Back in the studio for this week, so have a few things planned… or trying to have a focused plan anyway. There are some new artists moving in this week so new faces around to meet and greet. One woman who is in the process of moving her stuff in is in the middle of her MA at Goldsmiths. It was good to talk to her about what it is like there and how she is finding the course. I have started to think about doing an MA in the future, possibly when my time at Digswell has ended, so I have been trying to gauge feedback from artists who are or have done one and what they thought/think of it and how it has help their practice.
I'm not sure how I feel about doing an MA. I would love to get back into the whole process of gaining good critical feedback on a regular basis and discussing and debating ideas, gaining knowledge and building on my practice, but it's the institution idea that I'm less keen on. I think I need to think on it all a bit more and definitely explore the different courses available. At the moment I feel like the experience I am gaining by being more independent is valuable in helping me find my own way a little. I felt blind when I came out of University…. tumbling down off of a huge cliff with no idea how to be what I was ‘an artist' with just a vibrating in my head of what I'd learnt in the last 4 years. I only very slowly now am starting to get a feel for my place as an artist and to stand up for myself and my ideas in this field.
I have been continuing with my work for the Red Gate Gallery, looking at ways of presenting a new piece I have on the go. Can't decide yet if I love it or hate it or even worse something in between. It may be for the show or for the bin!
Digswell fellows meeting, was positive. We seem to all agree on the fact that things do need to change quite drastically for the Digswell to survive and for it to gain some kind of reputation within the art world. A lot of what was said was answers to how we could move forward instead of just moaning about how things are now. We have a kind of action plan and conveniently have a Trustees meeting coming up on the 22nd April where we will put forward our ideas for changes.
It really made me realise that it is actually the fellow's responsibility to be proactive and positive about the trust. We have all been for too long sitting back and expecting to just be part of a group and not building the group. We should have been putting in the time and energy to direct activities that build on the trusts development. I guess better late than never is the key now.
A side from this my work towards the Red Gate Gallery exhibition feels slow. I have been trying to not finalise anything and just continue with my work so when it comes round to the pieces I put in they are fresh and exciting. I don't want to fall comfortably in to doing and not focus on the ideas that I am dealing with. It's a balance between staying focused but not be tempted to conclude things. I need to remain playful with my exploration and allow the questions to keep coming.
I can feel pressure mounting in my head at the moment. I got that awful feeling of dread this morning that I hadn't felt so much recently. Think it's a combination of everything building. I'm never comfortable with stress but shying away from it won't get me anywhere. I'm hoping that a hardening in me will happen or maybe just getting use to it as a way of life.
Last Sunday the Bargehouse exhibition ended. I spent the day around the show and had some really interesting discussions with visitors on that last day. Specifically memorable was a blind group that Rita had invited to the show. I was around photographing my work as they went round and therefore could discuss what my I was exploring and could get feedback. After they had been round there was a conference organised where they could discuss the show between each other and we were able to sit in and contribute to the discussion. It was a very positive activity and allowed me to really think about how art can be experienced in other ways. I had positive feedback from them and found it so interesting that for a piece that is completely about how we see things, someone with no sight could get an affect from it. It did provoke a long discussion about how we experience things and how it is changed when we don't have a particular sense. How does in restrict the perception of something and how does it heighten it?
Since last week I have started working for the next exhibition, ‘Living Space' at the Red Gate Gallery in Brixton. I made a visit to the gallery on Wednesday. It is just me on my own this time which as well as being daunting is also very exciting, allowing me to have more control over how and what I show.
Also going on at the moment is a feeling of shifting at the Digswell Arts Trust with the fellows. After a round of interviews for the vacant spaces things have been thrown up in the air with a real clash of views between fellows and trustees, which highlights some serious problems. I won't go in to too much detail at such a sensitive time but we have a fellows meeting on Tuesday to gauge how all artists are feeling and what we think needs to be addressed. It comes after a time where we were feeling that things were picking up. I am eager for us to use the momentum of late while it is still with us to push the Digswell forward, as many of us believe it so desperately needs.
Time and energy will tell…..
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.