resident Naomi Harwin.  It is a fantastic opportunity for any graduate to apply for such a residency which includes a solo show within the 6 month residency and something for me to personally aspire to when applications are open later on this year.  Whilst I was there I also took the opportunity to pop up to visit Kornelia Herms who was working in the studios above the gallery to see what work she is doing now, having been a level 6 student last year.  Its great to get some advice from someone who is practicing as an artist after the university experience.

Then we were back in university in the afternoon to get the introduction to the final module which is all about resolution of our practice culminating in the end of year show.  It all seems terribly real now.