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I have been working on my essay today but I stumbled across a lovely quote by Michael Archer which says…”Conceptual Art proposed that images can be recognized as being language-like: an artwork can be read. The reverse is equally true: words can work in a picture-like way too”.

This quote appeals to be greatly, especially with the work now changing from just being paintings to something more conceptual and sculptural using ready made’s with interventions.

I picked up a neon pink photoframe this weekend. I did not know why, just that I was on a roll and it was cheap.  I was thinking what would I put in it. Photoframes hold memories for us, people dear to us, captured. So it I thought it would be rather nice if the image I chose was not my own but another artists. I will put in Sappho, Charles-August Mengin. The original hangs in Manchester Art Gallery.

If my themes seem to be developing on roles from my own personal experience in society and how we juggle the various demands of modern life and our position within them, then she seems to be a great choice and whatever your level of art history you will take something from this image. So on its simplest level, but putting this image in a frame it is showing I admire it, but I like the irony that it is painted by a man in the Victorian era with the gratuitous boob shot but glorified as a historical genre painting for the male gaze to appreciate. But instead, there is a sub text going on.  She is meant to be throwing herself off a cliff after a love affair with a young man but all is perhaps not what it seems. The female poet portrayed is more than perhaps the artist intended, she is bold, defiant, a call to arms and her sexuality is questionable given her island location.   She can be reinterpreted in modern terms as a strong woman.  It also interests me how conversations in paintings change as society around them does.  A good and a cheeky controversial choice I think.




I have had another great day in the studio. I feel that all the sketchbook ideas and time thinking about things is really beginning to pay off now.

This morning I ordered more MDF boards, yet more canvas to work on, including a very special one in the dimensions 106cm squared which will be my homage to Malevich ‘Black Square’.  I want to do something similar with the neon pink but with layers of depth and darkness and AURA lettering, one letter in each corner, which is also a reference to Walter Benjamins Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.  I am trying to say something like What Painting is to me, how painting becomes you, and you become it.  Like breathing.

I really feel the dress lady has huge potential. Last night it was annoying me that the neck and shoulders of the dummy were showing and in my mind, the body that wore the dress was no longer there so it had to be removed. I did try to saw and carve it away but after testing, realized it would be better if I were to set light to it, so armed with a box of matches, I did this outside the building this morning.  I still need to work on it as I ran out of matches and it is a slow process and gives off a hazardous smoke but the material quite literally melts in front of you if you are patient enough. If my aim is to create the carporeal then it is working. Sinews and melting holes are left, just what I want. I have spray painted the arm areas already and they really work. I still need to work further on the chest area to remove it more but which ensuring the integrity of the structure to hold the form of the dress. It really works in this way and ‘she’ is already becoming an presence in the studio space. I know from audience feed back that I am onto something here. I really need to test on paper what text I will add in due course as I will only get one chance to get it right.

I have spray painted the shoes which are now drying, I am thinking of a text like 1000m – cryptic for walk a mile in my shoes?

Also tested today was the actual books which I have spray painted to mimic the earlier text paintings on the way and the reference to looking like Penguin books.  I am really pleased with them although I need some more books and also need to seriously consider how these are presented. After discussion with a couple of other students, we felt the plinth as a form of presentation did not work, but there was a painted white table, that was far more everyday.  Also, to have the most powerful book open and readable, that would add another dimension.  I was drawn to the story of The Prime of Miss Jean Broadie which is a colourful tale about making your own destiny despite societies limits and the advice of one generation to another about their place in the world. I felt this fitted really well with my message. Overall, the actual book sculpture is about ‘language is political’ and I testing actually adding this to the spraypainted covers but I don’t think that this is actually necessary at all now. It is too literal within the piece but could be used elsewhere in the installation.  Each book chosen has a message to women about their various roles in the world.  Its about multi tasking in a way.

Then I was doing a little bit of painting, the bit I enjoy the most.  I am working on the latest painting as per the picture. I still need to add the figure/figures but its coming on. Really pleased with the painterly-ness of the detail shot below.  Suggestion is enough.

Huge Steps.





I have had the best day in the studio this year today.  Having been thinking about introducing found objects and spray painting them neon pink to add to the overall wall presentation, I decided to be really brave yesterday when I was working in my sketchbook in ideas.  If I want to use props such as a brush and pan, and other items of domesticated womanhood, then what is more iconic as such an emblem as a wedding dress.

I decided to get it down from the loft and as I am divorced and I can no longer fit into it, I decided to use it within the work.  Obviously this is a very private decision with its own sensitivities and as such, although I was happy to use it, and in terms of ownership, you cannot get anything better, I decided I did not want to film the initial spray painting of it as it was stage one of the destruction of it and as such, it was a private act.

2 cans of spray paint later, the white is all gone and we have lurid pink.  I have it fastened to a dummy to hold it upright but I like the idea of it floating in some way, the internal body having flown away or such such romantic notion, leaving the past behind.

It is a deeply symbolic move, both in a personal and universal language.  I want it to be about what we do for our art, the sacrifices it demands of us and how, if its in our soul, you have to embrace and not fight against, despite the potential result.  The piece is about metamorphosis, a cocoon of sorts, like the butterfly escaping.   I have also added loads of household paint to the dress, gradually distorting the dress and turning it into a sculpture and not a dress on a dummy.  It is turning into art.  I want to add some words to the dress and I have a few ideas in the sketchbook but I am not quite sure what is the right thing to do yet. I am aware that I only have one chance to get this right so for now, I will play with the paint aspects and further considering the lettering.  It is quite think in parts so its really needs tonight to dry in a little.  I have picked away at the polystyrene body shape to remove the shoulders/neck  as I want it to be like an empty shell left.  I have discovered that the polystyrene melts without catching fire very easily but the fumes from this are dangerous so it will need to be carved out by fire outside at some point.

Huge steps forward.  In addition, to add to the sculptural elements I have been working on some books that will reference ‘language is political’ and all the books/magazines chosen are appropriate to the discussion and their binding title will be visible.

Also, I have been doing some old paint brushes and other arty bits and hanging them from height and starting to build up heavy drips of paint from them.  I will spray paint that part of them neon pink also, to be a metaphor for the female artists body.

Finally, also been dropping some gloop on little high heeled shoes and these also will be sprayed.

So great progress today. I have come home very painty and pink.  and happy.

I sense this is a huge moment for the end of the year show and I am looking forward to going back into the studio tomorrow and starting work again.




This is just a thought at the moment, but if in the degree show, the paintings are presented as an assemblage, like a vomit of personal thought, then why stop at paintings, why not add objects which personify femininity, motherhood and the like and spray paint them all neon pink and add them to the area, making an installation?

Thinking time.



Toilet ladies as  a theme was something I have stolen from just typing in feminism images in Google. There is one with a toilet lady with her hands in the air, as if asking ‘why’.  It is funny and playful and yet a powerful image of popular culture which is rather ‘low’ in taste but with political satire.

I liked the original image and thought I could use that in a painting now I have a ‘brand’ with the bright pink and a theme.  I was thinking as I went round Berlin, randomly snapping toilet signs, I could use there more than the one image, they are so simple and yet can have many messages.

Like one lady without a head and she is juggling 5 head balls. This could be presented with the text ‘motherhood’.  Need to do a little more thinking and research some more images and get my wit going.