Dividing up the space
Why as artists do we do what in our art? Is there always a clear answer? How much of what we do is planned and delivered according to plan and how much is instinctive or happy accidents as we work. My belief is all the above is true. As artists it can be a continual process of planning, experimentation, adjustment and instinct.
I have continued to work on my studio study pieces. They are quite detailed so it is slow progress. They began with photos of the studio I was in at the time (I’m in a different studio now). My initial idea was to create pieces that communicated the purity and simplicity of my environment. However as I have worked I have experimented with slicing up the photographs I had taken, giving them both an abstract and design feel.
Why did I do this, I ask myself? Well, first of all I think it’s because the photos didn’t really give the ideas I had about the space justice. When I look, it is quite different to the flat image that the photographs depict. Even without turning my head or moving my eyes, I can see in the periphery but reasonably clear, all the surfaces in every direction. I am conscious of the different nuances and slices of light and shadow crossing the room and forever changing. The lines that connect the corners of the room, the floor, the ceiling, door and window break down into angles my maths teacher would have been proud of. When I took the photographs, I kept it simple and focused on the areas which had minimal objects. So the space in-between seems to reach out and expand into the room.
When I break up the planes and divide up the space in my pieces, it’s an acknowledgement of all these considerations. It’s a bit of a nod to Cubism; particularly the work ‘In the studio’ although rather than objects and figures being fragmented and abstracted, it is the space itself I have played with. It’s also a kind of abstraction as I have used shapes, colours, textures to depict a visual reality. However it is clearly not purely abstract, as in both pieces there are clearly recognisable features.
There is also a design feel to the work I think. This perhaps comes with the territory as I used Photoshop to manipulate my digital photographs. But also I have to some extent employed a kind of pattern and poster feel – particularly with the work ‘Studio door’. I like to cross that border between Fine Art and Design. I think ‘why not’ – life is not that simple that I can firmly restrict myself to either camp.
What is perhaps not obvious from these images of my work and can only be observed in real life, is that I have been very carefully and subtly working on the surfaces. This is what is taking me so long. Parts are digital, part are oil paint. In some bits, there is the slightest glimmer of iridescent mediums and in others a very slight texture from using marble dust. These may not register to the viewer unless they go close up to the work. I like the inaccessibility of this – unless a person decides they really want to study it, it will not be seen. Either way, it doesn’t really matter. The work is not trying to be elitist in any way, but be reflective of our everyday observations concerning detail and imperfection.