Today I am exhausted. My son finally recovered from chickenpox, only to develop conjunctivitis and to top it off last week was half term. I had to go to work through all this as well, and with a horrible nasty cold myself and some other stressful things the family has been dealing with, it has not been an ideal 3 weeks. But he’s back in school this week, and today I have the day off so I am doing nothing…except, apparently, burning my lentil soup.

In the midst of all this, I have somehow managed to have some great art conversations with some new and old friends, some talking about projects, plans and proposals we hope to collaborate on in the near future and some talking about inspirations, ideas and what the future holds for us generally. I’ve applied for a few things and have a few others to apply for in the next couple of weeks. It feels like a time where things are bubbling up underneath the surface, a time to get the ‘house in order’ before good things start to happen, because they will happen soon. Whatever these ‘things’ are. Contrary to the whole ‘2012 end of the Mayan calender doomsday state of the world economy disasters and riots left and right scenario’ , it feels like it’s going to be a good year… for me personally anyway, and a lot of my close family and friends seem to feel the same way. I’m actually excited about the future. Finally. Because, let me tell you, it’s been a long 7 years. Now lets hope I haven’t jinxed it.

This week I have been thinking a lot about space.

I went to two exhibition openings one night after work last week, couldn’t stay for long because of said previous chaos, but I did manage to get out. It was really interesting because they were two very different shows in two very different spaces. I’ve seen many shows in both spaces before and exhibited in both as well and one in particular is always much more difficult to exhibit in, to curate…Comparing the two installs has really left me thinking a lot about the nature of a space, about the relationship of a group of works, the relationship a work has to the space that surrounds it, and how to successfully manouvre through all of that and create an exhibition that looks well thought out, finished, somewhat resolved. It wasn’t until I saw the second group show that I realized how much less successful the first one had been, and how much more difficult the process is when using an unconventional space. It felt like a real eye opening moment.

At work for the last few weeks some of us having been making things for the window display in response to the horrendous roadworks and loss of parking spaces directly outside the shop. It’s been really fun actually, how many people can say that they spent thier work day making gigantic orange and white traffic cones out of cardboard? The week before it was a cardboard city bus, This week it’s ripped paper collage portraits of certain city council members complete with email addresses! It’s odd, these window display items are not a part of my personal practice because of the context they are being made and shown in, yet there are still a lot of similarities involved…especially because I tend to garner inspiration from window displays to then filter and use in a contemporary art context, and now it feels as though I (with the others I work with of course) am filtering those ideas back around into an actual window display for a shop, a specific space, with a specific purpose and a specific message. There seems to be something within this exercise that actually might help me develop some new thinking surrounding my work and the spaces or context it’s show in….

On another note, I will be having a small solo exhibition at HERE Gallery in Bristol, in October 2012. I will be creating a room installation in their amazing bunker-like basement gallery, underneath the bookshop! Something to look forward to!

Unfortunetly, I’ve just heard my dog barf all over the carpet in the other room, so I guess it’s back to the real world for now…



So, lately I have been thinking a lot about process in regards to my practice.

In August of last year, artists Christine Sullivan and Rob Flint did a residency at Motorcade/Flashparade and gave an artist’s talk for the Spike Associates. One of the things they spoke about that really resonated with me was their idea of having a ‘speculative practice’. They basically start out with a set of interests with no specific outcome in mind at the start of a project, and that the documentation whether in the form of photos or proposals can often end up becoming the work itself. Rob hilariously described a speculative practice by saying the practice is an animal and the work is the ‘droppings’ that fall out of it along the way! He said there is a certain sustainability in working this way, mainly because if there are ideas constantly flowing, when opportunities arise there are always things to select from.

At the moment, Haroon Mirza has an amazing exhibition at Spike Island, and I attended the talk/conversation he had a few weeks ago. He mentioned his process and referred to himself as a hoarder, that he constantly gathers material, be it recordings or objects, and collects with no motive, often on a chance encounter, sometimes holding onto things for years before finding a use for it. He said sometimes he only realizes the significance of a collected material much later…

I suppose these ideas of process and practice have reinforced certain ways of thinking in regards to how I work. I’ve been able to think a little more clearly about what I need in order to sustain myself artistically, especially without a studio. It’s difficult because I am a hoarder as well, not of found objects but of made or constructed objects and information such as newspapers and books. Although more than any of these things I am a hoarder of images. Finding ways to constantly manipulate and rearrange, use and reuse the plethora of images I collect leaves me with millions of possibilities to select from when future projects arise, which is great but as I’ve found, can also be really overwhelming if I don’t utilize some sort of pre-selection system…

Last Monday I attended a Documentation Day at Motorcade/Flashparade gallery where I brought a load of my work to be photographed by a professional photographer. Because I don’t have a studio I thought it would be a great opportunity to make some new work, try out some new ideas and get some good documentation for my website as well as upcoming open submissions and proposals I may apply for. I even took some holiday off from work in order to make stuff the week before, but my son developed chicken pox which left me with little time to create anything new. Thankfully I have loads of objects and images (and images as objects) made that I haven’t yet used or shown much previously. I was able to take them instead and mix them with some of my older objects to create new arrangements, and therefore new works. Even though I wasn’t able to get more than 4 arrangements made in the half hour time slot, after looking at the photos 3 of them look like fairly strong pieces. I think it worked out really well in the end, and I am really pleased with the results!

With that in mind, I think it could be really helpful to have a space that I can use for a few hours or even an entire day, in order to play around with my objects and take photos of different arrangements without such a tight time constraint. Because my process is so fluid and continual, I am ironically still realizing just how much importance photographs have when documenting my practice. They tend to be how I reflect on a particular arrangment’s potential, whether something is successful or not. It’s sometimes hard for me to see what arrangments “work” and what doesn’t untill I see the photos…There is a theatricality to this way of working, constantly moving things around a room, so a photograph acts upon my work almost like it does when freezing time on a live event. It actually stops my process. While I have thought about this aspect, there is a lot about that which still needs much more consideration…