Day 2: Tuesday
All working in our individual studios we meet three times in the day. Here are our individual reflections and thoughts from the day’s actions and events.
A different ‘feeling’ rainy day that is having an impact on the light in the studio in comparison to yesterday. I have started reading a monograph on painter Thomas Nozkowski written by John Yau. Curious to read about his influences and decisions made with colour and shape in earlier ‘art-making’ and how this informed later paintings.
One of the images in the book featuring a small work on paper with scalloped edges- the patterns derive from tiles that he encountered on a visit to the Baths of Caracalla in Rome. I too was taken aback by these black and white patterned tiles at what is my favourite archaeological site in Rome.
Discussions in small breakout lunch group were centred around edges in various guises (cities, fields, the Enclosure Act, and edges in paintings – more my thoughts over the day) plus holes found in clothes (deliberately made or just worn out) and appreciation (or lack of) through the generations.
Non-human cultures are learned through haptic encounters… female knowledge crosses bodily boundaries, soaking through the skin like a soothing balm. As the first plants to colonise the land, moss communities have supported the evolution of species across the biosphere. This unified female entity is all knowing, a true matriarchal power. She has been at the centre of my writing, and a narrative is forming… led by the delicate exploration of image, text and materiality. The female artist is seduced by her powerful non-human presence, and her body undergoes a transformation, as the moss imparts her genetic knowledge and is embodied. The resulting avatar speaks of suspended animation, control, resilience and reincarnation. She speaks of growth from acidic soil, of sensuality and of turning to stone. These abstract narratives weave facts, histories, perspectives, myths, events and cultures together to form new meaning in place.
Over a few years now I have been on a journey with Fryn Tennyson Jesse. Exploring her life and my past, remembering and imagining both, separate yet together. At times I am inhabiting her memories and imaging mine. Playfully exploring and reproducing her memories; to inhabit them, to understand them, to know them. Playing with her stories until they become like mine own. Playing with her stories until they intertwine with my own story. Braided together, her and I – like ribbon and ash. There are works I’ve explored, played with, tested that are complete – finished and gone – only part of my memories. Do they need to be within the final exhibition? It makes me ponder – where is the work? What is the ‘work’? Does it have to be completed – can it be held in the process? Is an audience of one enough? Is an audience of none enough? Is an audience of me enough? Am I a one or a none?
Day 2 and some colour coming in. After discussions yesterday with Sue and Louisa about how we choose colour palettes, I made a deliberate decision to work today with colours I normally dislike working with, that don’t appeal to me, or I feel are not in harmony with one another, to try and set up some dissonances. This was a much slower process than the priming yesterday as many of the acrylics I was using had a degree of transparency and it’s taking quite a few coats to achieve the flatness and intensity of colour I am after. I’m prepared to abandon all these and start again if it doesn’t work, but I want to create a sense of surprise and challenge for myself in putting some of these together in test arrangements tomorrow. Then I can see if I am happy the level of finish on these surfaces so far, or whether I need to go back to the heavy oil-based gloss paints, or some other combination of materials.
Livvy Penrose Pennett:
Waiting for gum arabic to arrive and meld with the ink in my photocopy I made a monoprint. But, a single image can’t hold everything. One single thing, so flat and representational cannot hold all of the fields I’m thinking of. Installation can at least interject in the milieu.
When you depict something rural, you seem to come into contact with the whole of landscape painting history. Constable. And that inquiry about why things look the way they look, the effects of production, who’s it for, who can access it, who can enjoy it , the politics contained in these spaces, that seems to be pushed under this chocolate box thing that we all recognise and never was real. So how can you access what’s really there, and what it actually is?
Thinking about things that are worn out, frayed, tired or deflated, the mesmerising iridescence of bubbles and the shiny, sometimes trashy, glamour of foil.
Reclaiming the studio from the accumulated clutter, I found gorgeous, glittery marbles, many deflated balloons, a bag of hardened giant marshmallows, a box of dried tangerine peels, each carefully removed to remain whole – curling and petal-like. Rediscovered a selection of desiccated fruit and vegetables including one apple, two blackened bananas and a divided red cabbage. Having used fresh oranges and butternut squash in earlier work, I wanted to explore something rotten or decomposing, so now need to consider all three states.
Tested a pleated kitchen foil ‘collar’ on a basketball hoop, but rather than spectacular and aspirational, it seems too domestic. It maybe is more successful with the chrome hoop on order, but plan to try some other materials tomorrow.
More constructive playing with bobble hats, balloons, and Birkenstocks in socks. Finally, a pair of tired, deflated and dirty balloons and sparkling marbles in a soap dish.