Two weeks into the show and yesterday I spent the day in and around the Bargehouse listening to peoples responses and chatting to people about my work and the show as a whole. It was great to sit by my work as an invigilator and be like an invisible bystander as people approached and honestly responded to what they where seeing. It was nerve wracking, hearing parents explaining to their children, people coming to their own conclusions really quickly, some people barely acknowledging it and some people really excited by what they where seeing, and really taking the time to explore how it works. It was difficult to not start explaining things to soon and not allowing them to experience the piece without being told anything.
I rotated round the gallery, spending a bit of time by other artists work and contemplating how people were finding the rest of the exhibition. Lots of people where really spending time working hard to look and take something from most of the work. It seemed to average out at about 30mins for each person spending in the exhibition. We had about 250 people yesterday and 400 on Good Friday, which feels incredible!
I also got to look at the photos that have been taken of my piece and discuss a little with the Photographer how it was for him taking then. This has been really helpful because the problems with floor and wall not being the same colour is something that has been bothering me but it almost took someone else to mention it for me to acknowledge it. I realise now that I should have worked harder at doing something about this and that a lot is lost by this problem. I am excited more than disappointed by this blunder because I can make sure that when I next construct it I will work harder at the things I know affect the piece. I will be more conscious of the way it's lit and the physicality's of the space. Big lesson learnt!
A week in to the Bargehouse exhibition.
Setting up thankfully went without too much of a hitch. By the time the opening came round though it was difficult to relax and feel one way or another about the piece. Having been building up to it and thinking about it so much for a good few months I found myself thrown into an abstract feeling of relief and dread. ‘I love the piece' was said to me a few times and my paranoid voice silently replied ‘No you don't/ It's rubbish' I draw this thought back in and smiled to say ‘thanks'
I did have good feedback that I genuinely believed but what I enjoyed most was moments when people said how they felt about it and refered to the piece specifically. There was much encouraging responses when I could fight back my paranoid self.
I did manage to see Yara from the Red Gate Gallery where I plan to exhibit in May. It was very helpful to discuss this piece and how it might be constructed at her gallery. I feel like looking forward to the next is the most comfortable feeling for me now.
Next week I am invigilating at the Bargehouse and am looking forward to some thinking time around my piece and the others in the show.
I have a friend coming to take photos of it this week as well so I'm also really excited about seeing someone else's approach towards it.
This is the last week before the Bargehouse exhibition. I set up my piece in my studio last Friday so that I could set back and contemplate it, consider what might not work and really to help me answer a question screaming at me constantly…Is this any good? And more importantly is it interesting? I have become so involved, so consumed by it, spending most of my time building, nurturing and bringing it in to being, that judging it is like judging my whole worth as an artist, and extremely melodramatically, my life.
However, amongst all this worry and anxiety I am actually hugely excited. It's a welling up inside of me that have built up since I have been working towards this piece. It's an unexplainable buzz- what a selfish act it is to be an artist, it feels so self indulgent. I pay out constantly for everything, materials, transport, time etc but somehow the financial side of it worries me the least of all at the moment. I sometimes stop and think, should I be worrying more about practical things in life? Pensions, mortgages, savings etc, but nothing has a point to it unless you create one. I see a point in me doing this, any other way and I would be unhappy and I believe exploring this way is a valid process. It is so unpredictable and allows continual amazement. It keeps me unsteady in my thoughts and my views and this is where I feel most comfortable.
I enjoy looking at my work and thinking what it makes me feel/think. It has made me think about how we represent something. How an environment can be drawn, and why it should be? How complex the experience of looking and response is, how it is so reliant on us being us, our experiences being similar to the others. It's this personal, yet not, that is intriguing. We seem isolated by our personal backgrounds yet linked by them. Recognising something seems so programmed, so scientific, so categorised, so beyond our own ability to be truly aware of the reality of the experience. It's like being blinded by our own humanness. The image can never be separated from the person.